Salmon has always been a favorite in my house and although it is not commonly eaten in India, it pairs really well with Indian spices & flavors. Salmon is very healthy, nutritious and usually easy to prepare. Salmon, in particular, is also an extremely good source of beneficial fatty acids known as Omega 3s - which improve both cardiovascular and neurological health.
This is a wonderful dish, especially for entertaining. It makes for a lovely presentation & a healthy delicious meal. Salmon Pinwheels may sound complex, but they are a lot easier than you think. It’s basically salmon with a flavorful filling that’s rolled up to resemble a pinwheel. You can really use any filling that will pair well with the salmon. Of course, I have added an Indian twist to my filling but feel free to add your favorite ingredients to the dish.
First things first - buy a side of fresh good quality salmon, the size will depend upon the number of people. Also, make sure your chosen piece of salmon is uniform in both its size & thickness. The easiest thing is to have your fish monger do most of the work for you, ask him (or her) to skin your side of salmon. Since the salmon needs to be cut in half lengthwise, you can ask your fishmonger to do this as well if you wish. If not, I’m sure you can easily manage this simple task at home.
SALMON PINWHEELS, Indian Style
salmon (side of salmon, uniform size & thickness, skinless)
salt & pepper, to taste
oil as needed (vegetable or canola)
smoked Spanish paprika for garnish
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
lemon wedges for garnish
For the filling:
2½ cups freshly packed cilantro leaves (or mint leaves or a combination)
2-3 small Thai green chilies, roughly chopped (to taste)
3 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1½ inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
pinch of ground cumin powder
pinch of ground coriander powder
juice of ½ a lime
water (if needed) to help with the blending process
salt to taste
In a blender or food processor, blend all of the ingredients for the filling into a smooth thick paste. Set aside until needed.
Preheat the oven to 350 deg F.
The side of skinless salmon needs to cut in half lengthwise. Make sure you have two even & uniform pieces of salmon, you can trim off the edges if necessary. I recommend spreading the filling on the side that had the skin, this makes for a nicer presentation later. Liberally, season both sides of the salmon with salt & pepper. Now spread the filling evenly on each side in a nice layer. Then gently roll the salmon up from one end to the other, toothpicks work great to help hold the salmon together. Now using a large sharp knife, slice the salmon rolls crosswise into pretty pinwheel shapes, between 1½ to 2” wide is fine. Another option is to let the salmon sit in the refrigerator for about 15-20 minutes before cutting, it will be much easier. Don’t forget to remove the toothpicks if you decided to use them.
Sprinkle the top of each pinwheel with a little oil and paprika. Carefully place the salmon pinwheels on a lightly oiled baking sheet & cover loosely with aluminum foil. Bake about 10-15 minutes (this really depends on the size/thickness of the pinwheels). Then remove the foil and cook for another 5 minutes (or longer if needed) until fully cooked. I like a little color on mine, so I actually prefer to broil the salmon.
Let cool for about 5-10 minutes, garnish with cilantro leaves & lemon wedges and serve with a nice salad and some vegetable dishes or rice.
There are lots of fillings you could use for this dish such as using some sautéed spinach with a little garlic, lemon zest & toasted pine nuts.
You could also sprinkle the top of each pinwheel with some seasoned breadcrumbs (mixed with some Indian spices, of course). You could also use crabmeat mixed with some Indian spices & a little mayonnaise as a delicious filling as well.
Sometimes I make a little extra “filling” & add a little water and stir – you can now drizzle it as a sauce over the cooked pinwheels before serving or simply serve it on the side.