Salmon with Cucumber-Basil Sauce

I have to admit that I’m not the biggest fan of cooked salmon. Smoked salmon or sushi? I’m completely on board with that. But I don’t looooove the flavor of cooked salmon. That said, I appreciate its subtle sweetness and the health benefits it provides, so I work with it.

This recipe gives it a ton of flavor. The simple spice rub gives it a nice crust, and the sauce adds a bright, summery flavor (and uses a lot of basil, which we seem to be overflowing with lately). Greek yogurt is yogurt that has been drained for a bit and is extra creamy. If you can’t find it at the store, line a colander with several layers of cheesecloth or heavy-duty paper towels, dump in the yogurt, and let it sit over the sink for about 30 minutes.

Salmon with Cucumber-Basil Sauce

Sauce:

2 cups Greek yogurt
2 cups packed basil
1 tsp cumin seeds (or 1/2 tsp ground cumin)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 pickling cucumbers, peeled and seeded* (or 2 regular cucumbers)

Salmon:

1/4 cup olive oil
1 lb salmon fillet, cut into 3 or 4 pieces
2 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp red pepper

Roughly chop basil. Combine all ingredients except for cucumbers in a food processor and process about 30 seconds, until it’s pretty smooth. Roughly chop cucumbers, add to food processor, and pulse a few times until combined. Refrigerate until you’re ready to use it.

Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, combine cumin, salt and pepper, and coat salmon with cooking spray. Coat salmon with spice rub. You may not need all of it, but you at least need most of it — it’ll be pretty thick. That’s what helps get you that nice crust.

Place salmon skin-side up onto hot oil. Cook 6-7 minutes, resisting the urge to poke or move the salmon. You can tell it’s done with its bright pink color fades a bit. Serve with sauce.

You’ll probably have extra sauce. It would be great on grilled chicken or grilled veggies, as a dip, or just drank from a cup with a straw. Just kidding on that last one…kind of. It’s really good sauce.

*To seed a cucumber, first peel it. Then scoop out the seeds with a spoon, like so:

You’ll end up with nicely hollowed cukes, like this:

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