Tunisian Spiced Baked Salmon with Minted Aioli

This is one of those recipes I’m really happy I tried. As I have been researching fun ways to incorporate my preserved lemons, I have been reconnected with flavors that I love like paprika, coriander, cumin, garlic, lemon and capers. These flavors are not only Tunisian but are commonly recognized as Moroccan as well. It was my recent Vegetable Tagine that led me down this path and as a result I have a few recipes in store for you.

So for those of you with some preserved lemons in your fridge, we have a few fun dishes to get that lemon out of it’s brine and into your tummies. For those of you that don’t have any preserved lemons around, what’s stopping you?! Citrus is in season and a fabulous addition to the cuisine from the countries listed above, but also East African, Cambodian, Indian and French cuisine.

A recent hankering for fish has led me to pairing this sauce with salmon, but this is not only a fish recipe. This lovely sauce would make chicken really shine and make tofu taste…well like something. The smoky, spicy paprika pairs fabulously with the citrus and capers. To be honest, I’m excited to try it in a variety of ways.


Tunisian Spiced Salmon

  • 1 lb salmon (steaks or fillet)
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne or harissa
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
  • 1 Tbsp chopped preserved lemon peel ( I used preserved grapefruit with cinnamon, see preserved lemon post)
  • 2 Tbsp flat leaf Parsley

In a small bowl, add the olive oil, cumin, paprika, cayenne, lemon juice and capers. Finely chop the preserved peel and parsley. Add them to the oil spice mixture and stir until well combined. Place the fillets in a baking pan. Cover the salmon by spooning the spice mixture onto the fillets. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour for maximum flavor. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Bake for 10 minutes or until the edges flake with a fork. Remember that salmon tastes its best cooked to medium instead of  well done. While the salmon is baking make the minted aioli.

I’ve never made aoili from scratch. I felt like it would be this daunting task, like it was bound to fail. But like most things we avoid in life, it was much simpler than I had anticipated. So much so, I had to laugh at myself. I had imagined all kinds of things. I thought the egg would have to be at room temperature and if I didn’t stream in the oil just perfectly it would flop. I tell my husband that when it comes to cooking, mistakes are no big deal. Most of the time they are fixable errors and when they are not, they provide a great opportunity to learn. I should learn to take my own advice! As it turns out, I love this little recipe. It made just over a half a cup, which is perfect for our family of two. When it’s this easy and fast to make, there’s no sense in making big batches. I served it here with the salmon but it would be lovely with lamb or even in a sandwich with roasted vegetables.

Minted Aioli

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced ( reduce to half if you don’t like it super garlicky)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 large handful of mint or 3 dozen leaves

In a medium sized bowl place 1 egg yolk, the vinegar and garlic. Whisk in the olive oil, being careful to stream in the oil slowly and incorporating it in with rapid strokes. Season with salt and pepper. Finely chop the mint and fold it into the aoili. Refrigerate for 1 week. Serve with the Tunisian Spiced Salmon and your favorite vegetable.

Bright orange free range egg yolks gives this aioli a beautiful color

I’m sharing this with Gluten Free Wednesday’s.

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13 Responses to Tunisian Spiced Baked Salmon with Minted Aioli

  1. Joanne February 4, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

    You’re right, I really should make preserved lemons while citrus is at it’s best! And then I can make Middle Eastern and Moroccan food to my heart’s content…especially this salmon! Those spices on it sound perfecto.

    • France Morissette February 4, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

      Hi Joanne.
      I know you don’t eat meat but I highly recommend trying this on tofu or even marinating veggies in this sauce. I know you’re as big of a fan as I am of these flavors

  2. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles February 4, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

    Wow, France, what a gorgeous presentation! Your salmon dish looks so inviting and delicious. I just love the lemon peel in this recipe and you’re absolutely right, this sauce could be enjoyed in countless ways. It sounds like making the aoili from scratch paid off beautifully! Gorgeous with the mint… I love everything about this recipe! :)

    • France Morissette February 4, 2012 at 9:29 pm #

      Thanks Kelly. You always say the nicest things.

  3. Melanie February 8, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

    I’m making this tonight! Sounds so good! I bet my Indian Hot Lemons would taste great in this Aioli.

    • France Morissette February 9, 2012 at 6:44 am #

      Indian Hot Lemons Melanie? Oooh I’ll have to head over to find out what this is all about.

  4. Rogene February 8, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

    We eat a lot of salmon and I’m always looking for new ways to prepare it. Thanks!

  5. Elsa February 9, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

    Lovely! I’ve been to Tunisia and love their food, although I never had salmon there. I had other meals with similar spices though.

    • France Morissette February 9, 2012 at 11:08 pm #

      Hi Elsa,
      I doubt salmon is traditional, but we have so much beautiful salmon in my part of the world I thought I’d put a Tunisian twist on it. I’m so happy I did. I’m a little jealous. I’d love to go to Tunisia!


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