Moroccan Salmon

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printer iconSERVES:  6 to 8
PREP TIME:  30 minutes
COOKING TIME:  25 minutes

INGREDIENTS

You can use any fish, but I love Atlantic salmon.

  • 6 to 8 fish fillets, approximately 6 oz each
  • a bunch of fresh parsley. I use flat leaf, but Italian or any variety will do.
  • a bunch of fresh cilantro
  • 4 to 6 ripe tomatoes, sliced thinly.  I use vine ripe tomatoes.
  • 4 to 6 peppers of any colour, roasted, or a glass jar of roasted peppers, sliced thinly
  • 4 lemons
  • 4 to 6 finely chopped or grated garlic cloves
  • 2 to 3 heaping TBSP paprika
  • 2 to 3 heaping tsp cumin
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF, and place a rack in the centre of the oven.
  2. In a low profile roasting pan (I use glass), cover the bottom with a good layer of the sliced tomatoes.
  3. Then lay the sliced peppers on top.
  4. Sprinkle some of your finely chopped garlic, salt and pepper over the bed of vegetables.
  5. In a small bowl or a 1 cup measuring cup, mix together the olive oil, juice of ½ to 1 lemon, remaining chopped garlic, the paprika, cumin, salt and pepper.  (I taste to know if I need more of any ingredients.)
  6. Mix well to form a thick paste texture.
  7. Clean the parsley and cilantro.  Remove large stems and finely chop.  I use maybe half of the bunch.  It’s up to you how much you want to use.
  8. Sprinkle about half of the parsley and cilantro over the bed of vegetables.
  9. Drizzle about half of your paste mixture over the herbs.
  10. Lay the fish, skin-side down, covering the surface of the vegetables.
  11. Sprinkle the remaining fresh herbs over the fish.
  12. Pour the remaining amount of your paste mixture. If you have too much paste mixture, don’t use it all.
  13. Sprinkle some salt and pepper over everything.
  14. Remove the skin and seeds from the 3 remaining lemons, slice into thin rounds, and place on top for garnish.
  15. Cover pan with foil and cook for about 20 minutes.
  16. Remove foil and cook about 5 minutes more.  Check for doneness.

If you have reserved oil lemon paste, store in fridge or freezer.  It can be used as a great salad dressing or marinade.

 


A Comfort Food From Childhood

When I think of Moroccan Fish, it brings me back to my childhood.

Every Friday my mom would make her version of Moroccan fish among a multi-course Friday sabbath dinner. My mom Esther was born in Rabat Morocco, and later moved as a young teen to Israel. When I was young in Montreal, the city my family immigrated to, she worked full time in a beauty parlor, and prepared every week a sabbath dinner with various fresh salads, sweet hand-made Challah bread, and a rich smelling variety of other dishes, including Moroccan fish. The smells would fill our home from the day before, but the memory of the fish cooking is imprinted not only in my memory, but in my soul.

Moroccan-fish

The smell of fish simmering in the citrus from the lemons, fresh herbs, garlic, roasting peppers, tomatoes, and all the spices would fill all my senses, pouring through our home and into the entire neighborhood as a comforting wave of home, family and tradition.

Home is a multi-sensory thing! Family, variety, richness, diversity all involve more than one dimension. And because this salmon recipe is so sensually stimulating it reminds me on every level of home.

One of my fondest memories is when my mom came to my home in Toronto, to visit.  My mom always was very rigid in her thinking, her way of living, and how everything had to be done in life, including her cooking.  She wasn’t happy when being challenged.  I never was taught how to  cook or manage in a kitchen growing up, as my mom wasn’t willing, or able to accept people’s individuality, differences of approach, or the idea of things not happening exactly her way, or the way she felt is right.

So here I was one Friday helping her in my home prepare the Friday night meal.  I asked her if it’s okay I added a few more ingredients to her fish. I just had a feeling, a knowing perhaps, that they would really enhance the flavour, and add so much to the finished dish. As usual, her response was very strong!

Well, this time I found a window of opportunity when she left the kitchen, and with a sense of guilty excitement I took the liberty to tweak her dish! Voila, my specialty Moroccan Salmon, the champion of my life, was born! At dinner my mom raved about her wonderful fish, all I did was smile and my soul did a happy dance!

Little did I know how important this dish would become to my survival.

You see, years later my opioid addiction had taken its toll. Any addiction, especially long term, to drugs or alcohol will likely cause some kind of cognitive impairment like memory loss, the inability to perform skills, or remember things. In most cases, these losses of cognitive abilities can be restored through a number of things including of course, healthy foods. Foods with omega-3 can aid and restore brain function.

Now lucky for me that salmon is one of the most nutritious foods on the planet! Proper nutrition really helped my healing process. Nutrients supplied my body with energy, providing substances to build and keep my organs healthy, fighting off infection while my wonderful cells adjusted to a new way of being alive. Without knowing it, what was a comfort food on the spiritual level had become a healing food even on the physical.

This popular fatty fish is loaded with nutrients and may reduce risk factors for several diseases. It’s also tasty, versatile and widely available, which is why this dish is the champion food for anyone on an addiction recovery journey.

Enjoy!

 

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