From the June 1995 Food & Wine Magazine, an article titled "Salmon: Born to be Wild?"
This recipe has become a standard on our table - simple, fast, and elegant. It is great for a formal dinner for guests or just for us.
In this recipe we will walk you though preparation of the pesto. However, we normally keep home-made pesto on hand in small containers in the freezer. And, if you don't want to make the pesto yourself, you can buy prepared pesto in the refrigerated section in most grocery stores.
If you have pesto on hand, combine it with the bread crumbs and bacon in the food processor in the first step.
We normally buy about 3/4 pound of salmon for two people (6 ounces each) and prepare the fillets with the skin on. We don't use individual fillets, preferring to buy a whole piece of salmon to meet our needs, we divide portions after cooking. If you live in the Glen Ellyn area, buy your salmon from McCowan's Seafood for the freshest salmon and the friendliest service.
This recipe is for 6 servings. Adjust to your needs.
Fresh salmon fillets - about 2 1/4 pounds 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup plain, dry bread crumbs 2 strips lean bacon, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons pine nuts 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves 1 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400F.
In a food processor, combine the basil, bread crumbs, bacon, pine nuts, Parmesan, and garlic and finely chop With the machine on, add the olive oil in a steady stream until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the pesto mixture evenly on the flesh side of the salmon fillet..
Heat on moderately high either a griddle or oven safe skillet that is large enough to easily hold the salmon fillet. Place the fillet, pesto side down, and cook until the pesto is well browned. This will normally take at least 2 minutes. Then carefully turn over the fillet and place the skillet in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until the salmon is just cooked through. Do not overcook!
We will often prepare this on our Weber grill. With the gas on high, we heat a griddle, and when very hot, place the salmon on the griddle, pesto down, until browned. Then we turn it over and close the top of the grill to finish cooking.
We normally serve this with a rich Chardonnay. Michel-Schlumberger, from the Dry Creek Valley of California is our favorite.