Salmon is always one of my go to quick dinners. Like a little black dress, it can be dressed up or down and is infinitely variable. The ease with which it takes to various treatments makes it an all time favorite. For this recipe a pocket it opened in the salmon and stuffed, then topped with cheesy breadcrumbs, baked briefly and it is ready to serve. To make it even better, it can be done the morning ahead of serving. Especially nice if you are entertaining or need dinner in a hurry.
Salmon, in the markets, can be farm raised or wild. While the wild is generally touted to be better, I sure wouldn’t forego salmon if farm raised is your choice or all you can get. With either one, just make sure it is fresh. It should be firm and bright without a fishy smell.
I have included my favorite pesto recipe because I believe it is superior to those on the grocery shelf because it is fresh. This summer I decided to grown basil as it is always so expensive. I over did it and have so much basil I don’t know what to do with it. I will be making a lot of pesto to freeze for the winter when it can be enjoyed myriad ways.
3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature (can be 1/3 less fat)
2 tablespoons sour cream (can be light)
3/4 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon pesto* (bought or made, see recipe below)
4 – 5 to 6 ounce salmon fillet
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Spray the foil with cooking spray. Cut a 3/4 inch deep slit about 3/4 inches from each end of the fillets, making a pocket for the pesto mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Divide the mixture equally among the 4 fillets, filling each slit.
2/3 cups fresh breadcrumbs
1/3 cup grated sharp asiago cheese
3 tablespoons butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake until opaque in center of salmon 14 minutes to 18 minutes, depending upon the size of the fillets.
* Pesto – Please see Goat Cheese Pesto Tart for how to photos.
2 1/2 ounces basil leaves
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
2 medium cloves garlic
Scant 1/2 cup grated parmesan or asiago cheese
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
Pull the leaves off the basil stems. You should have about 1 1/2 cups. Place all but the oil in the bowl of a food processor. Process to chop finely. Add the olive oil down the feedtube while the processor is running. Use only enough oil to make a thick paste.
Yield: Approximately 10 tablespoons. Drop leftovers by tablespoons onto waxed paper. Freeze; store in a freezer bag or container.