Moroccan Spiced Salmon

Moroccan Spiced Salmon

This Moroccan spiced salmon dish is lush with evocative flavors, colors, and textures, all in one, and all in 10 minutes.–Rozanne Gold

LC Side Ways Note

Sure, this spice-rubbed salmon is swell when accompanied by the sweet tang of oranges, the briny-like-the-sea smack of olives, the crisp pungency of thinly sliced red onions, and the virtuousness of a small heap of tender young salad greens, as the author smartly suggests. But if you really want to make that salad sing, rather than dress it with a mere drizzle of olive oil, whisk up a lovely little vinaigrette using the juice of another orange, a few drops of white wine vinegar, and some extra-virgin olive oil, then dribble it over both salmon and salad. We think you’ll like that. We certainly did. Actually, we like it so much, we could see adding this to the rotation of go-to recipes that we turn to during crazy weeks and being certain to save a portion to take to work for lunch the next day (keeping the salmon and the salad separate, natch).

Moroccan Spiced Salmon

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 15 M
  • Serves 4
5/5 - 4 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the Radically Simple cookbook

Want it? Click it.


Email Grocery List

Ingredients sent!

Send Grocery List

Email the grocery list for this recipe to:

Is required
Sign me up for your or newsletter, too!
Is required
  • 2 oranges, preferably seedless
  • 1/2 cup torn basil leaves
  • 1/2 small red onion, slivered
  • 10 large oil-cured black olives, pitted
  • A few handfuls mixed salad greens
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 pieces (4 to 6 ounces each) fresh salmon, without skin


  • 1. To make the Moroccan spiced salmon fillets, lop the top and bottom of the oranges with a sharp knife so the oranges stand upright on a cutting board. Trim the rind and the white pith from them. Turn the oranges on their sides and slice them very thinly. Arrange the oranges on 4 plates. Top with the basil and onion and scatter the olives around. Place the greens on top. Drizzle each salad with a little oil. Set aside to allow the flavors to meld.
  • 2. In a small bowl, mix together the chile powder, cumin, cinnamon, and salt. Rub the mixture onto 1 side of each salmon fillet.
  • 3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium skillet. Add the salmon, spice side down, and cook 2 minutes over high heat. Turn and cook to the desired doneness, 2 minutes longer for rare. Arrange a salmon fillet on each salad and drizzle with the remaining oil.

Recipe Testers Reviews

This was a fast and delicious dinner! The dry spice rub on the salmon was awesome and next time I’ll put it on the bottom, too! The salmon could stand on its own anytime at our house and will be in my file from now on. I cooked 6 oz. salmon fillets (thickest part measuring 1 1/4″) and increased the time to 2 1/2 minutes on each side. They were definitely on the rare side, but we like that with salmon. I think this dish would be great in the summer when basil (or mint?) is plentiful in the garden. Next time, I’ll add more oranges and olives to the salad. A keeper!

This is one of the best preparations of salmon that I’ve had in quite some time! The vibrant colors of the salad are matched by its variety of flavours. The salmon was done to tender, juicy perfection and the warm spices in the rub showcase it’s wild, earthy flavour. I’m glad I used 6-ounce portions or I’d be going back to the store for more before dinner was over!

I just love when recipes say it’s all going to be ready in 10, 20, 30 or whatever minutes. It’s just never the case because each of us defines start to finish differently. I would say that, AFTER prep, cooking and plating can be done in 10-12 minutes. Sorry, but the orange and the olives take some concentrated time. The rest was a dream. The flavors, colors, and textures were evocative of a Morocco I have yet to visit, but like to think I’ve captured. I was even surprised that the cumin and chile powder did not overpower the salmon–perhaps the cinnamon provided enough counterbalance. At first, I wasn’t sure if just a drizzle of olive oil was enough of a dressing for all that mesclun, basil, citrus, and olives, but my tastebuds liked the sweet smokiness of the salmon set against the tart pungency of the citrus-basil, nicely napped by the oil. However, I would suggest using an extra extra-virgin olive oil, one normally used for dressings. I had some regular stuff on hand and it was a bit too heavy. Also, I might use a lighter hand with the olives next time; I used less than asked for and cut them into slivers, but they still almost overpowered the plate. The dish tasted just fine at nearly room temperature, too, so I bet it would work for a picnic–just keep ingredients separate and assemble on site.

On a recent visit to see my sister, she told me that she's been making this recipe on a regular basis. We made it together for dinner while I was there .This dish is very simple to make, and the results are lovely. She didn't have oil-cured black olives, so we used kalamatas instead. We also followed the suggestion in the headnote and made a citrus vinaigrette to go with the dish instead of just finishing it with olive oil, and we really liked that variation. The recipe's cooking time gives you medium-rare salmon, which I like; if you want your fish more thoroughly cooked, you can cook it longer, but I'd suggest adjusting the heat downward so the spices don't burn.

There's quite a bit of room to play around with this dish. You could vary the citrus (grapefruit would be good), play with the dressing (maybe add some harissa), experiment with different greens, and play around with different types of olives or other additions. The recipe as written will give you a foundation for a very nice meal.


#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


  1. Wonderful recipe. I must have made this over 50 times (am not kidding) since the recipe was published here. I prefer brine-cured kalamata olives with arugula as greens. The brine of olives works really well with the sweetness of oranges. Just last week I made this three times. An added advantage, the time it (doesn’t) take, less than 20 minutes for a meal.

  2. This was so delicious! I made it for a dinner I made for my in-laws and they loved it! Another bonus of this great dish is its presentation.

  3. Two thumbs up! This recipe is definitely going in the “make again and often” file.

    I made this with the Cara oranges since that’s what I had on hand. The rose color of the orange against the greens and salmon made it almost too pretty to eat…almost.

  4. I made this right after I saw the recipe. It was great. It had a great flavour and the salad made it quite light. I’ll definitely make this salmon again. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Hey Kit, I originally thought the same thing. But I was amazed at how well the flavors worked together to enhance the salmon. And my guests thought so, too. Not a speck was left on their plates.

    2. The salmon really isn’t hidden, Kit. Neither is it’s flavour. In fact the combination of tastes here actually allows the salmon’s true flavour to shine.

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Attach it below. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

Upload a picture of your dish