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Pepita Encrusted Salmon

Posted on: July 8th, 2013

Now that fresh Alaska salmon is in season and we can eat it as often as we like, a lot of us are looking for some new recipes.  Here is a personal favorite with a fabulous crusted top of delicious (and nutrition packed) pumpkin seeds – enjoy in good health!  – mick

Keep in mind this needs to cook quickly to brown the topping without overcooking the fish

In The Oven
This recipe works great in the oven or on the grill. In the oven, roast in the top of your oven with the convection fan on for the best browning, check early to be sure the crust does not over-brown, and that the salmon does not cook over 140° internal (I like mine removed at about 120-125° internal). Quick cooking in the top of a hot oven is key, browning the topping before the fish gets overcooked. A reliable meat thermometer is strongly suggested with this, or any recipe.

This dish also works great on the grill, but needs a little more attention. Two great methods follow, keep in mind grills vary a great deal and require closer attention.

Indirect Grill
Place prepared salmon on a low-sided pan you don’t mind being on the grill.  Preheat grill to 450°, turn flame off on one side of the grill, add salmon over the OFF burner, close the lid and cook as desired. Conditions vary, approximately 15 minute cook time

Cedar Plank Grill
A great technique that adds a light smoky flavor to foods on the gas grill. Soak plank for several hours, preferably all day (or overnight won’t hurt). Preheat a medium to medium high grill. Place prepared salmon on the soaked plank, move to preheated grill, close lid and cook as desired. Check regularly and if the edges of the board start to flame, douse with a water bottle. Conditions vary, approximately 20 minute cook time.

This dish pairs beautifully with rice, salad or potatoes – especially my Jalapeno Mashed Potatoes

Pepita Crusted Salmon Recipe

3-4 boneless salmon fillets, or a 2-pound fillet
3/4 cup pepitas, separated (roasted and salted pumpkin seeds – available at Tony’s)
1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
pinches of: marjoram, chili powder, red and black pepper
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
3 tsp mayonnaise, aoli, mustard or one well-beaten egg white

Preheat oven to 450 degrees (or prepare grill, notes above)

Chop 1/4 cup of the pepitas in a food processor or blender to a breadcrumb consistency. Blend with remaining pepitas and panko. Season to taste and drizzle with 2 TBS olive oil, tossing to coat crumbs evenly with oil.

Skin salmon if desired. Lay a sheet of parchment paper on a jellyroll pan or cookie sheet, mist with oil and arrange salmon fillets on top. Brush the top of each fillet with ½ to 1 teaspoon of mayonnaise (aioli or mustard can be used if you like – or beat an egg white until thick and frothy).

Spoon crumbs on top of salmon fillets – coat with a heavy layer, and pack into place gently. There should be enough crumbs for 3-4 salmon fillets.

Roast in the top of a 425-450° oven, convection fan on (or grilling tips above) to an internal temperature of 120-140° internal – about 6-8 minutes. Remove and rest for 5 minutes before serving. Serves about 4 – Chef Mick (Michaelangelo) Rosacci, www.TonysMarket.com — www.TonyRosacciCatering.com

Pepita Encrusted Salmon paired with brown rice pilaf and a bean sprout and fresh fruit slaw


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