Steamed Salmon & Spicy Couscous

Steam Oven Cooking

We decided to incorporate a steam oven when we recently renovated our kitchen. Well, we weren't just renovating the kitchen, but the whole house. So, initially the only appliance (besides the refrigerator) that worked, was the steam oven and I was forced to learn how to use it. This turned out to be a good thing, because I probably wouldn't have been nearly as adventurous with testing it's capabilities. But as they say, necessity is the mother of invention. During the month that we were without a stove or dry heat oven, I learned how to use the steam oven to bake, saute, and defrost. I invented steamed puddings, made soups, and even bread. It was a wonderful adventure and taught me a lot about the wide range of possibilities offered by steam cooking. Frankly, had our other appliances been available I probably only would have used the steam oven for cooking vegetables. Not that there's anything wrong with cooking veggies in a steam oven; its actually ideal for this. But there's so much more that it can do.

For instance, this recipe for steamed salmon and spicy couscous, which has a Moorish flair, and was inspired by my love of Spanish cooking. Of course, fish and damp heat go hand in hand. The moisture keeps the fish from drying out and helps to seal in vitamins and flavor. The couscous loves steam heat and the individual grains plump and bloom like flowers, becoming light and fluffy. I made the entire meal in the steam oven but you may opt to do some of the prep, like sauteing onions, etc. on top of the stove.

This is an easy one dish meal that was simple enough to make during the week for the family yet elegant enough to serve to guests. As the weather is now warming up, consider serving it with a pitcher of white Sangria while you listen to a lovely classical guitar. It will easily feed 6 people.

If you'd like to know more about the nutritional value of this dish then make sure to keep reading after the recipe's instructions.

Recipe for Steamed Salmon with Couscous, Bell Peppers, Black Olives & Carrots

  • a couple of glugs of olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 carrots, pealed and chopped
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 small hot red chilli peppers, minced
  • 3 oz. or 85 gr. pitted Spanish black olives, coarsely chopped
  • 6-7 fresh Sage leaves
  • 5-6 sprigs of Thyme
  • 2 sprigs Rosemary
  • tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. white pepper
  • tsp. white sugar
  • 1 c. or 250 gr. vegetable broth
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 Salmon fillet
  • 2 c. or 450 gr. instant couscous
  • ribbons of fresh basil for garnish
  • drizzle of good olive oil for garnish

Instructions For Steam Oven Cooking

Brush solid bottom pan with olive oil then add the chopped onions. Set the steam oven to it’s universal setting (100% steam and 100 ℃ or 212 ℉) and let that cook for a good 25 minutes or until the onions are soft and translucent. You can use that time to chop your veggies, mince garlic and chillies and stem and mince the herbs. If you prefer, you can saute the onions on the stove until translucent. If you'd prefer to saute the onions on the stove, then after they are translucent proceed as directed.

When the oven beeps transfer the onions to a large mixing bowl and add the other vegetables, herbs, garlic and chillies. Season with the sugar, salt and white pepper and mix well. Transfer the vegetables back to the solid based pan and place the salmon fillet on top. Season generously with a little more salt and pepper and pop the whole thing into the oven set to it’s universal setting for 10 minutes.

When it beeps take the salmon off and put it in a warming oven (or a regular oven set to about 100 ℃ or 212 ℉). Put the veggies back in your large mixing bowl and add all the rest of the ingredients except the garnishes. Make sure the couscous is well coated with the liquids. Then transfer that all back to the large solid bottom pan and put it back in the steam oven set at it’s universal setting for 5 minutes.

When that beeps transfer the couscous to a large serving platter, place the salmon on top and garnish with ribbons of basil and olive oil.

Nutritional Info for Salmon

Salmon is an excellent source of protein. One four ounce fillet will yield up to almost 75% of your daily protein requirements with only about 122 calories. Though salmon, along with mackeral, sardines and tuna are considered fatty fish, its good fat. The kind that helps to lubricate your circulatory system and cleanse the blood. Besides Omega 3's, salmon's proteins and amino acids have been proven to help reduce inflammation and to sooth the digestive tract. If you're worried about mercury content, you should shop for salmon from Alaska, (Kodiak coho, pink, and chum salmon) as they have the lowest amounts contaminants. Alaskan salmon is also the most sustainable.

What is Couscous?

Couscous is a semolina dish that comes from the Berber region of North Africa where local spices often include cinnamon, allspice and cardamon. The couscous you'll find in North American or European supermarkets has been pre-steamed and dried so that it'll only take about five minutes to cook at home. It has a wonderful texture and absorbs the flavors of what ever its served with, which makes it a very versatile starch. For a change, consider using it in place of rice or pasta.

Like Salmon, couscous is a very good source of Selenium and is extremely low in sodium, saturated fat and cholesterol. One cup or 157 gr. of couscous have 176 calories.

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