This dish is truly an awakening of flavor. I learned the recipe via detailed phone calls with my mother-in-law describing this dish that she swears is her most popular entertaining dish ever. Smothered in onions and caramelized tomato paste, the salmon sings with bright acidity from lemon and heat from Iraqi curry powder (which I've simplified here with coriander, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne). It's just as easy as it is popular, so get ready to join the fan club!
Technique tip: You can make the tomato sauce up to 3 days in advance, so you just have to spread on your salmon and roast before serving!
Swap option: You can use a whole salmon plank, or filets, or even use this tomato sauce on another protein like chicken or tofu!
Preheat the oven to 475 F. Line a half sheet pan with aluminum foil.2.
In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and scallion whites and cook, stirring often, until softened and lightly caramelized, 10-12 minutes. Stir in the coriander, cumin, turmeric and cayenne and cook, stirring continuously, until fragrant, about 1 minute.3.
Stir in the tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until well incorporated and caramelized to the color of rust, 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest. Season with salt and let cool slightly.4.
Place the side of salmon on the prepared sheet pan, skin-side down (and arranged diagonally to fit, if necessary), and season with a heavy pinch of salt. Spread the tomato mixture over the top of the salmon in an even layer. Roast for 15-20 minutes, until the salmon is golden and reaches an internal temperature of 145 F. (If desired, broil the salmon for 2-3 minutes to get more color.)5.
Garnish the salmon with the scallion greens, then serve with lemon wedges.