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Have you all had a big enough break from the Moroccan and Tunisian inspired dishes?

Here’s a compromise. French beurre noir meets Middle Eastern cuisine.

How about a quick and easy introduction to a spice that grows in North America, but is more often seen in Middle Eastern Cuisine? Sumac spice is the ground fruit of the plant and can be a reddish or deep purple spice. It has a tangy, lemony flavor and is used in all sorts of applications. Read more on Wikipedia HERE.

I’d seen it recently in a Donna Hay cookbook and it reminded me that I had it in my cupboard, pleading silently to use it in one of my recipes. The recipe suggested mixing it with butter and using it as a rub or a roast chicken (I plan to try this out soon), but I was intrigued to try it with fish since lemon and fish are such congenial friends.

This recipe was so delightful and simple that it will definitely be made frequently. The nutty taste of beurre noir is a lovely addition to the tangy lemony taste that Sumac lends. Try this with your favorite greens such as broccolette, bok choy or braised kale. You may even want to try it over tender greens like spinach and have the beurre noir act as the dressing.

Pretty pink center!

Many people are familiar with beurre noisette, brown butter (sounds so fancy in French), a term used to describe unsalted butter that has been allowed to brown to a toasty hazelnut color. Beurre noir, (black butter), is simply butter that has been allowed to darken slightly more than its friendly, neighboring sister. Beurre noir might sound slightly more mysterious, but instead of removing the butter from the heat at a nice toasty brown color, we’re looking for a dark brown color in it’s place, but not black like the name might suggest. The addition of lemon or some acid is also added in the final step.

Enter preserved lemon…

I know, I know, enough with the preserved lemon, but it’s just so fun to use and sooo good. And, if you haven’t gotten around to putting a batch on, what’s the hold up?

If you’re a regular reader and I haven’t convinced you yet, I probably never will. Not to worry, if you don’t have any on hand, lemon rind or lemon juice (carefully added to the hot butter of course) is an easy substitution.

Sumac Spiced Salmon ( or any meaty fish really)

  • 4 salmon fillets (skin on)
  • 2 tsp Sumac
  • salt and pepper

Sprinkle the salmon with 1/2 tsp of Sumac per fillet. Season each fillet with salt and pepper. In a large frying pan melt 2 Tbsp of butter over medium heat. Once the pan has come to temperature, place the salmon skin side down and cook for 5 minutes. Flip the salmon fillets and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes or until desired doneness. The perfect temperature is medium. You’ll notice in the photos that there is a darker pink center seen from the side. You’ll want to look for this if you prefer your salmon moist and not well done. If the salmon starts to ooze a milky white substance, you’ve over cooked it (unless you like it that well done, then you know it’s ready).

The white goo is serum albumen, part of the blood that congeals when the fish is well done. P.S. It’s edible and harmless.

Start on the butter as the fish is cooking.

Beurre Noir with Almonds

  • quarter of a preserved lemon
  • 4 Tbsp of unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp capers (optional)

To prepare the preserved lemon, remove the flesh and the pith of the lemon using a sharp knife. Finely chop the lemon peel and set aside.

After flipping the fish, place a pan over medium high heat. Add the butter and allow it to melt. If you add the almonds too soon they will get too dark so wait about 30 seconds after the butter has melted. Add the almonds and swirl the pan to cover them with the hot butter. Stir the almonds to allow them to brown evenly. Brown the butter until it reaches a dark brown (but not burnt or black state). This will only take a couple of minutes so you’ll want to stay attentive. Remove the butter from the heat and add the lemon, salt and pepper, and capers (if using). Spoon immediately over the fish. Serve with your favorite greens.

For those of you that think eating butter is unhealthy, here are one & two links with lots of other links embedded to fill your reading boots on the topic.

I’m sharing this with Real Food 101, Mangia Monday, Monday ManiaSlightly Indulgent TuesdayTasty TuesdayA Little Birdie Told MeFat TuesdayTraditional TuesdaysThis Chick CooksCast Party WednesdayAllergy Free WednesdayWhat’s Cooking WednesdayReal Food WednesdaySimple Lives Thursday, and Full Plate Thursday.

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