Toasting the spices in a dry fry pan before grinding intensifies their flavor. Keep a close eye on them and stir constantly so they don’t burn.
1 tsp. coriander seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1⁄2 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 salmon fillets, each 6 to 8 oz., with skin intact,
pin bones removed
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
Heat a small fry pan over medium-high heat. Put the coriander, cumin and fennel seeds in the pan and toast, stirring constantly, until golden brown and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the spices to a spice grinder or a mortar. Grind the spices using the grinder or a pestle. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the brown sugar and salt.
Place the salmon, skin side down, on a plate and rub the top of each fillet with the spice mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat an oven to 400°F.
In a large ovenproof fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil until almost smoking. Place the salmon, skin side up, in the pan and sear for 2 minutes. Carefully turn the salmon over and transfer the pan to the oven. Cook until the fish is golden brown underneath and the flesh is opaque throughout, 5 to 6 minutes.
Transfer the salmon to warmed plates and serve immediately. Serves 2.