Cumin is quite easily one of my favorite spices to use in cooking. The love affair began when I was in college and knew how to make approximately one recipe from scratch: chili with ground beef or turkey, pinto beans, tomatoes and a combination of chili powder and cumin. Of course, in college, I didn’t know what else to do with the spice so I would end up throwing out half-used jars at the end of each semester.
Since my initial chili cooking days, I’ve used the nutty, warm spice in a lot of different recipes, generally in situations where I wanted to try my hand at more exotic or ethnic dishes. Cumin is native to the Mediterranean and also common in Middle Eastern, Asian, and Mexican cooking. Only recently did I think to apply cumin in the simplest of ways: in a spice rub for grilled salmon.
While a little cumin will go a long way, it lasts up to six months when stored in a cool dry place away from light. You’ll know if your spice is still potent if you can smell its warm, nutty aroma an indicator that the spice is still flavorful.
This is a simple recipe perfect for two people, but also a good one eat for dinner and then repurpose the leftovers into a salad for lunch the next day over greens topped with a light vinaigrette dressing.
- 2 Anaheim chiles
- Cooking spray
- 1 ears of corn on the cob, shucked
- ½ cup fresh or diced tomato (or canned, drained well)
- ⅛ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- ⅛ cup fresh lime juice
- ½ teaspoon salt, divided
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
- ⅓ teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 (6-ounce) skinless salmon fillets
- Preheat grill to medium heat. Place chiles on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill five minutes on each side or until blackened. Place chiles in a heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag and seal, which steams the peppers and makes them easier to peel.
- Let peppers stand in bag for five minutes. When chiles have cooled enough to touch, cut them each in half lengthwise and discard seeds and membranes. Cut chiles into ¼-inch pieces.
- Next, place corn on the grill rack coated with cooking spray and grill 10 minutes or until lightly browned, turning occasionally so that the corn cooks evenly without burning on none side. When corn has cooled enough to touch, cut the kernels from the cob and discard cob.
- Combine chiles, corn kernels, tomato, cilantro, and juice; toss gently. Add ⅛ teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon black pepper. Set mixture aside.
- Combine remaining ½ teaspoon salt, remaining ¼ teaspoon black pepper, and cumin, stirring well. Rub spice mixture evenly over both sides of salmon. Place salmon on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness.
- Serve salmon with relish.