Wild Sockeye Salmon with Mushroom Israeli Couscous Risotto

After months of hearing great things about the newest Fairway that opened in Westchester county, I finally visited this past weekend.  It is a playground for food lovers to touch and smell all the freshest produce,  bake goods, seafood, specialty cheeses and organic products.  The space is enormous and it took me over two hours to comb through each aisle.  The employees there were so nice and attentive.  I definitely plan to visit again in the near future.

While I was at the seafood counter, I immediately was drawn to the bright red color of the wild Sockeye salmon so of course I had to get some.  Since the fillet was so fresh, I wanted to cook it simply.  Then I remembered I had some Israeli couscous at home (wheat-based pasta that shape like round pearls), and a packet of dried mushrooms so I thought I could make a mushroom risotto to serve with the salmon.

Pan-seared Wild Sockeye Salmon (Serves two)
2 4 ounces of wild salmon fillet with skin on
1 tbsp of olive oil
Sprigs of dill for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste 

Mushroom Israeli Couscous Risotto
4 oz of Israeli couscous (1/2 of package)
1 ounce packet of the dried assorted wild mushrooms (porcini, shitake, black and oyster mushrooms or your favorite variety)
3 cups of water
1 tbsp of unsalted butter
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1/4 cup of crumbled feta cheese
1 tbsp of chopped dill

Hydrate the dried mushrooms in 3 cups of boiling water, let the mushrooms seep with the heat off for at least 15 minutes.  Strain the mushrooms, reserve the broth and keep warm.  Chop mushrooms into small pieces and reserve.  Add the butter and oil to pan and saute the onion until it's transparent, season with salt.  Add mushroom pieces, saute until tender and season with salt and pepper.  Add the couscous, toast it then add 1 cup of the mushroom broth and cook it like a risotto.  Keep stirring until the liquid is absorbed then add 1/2 cup of the broth.  Repeat steps until the couscous is cooked, about 15 minutes.

When the couscous is almost done, heat a pan with medium to high heat, add olive oil when the pan is hot.  Season the fillet generously with salt and pepper, then once the oil is heated, place the fillet skin side down and press it down gently with a fish spatula so it cooks evenly.  Let the fillet cook until you see the bottom two thirds of the fish color turns from red to pink (about 4 to 5 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish).  Gently turn the fish over and finish cooking the other side for another minute.  Then take the fillet out and let it rest.  To finish the couscous, taste and adjust seasoning.  Then fold in the feta cheese and dill.  Top sprigs of dill on the salmon and serve with the couscous.

The saltiness of the feta and the freshness of the dill compliment well with the intense mushroom flavor of the couscous.  What I love about Israeli couscous is it could be eaten hot or cold.   So if you decide to make more than suggested in this recipe, you could add some baby arugula, lemon juice and olive oil and toss it as a salad for another meal option.

As to the salmon, the crispiness of the skin adds a great texture to the tenderness of the fillet.  It's a full-flavored salmon and it was delicious.  To my surprise, my husband who is not a fish eater devoured his fillet and is now requesting more fish in his diet!


  1. you're back! I love salmon. This salmon and Israeli couscous looks so delicious! The salmon is cooked perfectly. If I've seen beautiful piece of salmon I would get ones too.!

  2. Love fairway! Salmon is soo good and healthy!

  3. Thanks Tanantha, I couldn't wait to finish taking the pictures and dig in. Thanks May Ling, I love all kinds of fish but salmon has not been my favorite until recent years and now I can't get enough of it!

  4. wild salmon is the best - I love how you served it with the israeli couscous

  5. I really like the texture of the Israelli couscous, thanks doggybloggy!

  6. what a beautiful presentation with this dish..I'm glad I'm not the only one who likes the crispy skin!

  7. Thanks Chef Dennis! The crispy skin really adds a depth of flavor to the dish. Btw, I just heard Alex Guarnaschelli described crispy salmon skin as the bacon of the sea!


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