Real Food Fast: Dukkah Salmon Sticks

salmon sticks, dukkahI’m always amused by fish-based “convenience” foods – fish sticks, wedges and the like – which take 25-30 minutes in the oven. How is that more convenient than a chunk of fresh fish, which is cooked in 10?

Often I cut salmon into big bite-sized chunks, which allows the pieces to cook even more quickly, and around here boys under 10 will eat pretty much anything presented to them on a stick. The marinade is stirred together quickly (and generally without really measuring) – easy to do in the morning as they eat breakfast, so by the end of the day there’s a flavorful piece of salmon ready to go.

Generally I skewer the chunks on little bamboo skewers and then dip one side into a shallow dish of sesame seeds (a mixture of black and regular looks nice), but I thought it might work dunked into dukkah.

Dukkah is an Egyptian blend of toasted spices, nuts and seeds that is intended to be served in a shallow bowl alongside crusty bread and a bowl of good olive oil; you dip the bread into the oil and then into the dukkah. Or sprinkle it on salads. Or dip little bites of salmon into it and then serve them with rice and a salad, or on their own, sitting beside the bathtub playing remote control submarine.

Dukkah

3/4 cup hazelnuts or whole almonds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
2 Tbsp. coriander seeds
2 Tbsp. cumin seed
1 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. flaky sea salt

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spread the hazelnuts out on a baking sheet and roast for 5-10 minutes, or until golden and fragrant. Transfer them onto a tea towel, fold the towel over and rub them to remove as much of the skins as you can; set aside to cool. (If you’re using almonds, toast them but don’t worry about removing the skins.)

In a dry skillet, toast the sesame seeds over medium heat, shaking the pan often, until golden and fragrant. Transfer to a bowl. Add the coriander and cumin seeds to the pan and toast until they begin to pop; transfer to a food processor with the hazelnuts and pulse until finely ground, then add to the sesame seeds and stir to combine them. Season with salt and pepper and blend well.

Makes about 1 1/4 cups.

Per tablespoon: 55 calories, 5.1 g total fat (0.5 g saturated fat, 3 g monounsaturated fat, 1.2 g polyunsaturated fat), 1.8 g protein, 1.8 g carbohydrate, 0 mg cholesterol, 0.7 g fiber. 76% calories from fat

Dukkah Salmon Sticks

1 1/2 lbs. salmon filet
1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp. lime or lemon juice
1 Tbsp. finely grated ginger
1 batch dukkah (above) or sesame seeds, toasted, for sprinkling

Cut salmon into big bite sized pieces. Combine the honey, soy sauce and lime juice in a bowl or large zip-lock bag. Add the salmon and stir or shake to coat well. Cover (or seal) and refrigerate for 24 hours, or at least one hour if that’s all you have time for.

When you’re ready to cook them, thread each piece of salmon onto a bamboo skewer that has been soaked in water for at least 10 minutes. Grill over high heat for a couple minutes per side, until just cooked through, or broil for 3-4 minutes. Don’t overcook them or the salmon will dry out.

Place the dukkah (or just use sesame seeds) in a shallow dish and dip one side of each skewer in the seeds to coat, or sprinkle them overtop. Serve immediately.

Makes about 1 1/2 dozen salmon sticks.

Per stick: 95 calories, 2.5 g total fat (0.6 g saturated fat, 0.9 g monounsaturated fat, 0.9 g polyunsaturated fat), 9.5 g protein, 9.6 g carbohydrate, 24.6 mg cholesterol, 0 g fiber. 23% calories from fat

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