[CHALLENGE] Cooking with Cat: Salmon with Mandarin-Habanero Glaze and Couscous

Arctic Char with Habanero Glaze and Couscous, Cat Cora

What’s a habanero? And what’s cilantro? We got all these answered after Chef Cat Cora very graciously showed us how to whip up one of her signature dishes: Salmon with Mandarin-Habanero Glaze & Meyer Lemon Couscous with cilantro.  

Serves 4

Mandarin-Habanero Glaze

Juice of fresh mandarins, about 4 cups total
2 cups red wine vinegar
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
½ habanero chili, chopped
Pinch of kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Step 1: For the glaze, pour mandarin juice into a medium saucepan and cook over high heat, until reduced to 3/4 cup, stirring occasionally. While the juice is reducing, combine vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan and cook until also reduced by about half. Add the reduced mandarin juice and habanero to the reduced vinegar mixture and stir to combine. Puree all together in a blender until smooth and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Allow to cool to room temperature before using.

For the Salmon:

4 (6-ounce) fillets salmon, skin removed
1 tablespoons extra virgin green olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Step 2: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Step 3: Brush fish fillets on both sides with oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat a large, oven-safe nonstick saute pan over high heat, add the fish, and cook until golden brown on one side, about 2 minutes. Brush with the glaze, turn over, and continue cooking (on the stovetop or in the oven) for 3 to 4 minutes or until just cooked through. Brush with more of the glaze and remove from the heat.

Meyer Lemon Sauce (to be drizzled over salmon later)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small
Spanish onion (yellow onion), rough chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 cups homemade clam broth
½ cup  juice from 2 Meyer lemons
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
Handful of fresh cilantro leaves, roughly torn
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Step 4: Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the clam broth and cook for 15 minutes. Strain the mixture and return to the saucepan, stir in the lemon juice and bring to a simmer. Whisk in the butter & cilantro. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Keep warm.


2 cups water or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup instant couscous
1 tablespoon zest from Meyer lemons

Step 5: Bring water or stock and salt to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in the couscous, cover the pot, remove from the heat, and let sit 5 to 10 minutes or until the water is absorbed and couscous is tender. Remove the lid of the pot, fluff the couscous with a fork and stir in the zest.

Step 6: Plate everything according to your fancy. Drizzle a layer of the Meyer Lemon Sauce on your salmon and serve with a light salad. Et Voila, a healthy and yummy dish.



Kosher salt: salt with a much larger grain size than regular salt and doesn’t contain additives. Great for seasoning but not so much for baking, because it doesn’t dissolve as well as regular table salt.
Habaneros – are a type of chili that’s known for its heat. A suitable substitute is the jalapeno, which has less heat.
Cilantro – more commonly known here as coriander.


If you’re not up for cooking up a storm in your kitchen, sink your teeth into Chef Cat’s creations at Ocean Restaurant by Cat Cora today. Call 6577 6869 for reservations and enquiries.

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