Moroccan 5 1/2 Spiced Salmon




Salmon is the bomb! However, like a skipping record, I’ve heard people tell me over and over how they don’t like it. My response to them is, “What’s not to like?”. I was in the same boat until I turned 19 years old and actually learned that salmon is more than a dried out, albumin coated blob of protein.

In my early years, my only exposure to salmon was my mom’s salmon loaf. I love my mom, but let’s just say the loaf was enough to close the salmon chapter in my book. Then, when I worked at the Inverness Hotel and Golf Club, I learned how to cook salmon with a buerre noisette, parsley, shallots and capers. The center was medium rare, there was a nice crust, and the sauce complemented it perfectly.

From there, I moved to Alaska where salmon was a staple and cooking it properly was prized. I learned from Chefs Al Levinsohn, Levi Gridley and Lamont Caldwell what perfectly cooked salmon was all about. From eating the charred skin to knowing that when the “sleeves would give” it was cooked just right.

Today’s recipe is an intermediate lesson in cooking salmon. I left the skin on and cooked it just right, but there is an accompanying sauce just in case things go awry and get too dry.
I talk about toasting cumin and opening up ginger to the point it will contribute all it’s got. If you are on the road to becoming a Culinary Ninja, this meal belongs in your quiver. And, I hope you will use it to sway your salmon-fearing-friends…

If you want to learn how to cook salmon properly, first-hand, in Alaska, be sure to check out the upcoming Alaskan Culinary Adventure. We’ll fish for salmon and cover the basics of Alaskan cuisine including halibut, oysters, shrimp, king crab, reindeer and moose. Don’t miss out!

We went camping last weekend and had a great time. I cooked a grass fed tri-tip over the campfire and rocked the Camp Chef Pro 90 for the rest of the cooking. If you don’t have any Camp Chef goods, head on over to and hook it up! They have great stoves, smokers and cast iron goods (which are good for searing salmon).

I’m off to CrossFit Blizzard to throw down a workout with Coach Travis. I hope that you get outdoors today, enjoy the sun, be active, and have some fun!

Oh yah, don’t forget to cook some salmon and…

“Keep It Paleo!”

Your Pal,

Paleo Nick

The Jo! and The Bro! fetching water at our Memorial Day campsite.

Moroccan 5 1/2 Spiced Salmon

Ingredient List:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 3 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 6 each 6oz. portions of Alaskan salmon, I bought mine frozen at Costco
  • A dusting of kosher salt, black pepper, turmeric, and cayenne pepper
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 ½ cups tomato sauce
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • ¼ bunch fresh cilantro, rinsed and chopped plus a few sprigs for garnish

Preparation Instructions:

  1. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and add one tablespoon of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the cumin seed and, 10 seconds later, add the ginger. Shake the pan forward and backward to keep the spices moving and, after 30 seconds, pour the mixture into a bowl and set aside.
  2. Return pan to the heat, add the second tablespoon of olive oil and season your salmon with a dusting of salt, pepper, turmeric and cayenne pepper.
  3. When oil is hot, place salmon in the pan, seasoned side down. Add the diced onion to the pan while doing your best to place the onion in contact with the pan in the spaces between the salmon fillets.
  4. After 90 seconds, check that the salmon has a nice crust (as seen below), then flip over while doing your best to make sure the salmon skin now makes contact with the pan. Add the cumin seed and ginger mixture back into the pan.
  5. Pour the tomato sauce and coconut milk in the spaces between the salmon fillets and shake the pan back and forth in an effort to mix the two sauces. Top with the chopped cilantro, place a lid on the pan and cook for 90 seconds.
  6. Remove lid from pan, cut the heat and get ready to plate.
  7. Transfer the salmon filets to individual containers or to a large serving platter. Stir the sauce in the pan to make sure it is well incorporated and sweetly studded with fresh cilantro. Then, pour the sauce over the salmon and garnish with fresh cilantro sprigs.
  8. Poila! Share with your friends and revel in the fact that you are a Culinary Ninja!

“Keep It Paleo!”

Zone Breakdown:

Proteins: (20)

We have 36 ounces of salmon, which we’ll estimate to cook down to 30 ounces. There are 1.5 ounces in a block of cooked salmon, so we have 20 blocks.

Carbohydrates: (5)

We have one onion which yields approximately 2 cups when diced. There is one cup in a block of onions, so we have 2 blocks.

We have 1.5 cups of tomato sauce. There are 18 grams of carbs in one cup of the stuff I used. There are 9 grams of carbs in one block, so we have 3 blocks of carbs from the tomato sauce.

Fats: (34/17)

We have .5 cup of coconut milk. There is 3 grams of fat in one tablespoon of the stuff that I used. There are 16 tablespoons in one cup, so we have 8 tablespoons, which is 24 grams of fat. This gives us 8 fat blocks on the 3 gram/block prescription and 16 fat blocks on the 1.5 gram/block prescription.

We have 2 tablespoons of olive oil. There is 1/3 teaspoon of olive oil in one 1.5 gram fat block. There are 3 teaspoons in one tablespoon. So, we have 18, 1.5 gram fat blocks or 9, 3 gram fat blocks.

The Balancing Act:

If we look at each individual portion, we have 3.33 protein blocks, 1 carb block, and 6 or 3 fat blocks.

If you are on the 3 grams/fat block prescription, you are good to go with protein and fat. I would eat each portion with an apple or orange to balance out the carb blocks.

If you are on the 1.5 grams/fat block prescriptions, you need to cut the fat in half and balance out your carbs with an apple or orange.

You can also get your carbs from a nice stir fry, some cauli rice, or even a sweet potato. The nice thing about this preparation is that the sauce lends great moisture to whatever you pair it with. However, if you are going the fruit route, I would eat that before or after and not smother it in salmon and Moroccan sauce. Got it? Good.


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