Monday, October 22, 2012

Panko Crusted Salmon

I'll be honest...I'm not a huge salmon fan, but it is so easy (and cheap) to cook that it makes me want to be! This recipe may have changed my feeling about America's favorite fish. Even though it was so simple and made with ingredients from my pantry, it felt very gourmet because of the cooking technique.

My sister, mom and I are obsessed with Ina Garten a.k.a. The Barefoot Contessa. Whenever there is that slight chance I am home early on a weekday, I always make sure to catch her show on the Food Network. If I am not lucky enough to, my mother will surely send me a recipe that she thinks I would like. This recipe came from her episode "How Easy Is That" and I couldn't think of a more fitting name!

I never would have imagined putting dijon mustard on salmon before. Call me crazy, but I don't picture the two together. I was shocked on first bite when the two absolutely went together perfectly. And the skin, oh the skin! Normally fish skin creeps me out and I end up pushing it to the side. Yet by pan searing it for a few minutes, it becomes this delicious crust that I know can't imagine living without.

My sister sent this recipe to me and called it the "perfect weeknight meal" and indeed it was. I made it on one  of those nights I really had no desire to cook (shocking, I know) and was trying to find something easy yet delicious. Turned out the boyfriend loved it so much, he told me I was no longer allowed to make salmon any other way. I'd consider that a successful weeknight dinner.

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook Time: around 20 minutes

Panko Crusted Salmon
Serves 4

  • 2/3 cup panko (Japanese dried bread flakes)
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 4 (6- to 8-ounce) salmon fillets, skin on
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the panko, parsley, lemon zest, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Drizzle with the olive oil and stir until the crumbs are evenly coated. Set aside.
  3. Place the salmon fillets, skin side down, on a board. Generously brush the top of the fillets with mustard and then sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Press the panko mixture thickly on top of the mustard on each salmon fillet. The mustard will help the panko adhere.
  4. Heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or large heavy, ovenproof pan. When the oil is very hot, add the salmon fillets, skin side down, and sear for 3 to 4 minutes, without turning, to brown the skin.
  5. Transfer the pan to the hot oven for 5 to 7 minutes until the salmon is almost cooked and the panko is browned. Remove from the oven, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
  6. Serve the salmon hot or at room temperature with lemon wedges.

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