My favorite restaurant on the planet is the Fishmonger in Illovo. Pedro is a dear friend and he is undoubtedly the master when it comes to seafood. He uses exceptional quality fishes and cooks them simply, letting them be the star of the dish.
Unfortunately in the US, I am limited to cooking with salmon, tuna, or swordfish. It is nearly impossible to get my hands on the fishes abundantly found on South Africa’s coastline… Kingklip, kabeljou, hake & soles.
So it is no surprise, that when I find myself back in Johannesburg, I eat almost every meal at The Fishmonger. And no meal is complete without their chunky Greek salad overflowing with creamy, salty feta cheese and briny Kalamata olives. Pedro uses only the best ingredients and it is evident with every mouthful.
Today I have created a dish inspired by him. And if you are lucky enough to be able to substitute some of the local fishes, instead of salmon please do so. I am green with envy.
Just like their neighbors in Italy, Greek food focuses on fresh, simple ingredients. Nothing says Greece more than oregano. The fresh herb can sometimes be overpowering, so I have used the milder, dried version in this recipe.
In Los Angeles, we are lucky enough to have Papa Cristo’s Greek market. You can find me there once a week stocking up on yogurt, olives, dips, salad dressings, and baklava.
But if you are elsewhere in the world try to find a good Greek store to buy your olives and feta. It makes all the difference.
Apolamváno̱ or απολαμβάνω (def— enjoy)
xxxx Chef MM
Greek Style Salmon
FOR THE FISH
- 4 x 8oz /225g salmon fillets — (center cut) with pin bone removed and skin on
- Olive oil spray
- Spice rub (see below ****)
- Zest of one lemon
- Good quality olive oil for drizzling
- Lemon slices and chives for garnish
FOR THE SPICE RUB ****
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried dill
- 1 tsp fish spice
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
FOR THE SALAD
- 1 pack cherry tomatoes halved
- 5 baby Persian cucumber cut into big chunks
- ½ red onion cut into slivers
- 1 large yellow pepper cut into chunks
- 1 cup Kalamata olives halved
- 1 pack of good feta cheese cut into cubes
FOR THE DRESSING
- ½ cup good olive oil
- ¼ cup good red wine vinegar
- Juice of one lemon
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- ½ tsp coarse salt
- ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tsp dried oregano (rubbed in hands to release the oils)
Preheat the oven to BROIL/GRILL
Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl to make the dry spice rub ****.
Spray a foil-lined baking sheet with non-stick spray. Place the salmon fillets on the baking sheet skin side down.
Season the fish with the spice rub and top with the zest of a lemon (set lemon aside to use for dressing) and a drizzle of olive oil.
Cook the salmon in the top half of the oven for 6-7 minutes (be careful not to overcook). It should be easy to pierce with a fork and it should still be moist inside. Remember fish still continues to cook when you take it out of the oven, so err on the side of undercooking the salmon.
Whisk all the salad dressing ingredients together and set them aside. Cut all veggies into big chunks and lay them in a bowl. Drizzle with the salad dressing just before serving and toss to coat. Lay the salad down on a flat platter and top with the feta cheese.
Place the salmon fillets on top. Give it a generous drizzle of some good quality olive oil. Crumble some feta on the fish and garnish with a lemon slice and fresh chives.