The salmon can be cooked up to 2 hours in advance and assembled just before serving.

Average: 3.6 (39 votes)


1.2-1.4kg salmon fillets, skinned, at room temperature
30g fragrant salt (see below)
30ml extra-virgin olive oil

Fragrant salt (makes 60g)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds, ground
1/2 tsp coriander seeds, ground
1/2 tsp cardamom seeds, ground
1/2 tsp fennel seeds, ground
1/2 nigella seeds, ground
1/2 tsp sesame seeds, toasted
2 tbsp sea salt

Tahini sauce
20ml tahini
100ml natural yoghurt
1 small clove garlic, crushed with 1 tsp sea salt
Juice of 1 lemon
Sea salt, to taste

Tarator garnish
100g walnuts
2 small purple onions, finely diced
1 long mild red chillies, seeded, finely diced
1 cup coriander leaves, shredded
½ cup mint leaves, shredded
20g sumac

50ml extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


To make the fragrant salt, put the cumin, coriander, cardamom, fennel and nigella, sesame seeds and salt in a frying pan and gently heat. Stir to combine. Remove from heat and store in an airtight jar for up to 6 months.

Pre-heat the oven to 80ºC (fan-forced). To prepare the salmon, trim the tapering tail end of the salmon and square off the head. Then trim about 1.5cm from the belly so you have a neat even-sided rectangle. Remove all pin bones. Season the salmon with the fragrant salt. Cover and refrigerate for one hour.

Remove from fridge and thoroughly wash in cold water. Pat dry with paper towel. Brush both sides with olive oil. Wrap in silicon paper and place, skin-side down, on a large baking tray. Bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes.

Remove from the oven and carefully turn the salmon skin-side up. Return to the oven for a further 12 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside in the tray for 10 minutes to rest.

Unwrap the paper and gently scrape away all the grey bloodline. Set aside until ready to serve.

To make the tahini sauce, whisk the tahini into the yoghurt until it becomes a thick paste. Add the garlic and stir in the lemon juice. (It should have the consistency of pure cream.) Season with sea salt. Refrigerate.

To make the tarator, increase the oven temperature to 200°C. Place the walnuts on a baking tray and bake for 5 minutes. Transfer to a tea towel and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Rub briskly to remove the papery brown skins. Chop the walnuts to medium-fine. Sift to remove any powdery skin.

Mix the chopped walnuts with the finely diced onion, chilli, coriander, mint and sumac.

To make the dressing, whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Season the rested salmon fillets lightly with salt and pepper. Brush the exposed flesh of each fillet with 3-4 tablespoons of the tahini sauce.

Divide the tarator mixture into 8 portions and pack onto the salmon fillets neatly and evenly, covering the entire surface.

Transfer each fillet onto an oval serving dish. Just before serving, spoon over the dressing and sprinkle with a little extra sea salt.