This is a mainstay for four Faz restaurants. It started out as a special item at our Oakland location and then customers kept asking for it, so now it’s at all the restaurants! I love the sour n’ spicy chermoula paste that we rub the salmon with. And with the cooling dill-lebni sauce, it’s very more-ish. The saffron pearl couscous is sautéed with eggplant, cherry tomato, arugula and deglazed with white wine and a tiny bit of butter thrown in at the end to keep the couscous from clumping.
Lebni or Labneh is like Greek yogurt in flavor but thickened with a different culture and strained. It’s almost considered a soft cheese in some parts of the world. We buy it in bulk from a Persian purveyor, but it can be bought in Whole Foods too or you can just use Greek Yogurt.
- 2 6-7ounce wild salmon filets
- Chermoula Rub for the Salmon:
- 1/4 cup ground cumin
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed, sliced, and smashed some more into a very smooth paste.
- 1/4 cup smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon sumac
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 cup olive oil!
- 1/4 cup Kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne (or to desired heat level)
- Lebni-Dill Sauce:
- 4 cups Lebni Kefir Cheese/yogurt (sub 3 cups greek yogurt
- and 1 cup sour cream)
- 2 Tablespoons dry dill
- 1 bunch fresh dill, chopped fine
- 2 garlic cloves, mashed into a fine paste
- Kosher salt to season
Chermoula Rub: Mash the Kosher salt with the chopped garlic on a cutting board with the side blade of a knife with a back and forth mashing technique. The salt will draw out the juices and tenderize the garlic into a paste. It's very important the garlic is mashed to smooth paste or it will not spread evenly on the fish. Mix the garlic/salt mixture with the lemon juice and add all the other spices to form a thick paste. Thin out paste with olive oil, just enough to make it pliable.
Chermoula can be made a few days in advance and refrigerated. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Smear the salmon filets 3 to 4 hours before roasting.
Lebni-Dill Sauce: Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl, taste and adjust adjust seasoning. Refrigerate. Will keep for up to one week.
Preheat oven to 450˚F and place chermoula rubbed salmon filets on a baking sheet. Roast until medium-rare, about 15 minutes. Serve over saffron pearl couscous with a swoop of the sauce underneath or all around. Enjoy!