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Harissa Salmon Fillets with Orange and Sumac

Harissa salmon fillets marinated in the Moroccan chilli paste, dried mint and orange before being pan fried and finished with sumac.

The rose harissa marinade needs to be left on the fish for at least 30 minutes, but cooking it takes right around 10 minutes, making this a fantastic quick fish supper.

Pan fried harissa salmon fillet served with tabbouleh salad.

Pan Fried Harissa Fish

I love the cooking technique that this pan fried harissa salmon recipe utilises. I use variations of it in everything from my jerk salmon fillets to my honey and mustard salmon.

It is super simple and results in perfectly crispy salmon skin every single time.

The flavours here have a distinct North African influence. The rose harissa paste that I use in dishes like my harissa lamb chops, lamb stuffed peppers and harissa pasta is joined by orange, and dried mint.

The marinade crispy up and gives a nice spicy almost stick crust to the underside of the fish, whilst the skin is beautifully crisp.

Any leftover marinade is gently heated to create a simple sauce or dressing.

Finally, the fish is seasoned with sumac to provide a final tart note to this delicious fish dinner!

Overhead pan fried harissa salmon fillet served with tabbouleh salad.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to use rose harissa?

No, you can use plain old harissa if you like, however, the flavour will not quite be the same.

But you can add some rosewater if by chance you have some knocking around, but tread carefully you can overpower the dish very quickly.

Can I use skinless salmon?

Yes, it will work fine with skinless salmon.

Can I marinade overnight?

I personally would not because the combination of the acidity of the orange juice and the salt will almost cure the fish.

Why should I not marinate the skin of the fish?

This will stop the skin of the salmon from crisping up, and because I think that crispy skin is the best part of pan-fried fish.

What is sumac?

In this context, I am referring to a spice made from the dried “fruit” of the sumac plant. It has a delicious tart flavour that is almost like a cross between lemon and vinegar.

Here it is used as a seasoning. But you can also cook with it, as I do in my roasted carrot soup recipe.

Close up pan fried harissa salmon fillet served with tabbouleh salad.

Serving Suggestions

This pan-fried harissa salmon recipe is pictured here with a herby tabbouleh salad, but it works really well with a host of dishes.

You could serve it with some fairly plain bulgur wheat or even some nice buttered couscous. If you want something with more punch then go for my roasted vegetable couscous or even giant couscous salad.

It is particularly good with salads, the flavours of the sauce work really well with fennel and orange salad.

But everything from a simple green salad to Moroccan carrot salad all sit really well alongside this spicy salmon recipe.

If you want to play with the whole fish and chip vibe, pair it with batata harra, spicy Lebanese potatoes!

This is also pretty awesome served with my shakshuka with chorizo recipe.

Crispy skinned pan fried harissa salmon fillet served with herby tabbouleh salad.

Equipment Used

I only name-check specific brands of equipment if I think they make a material difference to a recipe. If you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Stovetop.
  • 28cm or 11″ frying pan.
  • Mixing and marinating bowls.
  • Citrus zester.
  • Measuring spoons.
  • Fish slice or spatula.
Crispy skinned pan fried harissa salmon fillet served with herby tabbouleh salad.
Yield: 2 Servings

Harissa Salmon Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Marinade Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Pan fried harissa salmon fillets with crispy skin marinated in North African spicy chilli paste, honey, orange juice and dried mint.


  • 2 Skin-on Salmon Fillets
  • 1 Orange
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Rose Harissa Paste
  • 1 Tbsp Honey
  • 1 Tsp Dried Mint
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • Sumac for Seasoning
  • Oil for Frying


  1. Zest the orange and then cut it in half and juice half of the orange and place the zest and juice in a medium bowl.
  2. Add the olive oil, rose harissa paste, honey, dried mint and half of the salt to the orange and mix it well.
  3. Dry the skin of the salmon well.
  4. Pour the marinade onto a shallow plate and then place the salmon fillets onto the marinade, skin side up. Carefully paint the sides of the salmon with a pastry brush taking care not to get too much marinade onto the skin.
  5. Transfer the salmon to the fridge and marinate for 30-60 minutes. Removing the fish 10-15 minutes before cooking.
  6. Heat a 28cm or 11" frying pan over a high-medium heat then pour enough oil into it to just cover the base. The oil should be hot but not shimmering or smoking hot!
  7. Season the salmon skin with the remaining salt and place it skin side down in the oil and cook on the skin side for 4-5 minutes.
  8. Flip the fish onto the flesh side and cook to your liking, a minimum of 60-90 seconds and a maximum of 4-5 minutes.
  9. Remove the fish and place it on a board to rest for a minute or so.
  10. Pour out the cooking oil from the pan into a bowl and discard.
  11. Scrape in any leftover marinade into the pan then using the residual heat in the pan to gently warm the marinade to form a sauce or dressing.
  12. Season the skin of the salmon with a pinch or two of sumac before serving.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 555Total Fat: 39gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 30gCholesterol: 95mgSodium: 1257mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 2gSugar: 15gProtein: 34g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!


Friday 1st of July 2022

That looks amazing! Do you eat the crisped salmon skin? It always looks so good but......?

Brian Jones

Monday 11th of July 2022

Absolutely crispy fish skin is both delicious and nutritious!


Tuesday 30th of May 2017

Oh, wow! This sounds so bright and flavorful! I really need to cook more salmon at home!

Brian Jones

Wednesday 31st of May 2017

Thanks Jenni, I don't cook it nearly often enough but that is because it is expensive and difficult to find :(

Lisa | Garlic & Zest

Tuesday 30th of May 2017

I don't care if its a salad or not, I want to dive right in! Fennel is such a unique and fresh flavor and the citrus really enhances it. But with the salmon and harissa - it's a flavor explosion. I love this and am having company for dinner this weekend. I think this should be on the menu. Would you think a sparkling rose or blanc de blanc to go with?

Brian Jones

Wednesday 31st of May 2017

How very exciting, hope they enjoy it as much as we do... As for wine something sparkling and pink would be perfect :)

Liz @ I Heart Vegetables

Tuesday 30th of May 2017

My parents and my husband all love salmon! I bet they'd enjoy this! I'm sure the harissa adds tons of flavor

Brian Jones

Wednesday 31st of May 2017

The harissa kinda holds it all together as a single dish and of course adds that wee hint of spice.

Katie | Healthy Seasonal Recipes

Tuesday 30th of May 2017

I'm not sure I would call it a salad, but who really needs to get caught up on details like that when it looks this good! I love the additions of rosewater and harissa!

Brian Jones

Wednesday 31st of May 2017

Cheers Katie, the rosewater adds such a lovely depth to the dish but is not overpowering.

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