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Roast Salmon with Couscous Crust

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Marcia Kiesel used to crust salmon with bread crumbs, but she created this clever alternative as a way to use up leftover cooked couscous. She now prefers the couscous because it holds its shape and delivers a much more satisfying crunch.

  1. 1 cup boiling water
  2. 1 cup instant couscous
  3. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  4. 2 slices lean bacon, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  5. 1 garlic clove, minced
  6. 6 oil-packed black olives, pitted and chopped
  7. 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
  8. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  9. Four 6-ounce center-cut salmon fillets, skinned
  10. 1 large leek, white and tender green parts only, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
  11. 1/2 cup fruity Pinot Noir
  12. 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  13. 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
  14. 1 stick (4 ounces) well chilled unsalted butter, sliced into tablespoons
  1. Preheat the oven to 500°. In a small heatproof bowl, pour the boiling water over the couscous. Cover with a plate and let stand until the water has been completely absorbed, about 20 minutes.
  2. In a small skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the diced bacon and cook over moderate heat until it is lightly crisp, about 4 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant. Remove the bacon from the heat and stir in the olives, parsley and couscous. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  3. Put the salmon fillets on a lightly oiled baking sheet, skinned side down and season with salt and pepper. Carefully mound the couscous on the fillets, pressing lightly to help it adhere. Bake the salmon in the upper third of the oven for about 10 minutes, or until the topping is crisp and the salmon is just cooked through.
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the leek, cover and cook over moderately low heat until softened, about 6 minutes. Scrape the leek onto a plate. Add the Pinot Noir, vinegar and shallot to the saucepan and boil over moderately high heat until the liquid has reduced to 2 1/2 tablespoons, about 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time; return the pan to the heat only as necessary to keep the sauce warm. Do not let the sauce boil. Stir the leeks into the sauce and cook just until heated through. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Serve at once with the salmon.

Suggested Pairing

Elegant, structured Pinot Noir from Sonoma.



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