Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Salmon with green pesto and parmesan crust

As a Greek, and especially a Greek who comes from an island (Milos for those who are curious) I learnt to swim (or at least float!) before I learnt how to walk and tried my first fish well before I first talked. While a great variety of fish can be found in the Greek islands, there are some that I would have never discovered if I hadn't left my country. One of them being my beloved salmon.

Although nowadays salmon is widely available, the Greeks' obsession with only cooking fish by grilling it (or baking it whole in the oven) with just olive oil and lemon, can sometimes prove disastrous. The only time I had tried it in Greece, it was (over)cooked plain as it was (with nada, maybe just a minuscule amount of salt) in the oven, which resulted in a total mess of a pinky-coloured shoe-sole. Hence my distrust of salmon and a resolution to never have it again in Greece. However, when I moved to the UK I discovered a whole new salmony world, waiting to be eaten in cuisines from Japanese to Indian, and have been a devoted fan ever since.

Along with teriyaki-style sauces, this is my other favourite way of having salmon. Simple sometimes is best, and although this implies the mixing of a few ingredients, it's a very quick dish that I love making after a long day at work, and the best thing is that it can cook while I'm taking a shower! I had found this recipe by Delia a long time ago, and have adapted it many times and in many different ways, finally finding the perfect version for me. I recommend it with some roast potatoes (see below for my quick and easy favourite!) but it works equally well with a rocket, parmesan and pine nut salad (drizzle with some olive oil and lemon and add some freshly ground black pepper on top).

Salmon with pesto and parmesan crust
Source: Adapted from Delia Smith

Serves 2

  • 2 salmon fillets, skinned
  • 2-3 tbsp grated Parmesan
  • 2 tbsp fresh green pesto
  • The juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs (I used dried Panko Japanese breadcrumbs, which I swear by)
  • Pinch of sea salt 
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

For the potatoes

  • 400-500gr baby new potatoes, peeled and cut in 1-3 chunks each
  • A few glugs of olive oil
  • Pinch of salt (Roast potatoes become amazing with black lava salt, which I get from Whole Foods)
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp rosemary or other dried herbs (I love using ASDA's Tuscan style rub)

Preheat the oven to 230°C. Place the cut potatoes in a baking tray with a few good glugs of olive oil, and season with salt, pepper and the herbs. Cook for 35-40 min, stirring them around a few times. 

In the meantime, place the fillets on a lightly oiled baking tray and give each one a good squeeze of lemon juice and a seasoning of salt and pepper.

Next, give the pesto a good stir and measure 2 tablespoons into a small bowl, mix one-third of the breadcrumbs with it to form a paste and spread this over both fish fillets. Then, mix half the cheese with the remaining breadcrumbs and scatter this over the pesto, then finish off with the remaining cheese.

After the potatoes have been baking for 25-30 minutes, place the baking tray with the salmon on the middle or top shelf of the oven (move the potatoes to a lower shelf) and cook for 10 minutes, by which time the top should be golden brown and crispy and the salmon just cooked and moist and the potatoes ready.


Anonymous said...

That looks tasty!

Master Pei said...

Sure looks amazing. Now you made me hungry. Very hungry -.-

Venetia said...

It indeed is tasty! And it's so simple to make as well!

Mary said...

I love salmon as well and this looks your blog and look forward to coming back.

vincent said...


We bumped into your blog and we really liked it - great recipes YUM YUM.
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Venetia said...

Thanks guys, it's always nice to know there's people out there reading, especially since this is a very "young" blog!

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