Sabrina Ghayour’s Sirocco

We were big fans of Sabrina Ghayour’s debut cookbook, Persiana which was published the summer before last and added several new modern Middle Eastern recipes to our repertoire. Accessible, exotic but totally reliable, Ghayour’s recipes had all the tried and tested ease of a cook who started out by building a hugely popular thrice-weekly supper club. Her follow up cookbook Sirocco, named after the dry winds that blow from East to West, promises to dish up more of the fuss-free dishes in which Ghayour excels but with more of a melding of her Middle Eastern background (she was born in Iran before moving here as a child) with Western techniques and ideas. All of which makes these recipes really great for entertaining – everything looks fabulous and tastes complex yet none of it is tricky to make. There are lots of great sharing dishes including an array of utterly delicious salads and starters – we love the spiced beetroot yogurt and a butter bean and Za’Atar dip. The same spice mix reappears in a succulent roasted citrus chicken too. What’s great about Ghayour’s recipes is the flexibility – many ideas can be transferred and swapped around. We love her side of salmon with lemon, turmeric and black pepper (a serious smart supper contender) but the ingredients would work brilliantly on almost any whole meaty fish. What’s even better is that the prep probably takes all of five minutes. What more can you ask for?

From Sirocco:

Lemon, Turmeric & Black Pepper Salmon

This may be literally the easiest recipe I ever came up with for salmon, yet it always delivers the wow factor. One day I was stuck for ideas for spicing up my salmon, so I raided my spice rack, added a little lemon zest and this recipe was born. You can, of course, use salmon fillets, but serving up a side of salmon prepared in this way makes it really impressive.


Serves 6 – 8


1kg salmon side

finely grated zest of 3 unwaxed lemons

1 tablespoon coarse black pepper

4 tablespoons garlic oil

2 tablespoons turmeric

1 heaped teaspoon sea salt flakes, crushed


Preheat the oven to 240°C, Gas Mark 9. Line the largest baking tray you have with baking paper.


Place the salmon side, skin-side down (if applicable), on to the prepared baking tray.

In a small bowl, make a paste using the lemon zest, coarse black pepper, garlic oil and turmeric and mix well until smooth and well combined. Rub the mixture evenly all over the exposed salmon flesh.

(If desired, you can now leave the salmon in the refrigerator to marinate for 1 hour or even overnight, as long as you don’t add salt to it.) Season the salmon evenly with the sea salt. Roast for 22 minutes – the flesh should still feel firm to the touch – then serve immediately.




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