Give Dad the Rub – Mediterranean Spice Rub Recipe
With a big family dinner this weekend celebrating Father’s Day plus two birthdays and Copper River sockeye on the menu, I decided to come up with a special rub that would enhance but not overwhelm this fabulous salmon’s flavors.
My inspiration came from Sarah, the co-owner of Copper River Fish Market who, along with her husband, actually catches a lot of our Copper River salmon and wild Alaskan halibut. When we were chatting about their most recent fishing trip our conversation turned to cooking and she shared her favorite way to prepare the Copper River salmon they catch: a simple blend of chopped macadamia nuts, marjoram, lavender and sea salt. Being a big fan of lavender, but not a frequent marjoram user, I was immediately intrigued by this.
Marjoram is an herb with a subtle citrus flavor reminiscent of lemon balm, and whose characteristics are similar to thyme and oregano, although not quite as pungent, it sounded like an herb I should become better acquainted. I could definitely see how the marjoram would pair well with lavender flowers and, although I was tempted, decided to opt out of the macadamia nuts this time around and veered in a slightly different direction.
I added a little brown sugar to nicely caramelize the top of the fish as it grilled, plus fresh lemon zest and tarragon to brighten the flavors just a bit, then tossed in some thyme purely out of personal preference. The resulting rub was indeed a great complement to such a magnificent fish, adding flavors that nicely balanced the salmon’s richness without overpowering. And, if you make a big batch of this you’ll have enough left to give the guest of honor the rub – as a gift, of course!
This rub is especially good on salmon, but would also work well on other fish or shrimp. If you use a gas grill, dusting your fish just before serving with a bit of smoked sea salt, such as Alaska Pure’s Alder-Smoked Flake finishing salt, will give you that extra bit of grilled flavor without the charcoal fuss.
- 2 Tbsp dried marjoram leaves
- 2 tsp dried thyme leaves
- 2 tsp dried tarragon leaves
- 1 tsp dried lavender flowers
- ½ tsp coarse sea salt
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- Zest from 2 lemons
- Alder-smoked sea salt for serving, if desired
- Grind the herbs with the sea salt in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.
- Combine with brown sugar and lemon zest, stir well to combine.
- Use immediately, or spread out to dry for a day or so and store in a glass jar.