Salmon Steaks with Spicy Tomato Sauce

1 Tbsp.

Caraway Seeds

8 Tbsp. (or more) Sunflower Oil, Divided

3 Tbsp.

All-Purpose Flour

8 oz, 1 inch thick, 6 inch long salmon steaks, preferably wild

  Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Garlic Cloves, Coarsely Chopped


Serrano Chile with seeds, chopped

2 tsp. Paprika
1 1/2 tsp.

Ground Cumin

1/4 tsp. (generous) Cayenne Pepper
1/4 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
2 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
2 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
2 tsp. Sugar
2 Tbsp. Chopped Fresh Cilantro
  Lemon Wedges

Toast caraway seeds in a small dry skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly darker in color and aromatic, about 2 minutes.  Remove from skillet and let cool.  Finely grind in a spice mill; set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat.  Place flour in an 8x8x2″ baking dish or a shallow wide bowl.  Season fish with salt and pepper.  Place fish in flour and turn to coat; shake off excess.  Working in 2 batches, cook salmon until golden, about 2 minutes per side.  Transfer fish to a plate; wipe out skillet and set aside.

Puree garlic, chile, paprika, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, caraway and two tablespoons oil in a food processor, adding more oil by teaspoonful to garlic paste, if needed. 

Heat remaining four tablespoons oil in reserved skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic paste.  Cook, stirring for 30 seconds (do not burn).  Carefully (mixture will splatter) add tomato paste and ½ cup water to skillet and bring to a simmer; continue simmering for 30 seconds.  Stir in lemon juice and sugar.  Season with salt and pepper.

Return fish to skillet and bring to a gentle simmer.  Cover pan; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until fish is just cooked through, 7-11 minutes.  Remove pan from heat, uncover, and let cool slightly.

Divide the salmon and sauce among plates.  Sprinkle cilantro over.  Serve warm or at room temperature with lemon wedges along side.