Whole salmon fillet in fragrant salt, tarator-style

Whole salmon fillet in fragrant salt, tarator-style

New Middle Eastern Food
Mark Roper

Baked whole fish or fillets, served at room temperature as part of a buffet spread, are hugely popular in the Middle East. Generally, a firm-fleshed white fish is used, although the technique works equally well with salmon.


Quantity Ingredient
1 x 1kg atlantic salmon, cut from the centre, skin on, pin bones removed

Fragrant curing salt

Quantity Ingredient
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground nigella seeds
1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted
2 tablespoons sea salt
olive oil, for brushing

Yoghurt whipped with tahini

Quantity Ingredient
150g natural yoghurt
3 tablespoons tahini, well stirred
1 garlic clove, crushed with 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Quantity Ingredient
60g walnuts
1 cup finely shredded coriander leaves
1 small purple onion, very finely diced
1 long red chilli, seeded and finely diced
1/2 teaspoon ground sumac
1 lemon, juiced
60ml extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. To make the fragrant salt, put the ground spices, toasted sesame seeds and salt in a frying pan and gently warm through so they merge into one fragrant powder.
  2. To prepare the salmon, first trim off the tapering tail end of the fish and square off the head end. Trim about 1.5 cm from the belly so you have a neat, even-sided rectangle. Remove all pin bones. Season the salmon all over with the fragrant salt. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 80ºC. Remove the salmon from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature. Rinse in cold water and dry it thoroughly. Brush both sides with olive oil then wrap in baking paper and place, skin side down, in a large baking tray. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully turn the salmon skin side up. Return to the oven for a further 12 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven and leave to rest in the tray for 10 minutes. Unwrap and discard the paper. Peel away the skin, then gently scrape away all of the grey blood line from the fish. Set aside.
  5. To make the yoghurt whipped with tahini, whisk all the ingredients together until smooth and creamy.
  6. To make the tarator, preheat the oven to 160ºC. Spread the walnuts out on a baking tray and roast for 8–10 minutes, shaking them around from time to time so they colour evenly. Tip the nuts into a tea towel and rub vigorously to remove as much of their papery brown skin as possible. Chop the walnuts finely and put in a mixing bowl with the coriander, onion, chilli and sumac. Pour on the lemon juice and oil, season with salt and pepper and mix together well.
  7. To serve the salmon, smear the exposed surface with a little yoghurt–tahini sauce, then pack on the tarator topping neatly and evenly so it completely coats the fish. Serve at room temperature, with some extra sauce on the side.
Back to top
    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again