Recipe of the Month: Salmon with a Saffron Couscous Crust

January 01 2020
Recipe of the Month: Salmon with a Saffron Couscous Crust

With Ann Murray of Cooking4 cookery school in Chipping Sodbury

SO, it’s January and all those magazines which only a short month ago were encouraging us to indulge in rich food and fine wine are now suggesting that we have a dry January and a do controlled fasting. Just another example of how human beings swing from one extreme to the absolute other.

After many years of feeling guilty in January, I’ve come up with a scheme to avoid that.

First, over Christmas say no to seconds, food or drink. Try to do some exercise every day over the holiday period: a short walk, try and walk instead of taking the car for short trips or even walk up and down your stairs three times, twice a day. It all really helps avoid those extra pounds.

Secondly, after New Year you don’t need to go totally dry, just limit the alcohol. Maybe have a drink every other day, or drink only at the weekend. Research has shown that doing either of these (preferably as a lifestyle change) is better than having a month at a time abstaining and then getting stuck in again.

Thirdly, have a reassessment of what you are eating. Try to eat less red meat and more fish, plus extra fruit and veg. All of this isn’t rocket science, it’s all about being determined to put it into practice. That’s why my recipe is a super-easy fish dish.

I started by saying no sermons; hopefully this hasn’t been too much like that. Now all I have to do is to follow my own good advice! Good luck to us all with that.


Salmon with a Saffron Couscous Crust


The salmon fillets can be prepared in the morning, covered with cling film and put in the fridge until they’re needed. The mango salsa can be made the day before and kept in the fridge. Remember to take the salsa out of the fridge about a half hour before serving to appreciate the full flavours.


Serves 2



  • Salmon fillets - 2×150g.(5oz)

  • Medium couscous- 40g. (1 ½ oz)

  • Cider, white wine or apple juice- 3fl. oz(75ml.)

  • Saffron -1 generous pinch.

  • Beaten egg - ½

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper.


Pre-heat the oven to 375F, 190C, gas mark 5


  1. First prepare the couscous. Warm the liquid of your choice and add the saffron, salt and pepper. Whisk this lightly to distribute the saffron. Put the couscous. in a bowl and pour all the liquid over it. Stir with a fork and then cover with cling film and leave to one side to allow the couscous. to absorb all the liquid.

  2. Now prepare the salmon. Season the fish with salt and pepper and then dip in the egg.

  3. Then fluff up the couscous. with a fork and tip into a shallow dish.

  4. Dip the salmon (with the egg-dipped side down first) into the couscous. and press down with your hands so as to cover the fish. (It’s just like covering fish with breadcrumbs)

  5. Place the fillets on a baking tray and if you’re not ready to cook them, cling film them and put in the fridge.

  6. When you want to cook them, remove the cling film and place in the oven.

  7. Bake for 15-20 mins until crispy.

  8. Serve with mango salsa, green beans if in season, or roasted baby tomatoes and broccoli.


Mango Salsa


Serves 2.

  • 1 small red onion - peeled and finely chopped.

  • Mild red chilli- ½ de-seeded and finely chopped.

  • Mango- ½ peeled and cut into small cubes.

  • 1 lime - zest and juice.

  • Olive oil - 40ml. (1½ fl. oz.)

  • Salt and granulated sugar- a generous pinch.


  1. In a bowl, mix the onion with the pinch of salt and sugar.

  2. Add the chilli, olive oil, lime zest and juice. Stir well.

  3. Mix in the prepared mango, cover with cling film and put in the fridge.


Cook’s tip:


Aioli (a garlicky mayonnaise) also works well with this. You can make it, but it’s a little tricky and Tesco’s Finest is fab, so save yourself the aggro!