Pesto Marinated and Herby Seeded Breadcrumb Crusted Salmon
Pesto and herbed breadcrumbs are a constant staple in our house. I batch cook both every few weeks so that I can pull together a super fancy meal in a snap. They jazz up a plain piece of fish or chicken in no time — simply layer over the fish, bake and Hey P(r)esto — gourmet dinner done!
Adding pesto to a dish is also a great way to incorporate the nutrients from fresh herbs (Basil contains antioxidants great for the immune system) and the Pumpkin Seeds themselves are rich in Magnesium, Zinc and Omega-3s. And since we’re talking of Omega-3s, Salmon has to get the winners medal! It is an excellent source of good quality protein and is very nutritionally dense, rich in vitamins and minerals. It is high in anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting Essential Omega 3 fats. These fats help keep our brains, heart and joints healthy. We should aim to include oily fish into our diet at least twice a week, and when it’s as delicious as this, there’s no excuses!
Cheats tip: If you don’t have time to make fresh pesto — a shop bought jar still does the trick!
· 2 Fillets of Organic or Wild Salmon
· 1–2 tbsp Pesto
· 3 tbsp Herbed Breadcrumbs
For the Pesto (Makes 160ml)
· 1–2 Garlic Cloves (I like to use smoked garlic when I can find it)
· 70g Fresh Basil leaves and stalks
· 30g Rocket Leaves
· 50g Pumpkin Seeds
· 40g Parmesan cheese — finely grated
· 150ml Toasted Pumpkin Seed Oil (or any good quality Olive Oil), plus more for storing in a glass jar
· 1.5 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
· Zest of 1 Lemon and juice from ½ lemon
· Himalayan Salt
· Fresh Black Pepper
· Optional — Chilli Flakes to taste
For the Breadcrumbs (store in an airtight jar in the fridge)
· 2 slices Seeded Wholegrain (or gluten free) bread
· 1 tsp Dried Rosemary
· 1 tsp Dried Sage
· 1 tsp Dried Thyme
· 1 tbsp Pumpkin Seeds
· 1 tbsp Sunflower Seeds
· 1 tbsp Grated Parmesan — Optional
· 1 tbsp Melted Butter
· Pinch of Salt
· Fresh Black Pepper
For the Pesto
· In a blender, whizz the garlic and pumpkin seeds together to a paste — you may need to add a little of the oil to help the blades to puree the mixture.
· NOTE — I like to have a little texture in the pesto so I avoid blending it so much that it becomes a smooth puree.
· Add half of the oil, lemon zest, lemon juice and the apple cider vinegar and blitz.
· Only now add the basil & rocket leaves — this way, the pesto keeps it’s lovely green colour and doesn’t go brown like it does if you add the leaves at the beginning.
· Add the finely grated cheese to the blender, then gradually pour in the remaining oil. It might need thinning with some water or more oil if desired.
· Season well with salt, pepper and chilli flakes if using.
· Mix well.
· Store in a sterilised airtight glass container in the fridge or portion some out to keep in the freezer.
For the Breadrumbs
· Toast the bread until dark golden and crispy.
· Put all of the ingredients apart from the butter and the parmesan into the blender and blitz until medium sized breadcrumbs are made. Don’t overdo it otherwise they will turn into a flour — you still want some texture to it.
· In a bowl, add the grates parmesan and melted butter to the breadcrumbs and combine well.
To cook the Salmon
· Pre heat oven to 180 degrees.
· Place the salmon fillets on a roasting tray.
· Smother each fillet with ½ tbsp pesto and 1½ tbsp breadcrumbs.
· When the oven is hot, bake uncovered for 12–15 minutes, making sure it is cooked through.
· Serving suggestion: Serve on a bed of pesto courgette noodles and enjoy!