Hamed Allahyari cooks to connect—for that joyful moment you can say “salamati” (Farsi for “health” and “cheers”) around the table. The food of his native Tehran is a resonant and delicious gift, and a way of staying bonded to a country he hasn’t returned to for a decade.
Hamed’s food is anchored in tradition but accessible to all. The recipes are simple, celebratory, appealing, flexible, and full of flavour. As well as working as a chef and caterer, Hamed has road-tested his dishes at hundreds of cooking classes: he melds Persian culinary culture and an understanding of Western palates to create recipes that are truly his—and now ours to share.
Beyond the recipes, Salamati is a gateway to Persia. “It’s sharing my culture,” says Hamed. “It’s my dream that everyone tries Persian food. And with my food, they come into my family. They are sitting with me, with my grandparents, parents, and cousins, talking, sharing, and enjoying the feeling of being together.”
Sheet-Pan Saffron Salmon
There are lots of typical Iranian dishes in this chapter. This is not one of them! I invented this dish for my Australian friends and I love it, too. It’s a Western idea but with Persian flavours, such as saffron and pomegranate molasses.
There’s lots of lemon juice in this dish but you can adjust it to your own taste. I have to admit that I eat lemons like normal people eat oranges—you might not be quite as much of a lemon lover as I am.
Persian cooks would lean towards serving this dish with rice but you could just as easily cook it alongside a pan of potatoes. Fish and potatoes are a great combination.
Prep time: 10 minutes + 30 minutes marinating time
Cook time: 40 minutes
½ garlic bulb, cloves peeled
2 teaspoons salt
Zest and juice of 1 ½ lemons
4 x 8 oz (225 g) skin-on salmon fillets
1 x quantity Saffron Liquid
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 ½ tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup (65 g) tahini
¼ cup (50 ml) pomegranate molasses
Chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves, to serve
Ground sumac, to serve
Pomegranate arils, to serve
Place the garlic, salt, and lemon zest in a mortar and use the pestle to pound the ingredients to a paste.
Place the salmon in a dish and spread the garlic paste over the top. Combine half the lemon juice, the saffron liquid, black pepper, and olive oil in a small jug, then pour the mixture over the salmon. Set aside to marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Transfer the salmon to the prepared pan and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until just cooked through.
Meanwhile, combine the remaining lemon juice, the tahini, and ⅓ cup (80 ml) warm water in a small bowl.
Place the salmon on a serving dish and drizzle with the lemony tahini and pomegranate molasses. Scatter parsley, sumac, and pomegranate arils over the salmon and serve.
If you’d like to serve this dish with roasted potatoes, toss some chopped potatoes in olive oil and roast in the oven for 40-45 minutes.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Interlink Books.