Harissa Salmon with Healthy Cous Cous

Salmon is the kids’ favourite meal.  The husband loves it.  I did not.  That was until I started making it myself and, groundbreaking I know, NOT overcooking it.  Turns out that fishy taste and dry texture I was not so fond of was simply a consequence of it being cooked far too long – it should be almost translucent pink in the centre, melty in texture (flaking easily into giant chunks) and subtle in flavour.  Delicious.

Armed with my new found wisdom I began cooking with salmon a lot more.  Curries and stir-fries are always popular but when I put this dish together one night it secured the top spot.



Ingredients (Serves 4)

1 half side of salmon, cut into 4 (or 4 fillets)
good quality olive oil (I like this one)
4 tbsp harissa (I make my own* but you could buy pre-made)
1 can chopped tomatoes
250g wholewheat couscous
250g petit pois
1 lemon (juiced and zest finely grated)
1 bunch flat leaf parsley (chopped)


First things first…  does your salmon have skin?  If yes then you may want to sear the skin side in a very hot oiled pan for around 30-60 seconds before lifting it out the pan and removing the skin (if it has crisped it should come away super easily).  We save this for the dogs because they LOVE it but, if you love it too, then you can absolutely just leave it on, your choice.

Prepare your couscous by mixing it in a large bowl with a good lug of olive oil, half the lemon juice, the zest, salt and pepper. Fill a kettle and boil.

Pour the boiled water over the couscous, cover it entirely plus approx. 1 inch extra and then immediately cover tightly with clingfilm.  (This method works perfectly for me every time, the couscous packet instructions do not by the way).

Smear around half the harissa over the raw salmon fillets.  Heat a generous lug of olive oil in a large frying pan before adding the salmon.  You only want to give these around 5-6 minutes total so you need to work pretty fast now…

Put the petit pois in a large pan of boiling water and simmer for around 3 minutes.

Turn the salmon and add the can of tomatoes as well as the remaining harissa to create the sauce.  Remember the pan should be HOT.  I tend to keep my salmon fillets to one side of the pan and tomatoes to the other – there is no real reason for doing this other than I prefer to keep the crisped harissa ‘crust’ intact on the fish and if I cooked it in the tomato it would likely disappear into the sauce.

Remove the clingfilm from your couscous and fluff with a fork before mixing through the parsley, drained petit pois and more lemon juice to taste.

Place the salmon on top, add the sauce and garnish with fresh parsley.  Enjoy.


*Every few months I make a large batch of my own, somewhat inauthentic due to allergies, harissa with overnight slow roasted vine tomatoes drizzled in olive oil, a couple of deseeded red chillis and smoked paprika.  I blitz it, divide it, freeze it and it last ages.


As always tag #ThankfifiFood if you try it and please do send me your pics on Instagram – I love seeing them.

Find my other recipes here.

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