Extra Saucy Braised Salmon & Swiss Chard with Couscous

Get your springtime salmon fix on with this richly-flavored, healthy and light supper. Somewhere between a sauce and a stew, my thick and smoky tomato braise is roundly spiced and supremely satisfying.

Smoky Braised Salmon & Swiss Chard in saute pan with a bowl of couscous and a plate of lemons

“We’re saucy people.” (Meant quite literally.) If you’re anything like my aunt Sara and uncle Bill, you’re gonna love the ratios of this dish.

Sara recently helped me test a turkey meatball recipe for a forthcoming project – and if I were to distill her feedback to three words, they’d be, “More. Sauce. Please!” Her comments immediately jumped to mind when thinking about how best to introduce you to this salmon dish.

Smoky Braised Salmon & Swiss Chard in saute pan with a bowl of couscous and a plate of lemons

You see, I’ve worked through several different titles for this recipe, because I just couldn’t figure out what the heck to call it! It doesn’t check the box for a stew, which cooks low and slow. Plus stews are generally a little thinner. However it’s not simply a “salmon with sauce” dish, as the amount of sauce I call for is far too great to fit that bill.

What it IS, is a dish for saucy people! 😃

Smoky Braised Salmon & Swiss Chard on a plate with couscous

For those of us sauce lovers who want to grab a big spoon and dig right in, this is IT. Nestled in a thick tomato puree, steeped in white wine, smoked paprika, cumin, cinnamon and cilantro, the fish stays moist and juicy while it braises alongside the tender chard. A squeeze of lemon at the end is a must, brightening the rich and bold flavors.

Beginning late spring, and running through summer, fresh, wild salmon is at it’s best. And this is one of my favorite ways to enjoy the bounty – no matter whatcha decide to call it!

Smoky Braised Salmon & Swiss Chard on a plate with couscous

Are There Substitutions?

  • Anaheim chilis are mild, which is why I prefer them here – they compliment and don’t overwhelm the other flavors. If you have a hard time finding anaheims, you could use a half of a green bell pepper, or if you prefer a little heat, try a poblano or a fresno chili.
  • Rice could be served with the dish instead of couscous, or another option is serve simply with a good crusty bread or pita.
  • Spinach can be substituted for the swiss chard

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Smoky Braised Salmon & Swiss Chard in saute pan with a bowl of couscous and a plate of lemons
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Extra Saucy Braised Salmon & Swiss Chard with Couscous

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time25 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium anaheim chili seeded and diced
  • 4 large garlic cloves minced
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon caraway seeds
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 bunch swiss chard or spinach, stems removed about 4 cups roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup or brown sugar
  • 1 ½ pounds skinless salmon cut into 3-inch pieces
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • Cooked Couscous for serving

Instructions

  • Warm the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet with a lid. Add the chili and garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Adjust the heat if needed so that the garlic does not brown.
  • Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Add the cumin, smoked paprika, cinnamon, salt and caraway seeds and continue to cook for another minute, stirring. The tomato paste should begin to stick to the bottom of the pan. Pour in the wine and bring it to a simmer, scraping any bits that are stuck to the pan. The tomato mixture should be quite thick. After a minute or two, add the water and stir to combine, then add the greens and cilantro and the maple syrup. Put the lid on, turn the heat to low and let it cook for 10 minutes. This is a good time to get your couscous cooking so that it is done at the same time as the salmon.
  • Taste the sauce for seasoning, and add more salt if needed. Add plenty of freshly cracked black pepper, then place the salmon pieces in the pot. Nestle them down into the sauce, then replace the lid. Cook for 4 minutes, then stir gently, checking the salmon for doneness. If it is not cooked through, replace the lid and cook a little longer. The exact amount of time will depend on the type of salmon you buy and it’s thickness.
  • Just before serving, squeeze the lemon into the salmon. Serve warm with couscous, or with rice, pita or crusty bread.

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4 Comments

  • allie says:

    5 stars
    Sounds delicious Lex! Can I leave off the smoked paprika?
    L,Mom

  • Sara Kupchella says:

    5 stars
    Finally got around to making this…..I used one large jalapeño, otherwise all as directed….it was delicious! Loved all the sauce! Will definitely make this winner again!

    • KeyLimeLexi says:

      I am so glad you loved it!! I bet teh jalapeño was great in it. Thanks for the commenet!

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