Spiced Salmon Kebabs

Spiced Salmon Kebabs
Spiced Salmon Kebabs

     Kebab or kabob? I’ve often wondered which was the correct spelling. To me, it seemed like kabob was a Western spelling of the word. No real reason for that, just how I felt. Looking around this morning, I also found it spelled as kebap and kabab. It seems the word kebab is derived from an Arabic word “kabab” and was first mentioned in a Turkish script in 1377, so maybe that’s the correct way to spell it. However you choose to spell it, kebabs are no doubt a fun and easy way to grill up a healthy meal.

Assembling the kebabs for the grill
Assembling the kebabs for the grill

     Ever had one of those ADHD moments? I have them all the time. Yesterday, I was in the store procuring the necessary ingredients for dinner last night and tonight. One thing I needed was a cup of Greek yogurt. Have you looked for one cup of Greek yogurt before? You can get the small ones…6 oz. Not enough. Or you can get the gi-normous containers that would be way too much. I decided to go with the 6 oz, but now I had to decide what brand. Finally picked one, came home and started getting my sauce ready. The last step involved to do was dump in the yogurt and as it starts to fall into the food processor, I look closely at the container and wouldn’t you know it? Yep, I grabbed VANILLA Greek Yogurt!! In all my thinking about size and brand, somehow I overlooked plain vs. vanilla. Let me tell you, it was not going to work at all.

     With salmon already in the fridge, I was committed to my protein. Do I go with the tried and true Dizzy Pig Raging River spice or do I scramble madly about and find something else? Yep, scrambling madly about won and I’m glad it did. What I stumbled upon was Bon Appetit’s Spiced Salmon Kebabs. We stuck to the recipe, but I had some squash and zukes that needed using up, so they got sliced up and added to the kebabs as well.

Onto the grill that was pre-heated to 400F
Onto the grill that was pre-heated to 400F

Ingredients

  • 1 lb skinless salmon fillets, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 squash or 1 zucchini or 1/2 squash and 1/2 of both (optional)
  • 2 lemons, very thinly sliced into rounds
  • 2 Tbsp oil, olive or canola
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Directions

  1. Soak 8-10 wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat grill to about 400F or medium heat.
  3. Mix oregano, sesame seeds, cumin, salt and red pepper flakes in a small bowl.
  4. Thread vegetables, salmon and lemon onto skewers. Use two skewers per kebab to keep meat and vegetables from spinning while grilling. Make sure that each piece of salmon has lemon (folded in half) contacting it and start and end each skewer with squash or zucchini.
  5. Brush kebabs with oil and season with spice mix.
  6. Grill kebabs, turning and flipping every 2 minutes or so, until fish is done, 8-12 minutes.
Finished
Finished

     Don’t those look pretty? Some cherry tomatoes would have made a nice addition with the red contrasting with the yellow and green and pink, don’tcha think?

Plated up and ready to eat
Plated up and ready to eat

     I’m sort of glad I screwed up the sauce in the original recipe I was going to prepare. This “replacement” dish turned out spectacular. While seemingly pretty simple with the ingredients, it burst with flavors. The lemon, which is always a nice addition to seafood, seemed to have basted the salmon with its juices every time the kebabs were turned or flipped.  The oregano added a wonderful herby flavor and the cumin and red pepper flakes gave it an extra boost of flavor with out overpowering the salmon. Mrs. G and I both loved the way the salmon turned out. By cubing it up, the salmon “nuggets” had extra surface area to hold flavors and get a nice char on it while not drying the fish out. I think from now on I might only cook salmon on kebabs.

     I think that the only thing I would do different is to omit the squash and zucchini from the kebabs. While it visually looks more interesting, I’m not a big fan of mixing meats and veggies on kebabs. It’s hard to get everything cooked perfectly because the proteins and veggies usually have different cooking times. Instead, I’d give the veggies their own skewers. I also think that having a slice of lemon between every “nugget” of salmon (instead of veggies) would add extra lemony flavor to the fish.

     And don’t think I’ve forgotten about the original recipe I was going to try. I want a redo on that one because I think the sauce would be a fantastic accompaniment to salmon. Look for it to appear here soon, possibly next week.

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10 thoughts on “Spiced Salmon Kebabs

  1. I hate when that vanilla bean on the outside of that yogurt package goes unnoticed. I’ve done it several times and no, it just won’t work. At least you didn’t buy that big size. I did a similar post about the word kebob. I’ve always been confused whether I Kebob, kebob or just skewer. I saw an old recipe the other day that was labeled shish-kebab. I hadn’t heard the shish part for quite some time.

    1. On the brand that I ended up going with, the vanilla and plain look almost exactly alike. I even reminded myself not to get vanilla. Oh well.

      You don’t often see shish or sheesh anymore before kebab. I wonder why that is? I’m no kebab expert when it comes to being authentically culturally correct, that’s for sure.

  2. Yum. Love the look of these kebabs/kabobs/shishkebabs/whatever! I’ve never tried salmon like this but it looks delicious. Great photos. And yes, I’ve bought vanilla instead of plain yoghurt before. I still made my tsatziki out of stubbornness (and added extra salt!!!) and it was ok but not great. I’ve been extra careful ever since!

  3. Great story about the yogurt, that cracked me up. I always buy the ginormous size because I fell in love with Greek yogurt this year. Have used it for years but something clicked. Marinades, dips, sauces, and anything that uses sour cream.

    Anyway, the kebabs….kababs? kuh-bobs look excellent!

  4. What an interesting and delightful dish! This is a very healthy version of the usual kebab or pork barbecues that I cook for my family on Sundays. Love the idea of putting in salmon and combining it with cucumber and yogurt sauce! This is definitely unique, I haven’t heard or tried it before. Thanks for sharing the recipe, I consider it one of my must-try dishes this weekend. I am just so amazed with the healthy twist of this dish, so incredible!

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