A common complaint when cooking with lean meats is the lack of flavor. When the fat is removed, the cooking process can make the protein dry. Thankfully, because the majority of the fat found in salmon is of the healthy unsaturated variety, we can leave it there and STILL consider it good for you. In fact, the unsaturated fat is one of the most nutritious parts. Salmon is also packed with protein, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and flavor, therefore easily earning a spot on the list of my favorite dinners.
Up until now, I have NEVER prepared salmon myself. With my mother being a picky eater growing up, if it wasn't swiss steak or chicken, it wasn't on the table. Plus the fish scales were intimidating. Only at restaurants or outings was I able to indulge. Yet, after this successful attempt, its presence will be made more frequently (especially when found on sale, like it was this weekend).
Ingredients: 1 lb Salmon Filet, 1/2 cup whole wheat Panko Crumbs, 1/2 cup crushed pecans, 1/4 cup Dijon Mustard, 1/2 teaspoon Parsley Flakes, 1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1. Turn your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and let it heat up while you do the prep. Get an oven safe dish or cooking sheet ready, and line it with aluminum foil. To be safe, add a spritz of cooking spray to prevent the fish from sticking.
2. The first part of the recipe is the hardest - cutting the salmon filet. You could take the skin off first with a sharp knife, however I left it on too keep in some of the moisture. If you remove the skin you run the risk of leaving some of your salmon on the foil when done. I will admit, after scoring the flesh of the fish with a knife, I thoroughly cleaned a pair of good scissors and used them to separate the salmon into 3 to 4 ounce portions. Much easier this way.
3. Once into 3 to 4oz separate pieces, take the Dijon Mustard and distribute it evenly on the fish.
4. For the crumb mixture, first crush the pecans. I took a plastic bag then used my hand to break the halves into tiny pieces. You purchase pecans already crushed, but it is a healthy way to get aggression out. Next add the Panko bread crumbs, parsley flakes and black pepper. Mix all together.
5. Place the crumb mixture on top of the salmon, and throw it in the oven for 18 to 20 minutes.
6. When done, you will have a crunchy topping that nicely compliments the buttery yet flaky texture of the fish. If you want, serve with a fresh lemon. Enjoy!
Pair it with one of the vegetable recipes, such as the roasted broccoli or Brussels sprouts - or a nice glass of wine :-)