Story last updated at 10/17/2013 - 11:42 am
This week we celebrate Alaska Day, the day on which Alaska officially became the 49th state. Many will be enjoying a day off from work and many will still be working. But nearly all of us will celebrate the wonders that make this state special.
I moved to Alaska in 2009, which isn’t very long ago. I am still considered a Cheechako. I believe this means “new kid on the block, who won’t buy Xtra Tufs. Ever.” At least that’s my interpretation. I absolutely love my new home. I love the rainforest and how green and lush it is, and when the clouds are dancing through the trees and there is a light mist in the air, I feel as if I have been transcended to mystical location. The people here are friendly and helpful. They are also quirky and fun. I tend to fit in quite well. My husband recently told me I was weird, to which I replied “Why thank you!” I suppose the fake mustache I had stuck on my upper lip might have contributed to that compliment. I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I am home.
I especially love the food here. Salmon, halibut, shellfish, and shrimp, it’s all fresh, delicious and not processed. In the past four years I have cooked more salmon and halibut that in the 30 years prior.
To celebrate this auspicious occasion, I wanted to create a special recipe that reflected my love of Alaska. I chose salmon, the fish that to me symbolizes Alaska, its bounty, its wilderness and its prosperity. I didn’t want to make a simple salmon dish; I really wanted something with some depth of flavor. I also wanted to keep it simple so that it could be prepared on a week night. I decided the easiest process for cooking salmon is to pan sear it. Only one pan is needed and it takes very little time. Now for the spices. I have made lemon pepper salmon, Alderwood smoked salt salmon, blackened, citrus, and even honey miso salmon. What I haven’t made is a Middle Eastern spiced salmon; Moroccan style in flavor.
I blended chili powder, cumin, paprika and a few other spices and created this light, earthy spice rub to sprinkle on the salmon. I paired it with couscous that had toasted pine nuts and golden raisins. What a flavorful combination. Sometimes I forget how much I enjoy these flavors.
This week in honor of Alaska Day, I have chosen to celebrate in true Midgi fashion by creating a recipe that combines two of my favorite things, my new home and rich flavors: Moroccan Salmon.
I wish everyone a wonderful day and hope that you too will celebrate how fortunate we are to live in such an amazing place.
Until next time…
Eat and enjoy,
Kelly Moore, a.k.a. Midgi, writes and cooks from Juneau. Visit her blog, www.mealswithmidgi.com, for additional stories and recipes. She may be reached at midgi@
2 six ounce salmon filets
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons Hungarian or smoked paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat non-stick skillet to medium high heat. Combine all spices in small bowl and mix gently until it’s well incorporated. Sprinkle mixture on top of fish. Be generous with spice mixture.
Place fish in hot skillet seasoned side down. Sear for about 6 minutes, until a dark crust is formed. Turn fish and cook additional 5-8 minutes, until done. Fish should be a lighter pink in the middle and moist.
Serve with couscous or other favorite side.