Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Baked Walnut & Rosemary Encrusted Salmon with a Sesame Ginger Kale & Quinoa Leaf Salad



What a whirlwind the past week has been! First of all I want to thank all of you for your kind words and support regarding Adventures in Cooking's Saveur Best Food Blog Awards: Best Original Recipes nomination. Voting ends Friday so if you haven't voted yet, pop on over and take a look at all the beautiful blogs in the pool. I've been busy sprucing up the garden, doing some major spring cleaning, and just starting to pack for my first real vacation in a long while. I love traveling, but haven't gone outside of the state of California (other than home to Oregon to visit family) for a few years now, which has definitely begun to feel far too long as of late. But all that is about to change!! Yes, in a few short days I will be heading to the wonderful world of maple and organic farms that is the state of Vermont (or at least, what I know of Vermont).


This is going to be an amazing trip for two reasons. 1) I am going to finally meet in person the wonderful Carey of Reclaiming Provincial who I have befriended through the internet over the past several months and we will be taking the cities of Burlington and Montreal by storm. And 2) I am then heading down to the rural Vermont countryside to learn the intricacies of baking from the experts at King Arthur Flour's headquarters in Norwich for their 2013 Blog & Bake baking seminar.


So with all the preparation for my trip I haven't had a ton of time for cooking, which ended up being a good thing because it made me come up with this quick and easy little number. I needed a healthy and nourishing meal and I didn't want to spend more than 40 minutes from start to finish putting it together, and since salmon bakes so quickly I decided to give it a go. And I'm very glad I did. The ground walnut and rosemary coating crisped up in the oven, sealing in the juices of the salmon and creating a moist and flakey fish. And then I made it a little bit less healthy and a lot tastier by drizzling a bit of salted brown butter over each of the filets right before serving, which tasted like a warm, savory, nutty heaven.


For a bit of green, I tossed together a salad from my garden using quinoa leaves and red russian kale. I've never seen quinoa leaves for sale at any market, but you can read a bit about the insanity of their nutrition and calcium levels on the chart towards the middle of the page here. That site is also where I got my quinoa seeds, I highly recommend trying to grow them at home if you have a garden. They're very prolific and incredibly hardy once established. If you don't have access to any quinoa leaves, spinach is a solid substitute. I drizzled the leaves with a tart and zesty asian-inspired dressing made with ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce, lemon juice and vinegar for a bit of a tart kick. Altogether it made a pretty healthy and incredibly tasty meal. Something about that salty brown butter with the toasted walnuts, rosemary and salmon created an intensely rich and wonderfully savory flavor combination. It tasted like something that would cost $40 at a fancy restaurant, but you could make at home in under 40 minutes and for less than half the price! Now that is something worth celebrating.



Ingredients:

Baked Walnut & Rosemary Encrusted Salmon

2 lbs Salmon (2 filets at 1 lb each)
1 Cup Roughly Ground Walnuts,
1 Tablespoons Dried Rosemary
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
3 Tablespoons Salted Butter (brown butter)
2 Teaspoons Olive Oil

Sesame Ginger Kale & Quinoa Leaf Salad

1/2 Cup Quinoa Leaves (or Spinach)
2 Cups Kale Leaves, chopped (I used Red Russian Kale but any variety works)
3 Tablespoons Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1/2 Teaspoon Soy Sauce
1/2 Teaspoon Toasted Sesame Seeds
2 Teaspoons Grated Fresh Ginger Root


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a wide and shallow dish, mix together the walnuts, rosemary, salt, and black pepper. Set aside. Rub the salmon filets with the olive oil, then place them in the shallow dish with the walnut mixture, skin side up. Coat all exposed surfaces of the filet, except the skin, with the mixture and press gently to help the coating stick. Place the filets on a baking sheet lined with tin foil, skin side down. Bake for 10 minutes per inch of thickness (for example, my filets were 2 inches thick so I baked them for 20 minutes). Once done the fish should flake easily with a fork.


While the fish is baking, prepare the brown butter and salad. When browning the butter, it is best to use a stainless steel pan so that you can see the color of the butter change. Yes, I was bad and used a black one, but if you're doing this for the first time I highly recommend using a stainless steel one so you can see the color change more easily. Heat the butter in a small shallow frying pan over medium heat. Swirl the pan around a bit every couple minutes to help it cook evenly. Over a period of a several minutes, you'll notice the foam at the top of the butter start to change from light yellow to a dark tan. Once it reaches the dark tan stage and the butter looks light brown and golden, smell it. It should smell nutty and similar to toffee. Remove it from the heat and allow it to cool slightly.



To make the dressing, simply whisk together the sesame oil, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, lemon juice, and sesame seeds. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and set aside.


When the salmon is done, remove it from the oven and use a spatula to remove it from the tin foil and place it on the serving dish. The skin may be stuck to the tin foil and pull off the filet during this process, that's fine because we're not going to eat the skin so it can stay on the foil if it likes. Drizzle the brown butter over the fish filets on the serving tray. Serve with the salad on the side.





28 comments:

  1. You grow your own quinoa? That's seriously impressive! I don't think I've ever seen the leaves for sale - I may just have to try growing some in my own tiny little patch of garden!

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    1. I highly recommend it! They had about a 40% germination rate for me, but once they come out of the ground they grow incredibly quickly! So sow a few more seeds than you plan on actually keeping since not all of them actually germinate :)

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  2. This looks delicious! Great photography too...

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  3. Quinoa leaves!!! I never thought that even existed. I am ver curious to try it now and that salmon sounds perfect. Loving the crust.
    You hav fun in your trip. Carey's blog is beautiful and I love that girl :)

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    1. Thanks Kankana! I am so incredibly excited about it, we're going to have so much fun and eat so much good food :D Carey is the greatest, so excited to finally meet face to face! And I highly recommend starting a quinoa plant of your own if you have a small garden, they are very easy to maintain.

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  4. I don't know why I never thought of quinoa leaves! This looks fabulous. And love that plate you have :)

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    1. Thank you so much Kulsum! I love that plate too, sadly I have broken 2 of the 4 I originally had, so I am trying to preserve my last pair haha. And yes, definitely give quinoa leaves a try if you can find them, they're incredibly tasty!

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  5. SO EXCITED!! 8D I am going to make us some road trips snacks, and we are going to have the awesomest time. I also looked at a map to see where Norwich is (because I don't actually know where half the towns/cities in VT are), and I noticed that it looks like you'll be getting there via I-89. Which means if you have some time to take a very slight detour on the way over, we could caravan out to the best bakery in VT, which is just outside of Montpelier. We'll see! (Sometimes I get too excited and start making 1,001 plans.)

    And omg, quinoa leaves!!!! I want to eat that. Having a patch of quinoa greens sounds like a great idea, and is definitely going to be something to do when I have more garden space. (I've been so lazy about garden prep this year. I haven't even started any seeds — I need to do that asap.) And this fish sounds amazing. My mom has always been so good at baking fish, and I seem to mess it up every time I try it. But this recipe makes me want to strive to succeed. :)

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    1. Yes! I am ALWAYS ready for a bakery adventure. And I also tend to make an obscene amount of plans when I am traveling, so it'll be perfect!!

      I'm already all packed and left my house already, but if you want some seeds just let me know and I can mail them to you when I get back. I am kind of a seed hoarder so if there's any fruit/vegetable/flower you are thinking of growing there's a good chance I have those seeds or something similar :) And I always feel bad not using them because I simply don't have the space for 25 squash plants, so I would love to share!

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    2. Yay!! Oh man, you will love this bakery. It's owned by two of the coolest people ever, and they do all their baking in a little building on their property. They're only open to the public on Sundays, and it is my favorite place to be every weekend. (I will spend hours and hours there in the summer, eating way too much and ogling the gardens.) And I was thinking we could go to my friend's restaurant (http://www.miserylovescovt.com/) for dinner and drinks Saturday night, because they do an awesome job at both!

      Also, I'm so glad you're good at planning for trips, because I know next to nothing about places in Montreal! I do know that there's an Anthropologie store there, which their website told me right after I ordered two dresses. Derp. But I've been practicing my terrible Frenglish, so that should be...embarrassing. (Don't worry, I'll definitely wimp out and not even try to use it.) :D

      And that's so sweet of you to offer seeds! I'm the same way with hoarding them, but I think this might be the year that I'm running low on some stuff (after three years of gardening and giving away extra baby plants to anyone who will take them). I'll have to take stock of what I've got next week and see if I need to re-up on anything. I planted a lot of perennial cutting flowers in the planter boxes along the house last year, so I'm curious to see what comes back. The tulips and daffodils are just starting to bloom now, and that makes me happy. :)

      See you tomorrow!! Safe travels!

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  6. Another gorgeous recipe from you! Love walnut crust over salmon! Pinned! And congratulations on your nomination! You deserve it!

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    1. Thank you so very much Julia! Your kind words mean a lot :) And definitely give the recipe a try, it is so incredibly worth the small amount of effort it takes to make it. Probably one of the easiest things I've ever made on this blog, and so tasty!

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  7. You're coming to Vermont, and you're going to hang out with Carey?!? Oh my gosh, you girls have the best time, okay? Kevin made us cashew-crusted tilapia last week, and although I was initially skeptical, it was really good! Walnuts, rosemary, and salmon sound like they'd make a great flavor combination. I could get on the nuts and fish train!

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    1. Thanks Brianne!! I am so incredibly excited for this trip! It will be so amazing to get out of the state and see new people and places and things :D

      But let's talk about that cashew crusted tilapia. That sounds FANTASTIC. I have been eating a lot more fish lately, and that is going on the docket as one of my weekly dinners (aka I make a lot of something and then eat it for dinner all week long. Some people get bored of the same food a few days in a row but I never do as long as its tasty!) But yes, I was surprised at how incredibly nuts and fish tasted together, now I am going to have to try pairing different nut crusts with different fish! It will be the most delicious experiment ever undertaken.

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  8. stick a slab of chicken underneath that crust instead of salmon, and i'd be a happy gal. :)

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    1. Haha, I bet it would be delicious with chicken, too! Especially if you cut a little pocket in the breast and stuffed some of the nut mixture in there, as well! :)

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  9. Have a fantastic trip lady!!! Take lots of photos of the farms! This meal sounds absolutely perfect. Definitely making this soon!

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    1. Thanks Andrea!! I am totally ready to take a gazillion pictures, I have my camera all charged up and the card has been cleared, and I also brought along my film camera too! I am pretty sure I am going to end up taking a ridiculous amount of photos over the course of the next 5 days.

      And yes! Pacific northwest salmon would be perfect for this recipe, man I miss being able to get salmon for cheap up there. And by cheap I mean for free from my Uncle who would always catch them, smoke them, and then share the tasty salmon bits with us :)

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  10. Oooh don't you find out about Saveur tomorrow? Can't wait to hear!! Have fun at the King Arthur event :)

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    1. Yes I think so! I am really excited :D but just being nominated was amazing enough for me. I think if I actually won I'd die from a heart attack. And King Arthur Flour has been so much fun. I've learned so much about baking and flours and the science behind it all, I can't wait to apply it to the recipes here :D

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  11. Gotta try this SOON! I'm always looking for new ways to cook salmon (the only fish we eat at home).

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    1. This is a suuuper tasty salmon recipe. I highly recommend it!

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  12. I love your recipes! I've tried so many of them and they are great! This is one of my faves along with the pecan lamb recipe!! Thanks for sharing with us!

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    1. Thank you so much Andrea!! I am so glad you've been trying the recipes out and enjoying them! This is definitely one of my favorites, and so was that pecan encrusted rack of lamb. I think I need to start coating all things savory in nuts and then putting them in the oven for a bit, it's worked out quite well so far! :)

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  13. I look forward to the salmon recipe...it looks wonderful...Rudy

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