You get a double dose of harissa spices in this super-easy party dish, which uses both ground harissa spices and liquid harissa. Despite all that bold seasoning, this isn’t overwhelmingly fiery, as the fatty fish has a mellowing effect. It makes a striking centerpiece for a buffet table and is a lot more interesting than the typical poached salmon with dill sauce. Watch it win over those who claim they don’t like fish! Should there be leftovers, they are excellent in a grain bowl, which is how we serve it at our Industry City café.



  • 2/3 cup [160 ml] extra-virgin olive oil

    Flavors of The Sun Cookbook Flavors of The Sun Christine Sahadi Whelan
  • 1/3 cup [35 g] harissa spices

  • 1/4 cup [60 ml] liquid harissa

  • 2 garlic cloves, grated

  • 1 skinless side of salmon, about 4 lb [1.8 kg]

  • 2 lemons, thinly sliced

  • Fresh herb sprigs, such as dill, parsley, or mint, for garnish


Stir together the oil, harissa spices, liquid harissa, and garlic in a small bowl. Cover and set aside at room temperature for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours to allow the flavors to develop.

Preheat the oven to 275°F [140°C].

Put the salmon in a roasting pan or baking dish just large enough to hold it. Pour the harissa mixture over the fillet, rubbing it onto the flesh to coat it completely with the spices and oil. Arrange the lemon slices on top, reserving a couple for garnish.

Roast the salmon until it is just short of cooked through, basting it with the pan juices every 15 minutes. After 30 minutes, take a peek inside to see if it is beginning to flake; there should still be a bit of a deep red core. If it’s not quite there, cook a bit longer, checking every 5 minutes.

Let the fish cool in the roasting pan. Transfer it to a serving platter and break it into irregular chunks. Serve at room temperature, drizzled with the pan juices and garnished with the remaining lemon slices and the herb sprigs.

Excerpted with permission from Flavors of the Sun: The Sahadi’s Guide to Understanding, Buying, and Using Middle Eastern Ingredients (Chronicle Books, 2021) by Christine Sahadi Whelan. Copyright text © 2021 by Christine Sahadi Whelan. Copyright photographs © 2021 by Kristin Teig.

When you shop using our links, we earn a small commission. It’s a great way to support public media at no extra cost to you!