TC Recipe: Seared Salmon over Honey Apricot Couscous

February 20 2011

By Sous Chef Benjamin Nadolny
Suggested Pairing: 2009 Pfeiffer Vineyards Pinot Gris
Serves 2


Here in the Pacific Northwest we have the best wild caught salmon in the country. Naturally, it’s an excellent pairing with King Estate Pinot Gris, considered by many to be the top domestic Pinot Gris. The apricot and honey in this recipe compliment the nose and flavor of the Pinot Gris. Imagine this… an Oregon river of Pinot Gris with apricot trees, clover and lavender flowers along the banks. Salmon jump all around you as you slowly float down this river on a raft made of couscous.

Couscous from scratch can be time consuming, but the results are worth the efforts. A quick couscous from the box requires less equipment and is also fine.


  • 2 ea 6 oz salmon filets
  • 2 tsp pink peppercorns, cracked
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 8 fl oz cold water
  • ½ lb couscous
  • 4 T butter, melted
  • 4 threads saffron
  • 1 T shallots, diced
  • ¼ C feta cheese, crumbled
  • ¼ C dried apricots, diced small
  • 1 T Italian parsley, coarse chopped
  • 3 T Pinot Gris
  • 2 T honey
  • 1 C spinach leaves, julienned
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper


Add one teaspoon of salt to 6 oz of the water. Soak the couscous in the salted water for one hour and then drain into a metal colander. Set the colander over a pot of simmering water. Cover and let steam for 10 minutes. Empty the couscous into a casserole pan and stir to separate the grains. Add the remaining 2 oz of water and mix by hand. Now add the apricots, parsley and 1 tsp salt to the couscous. Return the couscous to the colander and steam again for 5-10 minutes.

Sweat the shallots in a small sauce pot with 1 tsp olive oil. Add the saffron, honey, Pinot Gris, 1 tsp salt and melted butter. Stir and set aside in a warm place for 10 minutes.

Season the salmon with salt and pink peppercorns. Sear in a hot sauté pan with the olive oil. Cook to desired temperature.

Toss the couscous with half of the butter mixture. Place the couscous in a bowl and scatter with the julienned spinach and the feta cheese. Drizzle the rest of the butter around the plate. Top with salmon.