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Salmon with Pumpkin Seed Pesto

Posted Dec 01 2011 8:55am

The deconstructed green bean casserole wasn’t the only thing I enjoyed over Thanksgiving week. With my parents visiting from Michigan, I knew I wanted to cook dinner one night. My mom reads my blog daily and would have been super disappointed had I not had the chance to cook!


I knew we’d be having a ton of rich, heavy foods during the holiday, so I wanted something light for dinner. What better than seafood? This meal also gave me an excuse to visit Bob’s Seafood . I’d heard a lot about the quality and freshness of Bob’s fish and seeing as the store is literally half a mile from work, I had to get there sooner or later.

I took my parents along and picked up a few salmon fillets. The selection was amazing though, and I can’t wait to go back for shrimp, tilapia, and all the seafood I’ve never tried before (there’s lots!).

This recipe from Bon Appétit is what inspired me to make salmon, though I ended up switching pesto recipes at the last minute. The original recipe calls for a cilantro-pesto, but my mom hates cilantro (you either love it or hate it, right?), so I found a different pesto and got to work.


Pan-Seared Salmon with Pumpkin Seed Pesto
(inspired by Bon Appétit , adapted from Country Living )
(serves 4)

  • 4 fresh salmon fillets
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup coarsely-chopped, fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

    You’ll want to make the pesto before the salmon. Combine the seeds, Parm, and garlic in a food processor and pulse until the seeds are finely ground. This should take less than a minute. Add the basil, parsley, and lemon juice and pulse. While the machine is running, add in the olive oil until just incorporated. When all combined, set aside.

    The salmon is easy. Season with salt and pepper and heat a tablespoon of oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Cook the salmon until just opaque in the center, about 3-4 minutes per side. You definitely don’t want to overcook, so be careful. They should be flakey but still hold that beautiful coloring! Also, do what you like with the skin. It falls right off after cooking, and some people eat it!


    Spoon the pesto over the salmon. We served it with salad and goat cheese and brown butter mashed potatoes (see below). The pesto works incredibly well with the fish – you can almost feel all those omega-3’s bouncing around on your tongue :)


    These were big salmon.

    IMG_6211 IMG_6208

    I mentioned above the goat cheese and brown butter mashed potatoes. I used this recipe from Simply Recipes and they turned out deliciously. I’ve been loving brown butter recently (I won’t let you forget the pie !) and it really added a depth of flavor to these potatoes. Plus, I love the goat cheese aspect!


    Question: Do you like salmon? Hate it? Just kind of…meh?

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