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Easy Baked Salmon with Lemon Pesto & Feta



Mood: Sexy

Cost: Cheap

Difficulty: Easy

Rating: XXXX
The Tease
This is a simple yet tasty concoction I conjured up while visiting a Greek family in Toronto. It's very easy to do, yet still impressive, which makes it perfect for the novice cook. Don't be afraid of all the ingredients and instructions-- this dish has the first time cook in mind.

Time To Cook:
• Novice cook: 50 minutes
• Experienced cook: 25 minutes
Factoid



Ingredients
• Two 1/2-pound pieces of fresh, wild salmon fillets with the skin removed.

• 1 packet (6-8 oz) of crumbled feta cheese

Lemon Pesto
• 3/4 cup of walnuts

• 1 bunch of basil

• 1 bunch of Italian parsley

• 3–5 cloves of cleaned fresh garlic

• 1 cup of extra-virgin olive oil

• 1 tablespoon of fresh, cracked pepper

• Zest of 1 lemon (more on this later)

• Juice of 1 lemon (more on this later)

• Kosher salt to taste




Equipment
• Cast iron pan or non-stick pan

• Hand blender, Cuisinart or blender

• Baking sheet

• Citrus zester

• Don't forget your measuring spoons and cups!

Preparation (Do it!)
LEMON PESTO

1) Roasting the walnuts is optional, but adds a great nutty flavor. To roast walnuts, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees and then bake them on a cookie sheet for 7-12 minutes. Check on them regularly to make sure they don't burn. If they do, you must start over. There’s no rescuing burnt nuts.

2) Take the leaves off HALF of the basil bunch and HALF of the Italian parsley and add them to a hand blender, blender or mini Cuisinart. With the parsley, you only need to chop off the major stems at the root of the herbs.

3) Add the garlic, nuts, pepper, lemon zest and a pinch of salt to the blender. To clean the garlic, you’ll need to take the skin off. Pull the cloves from the head of garlic and smash each individual clove (not too hard) with the palm of your hand. Remove the skin and gather the exposed meat. Next you’ll need to zest your lemon. Zesting is grating the skin of a citrus fruit. You can use a citrus zester or a cheese grater. Scrape the lemon along the grater, rotating until you’ve removed most of the skin. Add the zest (skin) to the blender.

4) Add the extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice to the blender.

5) Blend all of the ingredients together until a thick paste is created.

6) Season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed.

THE SALMON

1) Pre-heat your oven to 450˚F

2) Take your fish out and inspect it for any bones. Pull them out. Pat the fish dry with a paper towel if needed.

3) Spray your baking sheet with cooking spray.

4) Place the fish on the baking sheet and place 3 tablespoons of pesto on top of each fillet.

5) Pat the pesto in place by hand. Make sure the layer of pesto is even and covers the top of the salmon completely. Generously sprinkle feta over each salmon piece.

6) Bake for 10 – 12 minutes, (10 minutes for a 1 inch thick fillet and 10-12 minutes for a 1 1/2 inch fillet.) The fish should appear opaque (not clear) when done.



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