Friday, June 24, 2011

Pesto Parmesan-Crusted Salmon

Pesto Parmesan-Crusted Salmon - made June 19, 2011 from The Most Decadent Diet Ever by Devin Alexander (book #130)

Summer bounty of basil

I've mentioned before that my basil plants are growing like crazy.  I suspect I'll be saying that a lot throughout the summer, right before I post about something I cooked with it.  And I'm pretty much going to use basil in whatever I cook, whether the recipe calls for it or not or else I'll never be able to keep up with the crop.  Plus, honestly, there's just something satisfying about harvesting the basil leaves, cooking with it and eating it mere hours or less later.  Now I understand why people garden.  I snipped off what I thought were a ton of basil leaves, trying to de-nude the plants and give myself some breathing room before they run rampant again.  I ended up with almost 60 grams of basil leaves or a very large, packed cupful.  Despite that, it was hard for me to tell that I'd actually trimmed the plants down much.  I did leave some of the medium to small-sized leaves but I got all of the large ones.  They'll probably spring back to size in the next few days, lol. (ETA: sure enough, 5 days after I made the pesto, my basil plants look the same as before I harvested the leaves for this recipe - ah, summer bounty.)

I took some liberties with this recipe to make it low carb and a more traditional pesto but I credit Devin Alexander for giving me the inspiration on how to dress up some salmon so I'm posting her recipe for anyone who wants to make it as she intended.  For mine, I left off the slice of whole wheat bread, added 1/8 cup of olive oil, omitted pine nuts traditionally found in pesto recipes and added enough chicken broth to make it enough of a paste to coat the salmon (about 1/8 cup plus 1 tablespoon of chicken broth).  I didn't forget the Parmesan cheese like last time either.

Half my basil patch before I harvested a bunch of the leaves for this recipe
Olive oil spray
Four 3 ½-ounce skinless salmon fillets, bones removed
Salt and pepper
1 slice whole-wheat bread
14 medium fresh basil leaves
1 medium garlic clove
1 tablespoon grated reduced-fat Parmesan cheese

1.     Preheat the oven to 400F. 
2.     Lightly mist a small nonstick baking sheet with spray.
3.     Season both sides of the salmon fillets with salt and pepper to taste.
4.     Tear the bread into large pieces and put it in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a chopping blade.  Add the basil, garlic, and Parmesan.  Process until minced about 1 minute.
5.     Transfer to a sheet of waxed paper.  Place one fillet on the crumbs, so the side that had the skin is face up.  Press it into the crumbs to coat the bottom only.  Flip it and place it on the prepared baking sheet, crumb side up.
6.     Repeat with the remaining 3 fillets, coating them and then placing them side by side, not touching, on the sheet.  If crumbs remain, spoon them among the fillets, and then press them on.
7.     Bake, uncovered, for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the fillets are pale pink throughout.  Serve immediately.


  1. Great recipe. I love Parmesan cheese and this is such a clever way to taste all its goodness!
    I recently wrote an article on how real Parmesan cheese is made and on its nutritional value. Check it out and let me know your thoughts, I would really appreciated it!


    Mike @TheIronYou

  2. thanks for linking this in to Food on Friday. Have a fantabulous weekend!