Curried Couscous with Salmon and Brown Butter

Recipe by Chef Thomas Kaylor (Serves 2), originally featured on

2 six-ounce Greensbury Atlantic salmon fillets
6 tbsp canola oil
1 cup Israeli couscous
1 1/2 cups chicken broth or water
1/2 lemon (about 2 tbsp juice)
1/2 head cauliflower (cut into bite sized pieces, about two cups)
1 small red onion (thinly sliced)
slivered almonds (can substitute whole almonds or pine nuts)
3 tbsp parsley (finely chopped)
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1 tsp yellow curry powder
kosher salt

4 tbsp butter
3 tbsp sultanas (golden raisins)
2 tbsp capers
1/2 lemon (about 2 tbsp juice)
3 tbsp Le Bon Magot Brinjal Caponata
kosher salt

Defrost the salmon overnight in the fridge or place it in a bowl and defrost under running cold water. Remove the salmon from its packaging and drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Keep the salmon at room temperature while preparing the rest of the recipe.

Cut the cauliflower in half, put one-half in the fridge for later use. Using a knife remove the core from the other cauliflower half and cut into bite sized pieces (1-2 inches). Cut the red onion in half, remove the peel and slice the onion thinly (1/4-inch slices).

Heat a shallow 12-inch pot on high. Add 3 tablespoons canola oil and heat until the oil is shimmering but not smoking. Add the cauliflower and allow to brown before stirring, season with a small pinch of salt and continue cooking the cauliflower until it's evenly browned and cooked but still has a bit of crunch to it. Add the red onion, turn the heat to medium and sweat the onion until tender.

Heat another shallow 12-inch pot on medium. Add 1 tablespoon of canola oil, once the oil is shimmering add the couscous and almonds. Stir over medium heat until the couscous and almonds are evenly brown (if using toasted almonds, add them to the couscous once it's browned). Add the bay leaf, cinnamon, and chicken broth or water, turn the heat to medium-low, cover and cook until the liquid has evaporated and the couscous is tender and cooked through. If the liquid is evaporated and the couscous isn't cooked through, add more liquid 1 Tablespoon at a time until the couscous is tender. Remove the bay leaf and cinnamon.

While the couscous is cooking, prepare the vinaigrette. Heat a small 1-2 quart pot over medium heat. Add the butter, once the butter has melted turn the heat to medium-low and cook the butter until it is golden brown but not burnt (There is a very fine line between brown butter and burnt butter, the brown butter should be a deep golden brown and have the fragrance of toasted nuts. If the butter burns it will turn black and have a strong unpleasant aroma, if you burn the butter, throw it away and start over with a clean pot.). Once the butter is brown, turn off the heat and add the capers, sultanas, and the Le Bon Magot Brinjal Caponata. Add a small pinch of kosher salt and stir until the sultanas are plump. Squeeze 1/2 lemon into the vinaigrette and taste for seasoning. Add more kosher salt and lemon juice if necessary.

Heat a 12-inch pan over high heat and add the remaining 2 Tablespoons of canola oil. Dry the salmon thoroughly with paper towels and evenly season both sides with kosher salt (about 1/4 teaspoon salt). Once the oil is shimmering but not smoking gently place it in the pan with the skin side facing up (the skin side is the flatter side). Move the salmon around in the pan to prevent it from sticking and to allow the oil to evenly brown the fish. Cook the salmon on high heat until evenly browned, it should have a nice even golden crust (this should take about 3-5 minutes). Flip the salmon and cook for another minute, using a spoon to baste the top while the salmon is cooking. Remove the salmon from the pan and place it on a plate lined with paper towels.

Mix the cauliflower, red onion and couscous together over medium heat, add the curry powder and stir until warmed through. Add three tablespoons of the vinaigrette and two tablespoons of the parsley to the mixture and stir to coat the couscous. Taste the couscous and season to taste with kosher salt and the other lemon half. Spoon the couscous onto two plates or bowls, place the salmon on top and spoon the remaining vinaigrette onto the salmon and the couscous. Sprinkle the rest of the parsley on top and serve.

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