Crisp Salmon with Sesame-Cumin Eggplant Panzanella


The smart idea here from F&W’s Kay Chun is to pair crisp salmon with a warm, smoky eggplant salad that’s tossed with cubes of sesame bread. Slideshow:  More Salmon Recipes 

Crisp Salmon with Sesame-Cumin Eggplant Panzanella
Photo: © Con Poulos
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 20 mins


  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 3 tablespoons tahini

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • Kosher salt

  • Pepper

  • 2 medium eggplants, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 1 hothouse cucumber, sliced

  • 1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced

  • 2 teaspoons white sesame seeds, plus more for garnish

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 3 ounces sesame bread, torn into small pieces

  • Four 6-ounce skin-on salmon fillets

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • Chopped dill, for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°. In a small bowl, whisk 6 tablespoons of the olive oil with the tahini, lemon juice and garlic and season with salt and pepper.

  2. Place the eggplant and cucumber in 2 separate medium bowls. Add 2 teaspoons of salt to the eggplant and 1 teaspoon of salt to the cucumber. Toss to coat and let stand for 15 minutes. Rinse and gently squeeze the eggplant and cucumber to remove the excess water; pat dry.

  3. Transfer the eggplant to a rimmed baking sheet and the cucumber to a small bowl. Add all but 1/4 cup of the tahini dressing to the eggplant along with the onion, 2 teaspoons of sesame seeds and the cumin; season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Roast the eggplant for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  4. In a medium bowl, toss the bread with 2 tablespoons of the oil, then toss with the eggplant on the baking sheet. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes, until the bread and eggplant are golden brown. Toss with the cucumber. Spoon the salad onto plates and drizzle with half of the remaining tahini dressing.

  5. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Add the salmon to the skillet skin side down and cook over moderately high heat until the skin is golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Flip the fish, add the butter to the skillet and baste until just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Set the salmon on the eggplant and drizzle with the remaining dressing. Garnish with dill and sesame seeds and serve.

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