Herb Crusted Salmon with Fresh Veggies Recipe
I really enjoy eating fish, but that wasn't' always the case. Most of what I'd had growing up was either too dry or underdone. Fried shrimp was as close as I'd gotten to a satisfying fish meal.
But that changed when my future husband began cooking fish for me. Through his careful handling and light touch with seasoning, I discovered that "meat from the sea" can taste amazing. And one of the first varieties he cooked for me was salmon.
Since then I've broiled, sauteed, grilled and baked salmon, usually with nothing more on top than a little oil and black pepper. But I took on a new challenge recently: making a crust for the fish that's full of flavor but not heavy.
A couple of questions guided me: which herbs would compliment the salmon without overpowering it, and was there a way to use healthier ingredients so that the crust would add nutrition as well as taste?
First, some facts about salmon. It's a nutrition powerhouse!
Amount Per 4 oz Serving
helps the body absorb calcium
works to maintain body tissue and manufacture antibodies
Vitamin B (3 & 12)
aids in converting food into energy; works in the formation of red blood cells
Omega 3 fats
offers protection from heart disease, helps in producing blood clots
assists in regulating heart and nerve functions
Where Salmon Is Caught
Wild salmon is fished in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, but there is also a "land-locked variety" that stay in lakes rather than migrate to salt water. Commercial and leisure fishermen catch salmon in places as diverse as Alaska, Japan, Russia and Northern Europe.
Hatcheries, or salmon farms, raise the fish until they are able to be independent, then release them into local rivers. This effort has increased the amount of salmon available to meet consumer demand.
Note: Concern has been expressed in publications like the journal Science and reports by the Food & Drug Administration that the level of non-natural pollutants in farm-raised salmon is higher than wild. The general recommendations include either cutting off or cooking off as much of the fatty portions as possible, since that is where the fish absorb the chemicals.
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Tips For Buying Salmon
Keep these things in mind when you're at the local fish department:
Whole fish should be covered in ice.
Fillets and steaks can be kept on top of ice.
Buy a piece directly from the display rather than pre-packaged.
Check for freshness by smelling the fish - if the scent is "off" or too fishy, ask for another.
Alaskan salmon has been rated highly for quality and taste.
Ideas For The Meal
The choices for crust ingredients are almost endless. There are certain herbs that work better with salmon than others, but it really comes down to your own taste preferences.
Herbs that go with salmon
I combined parsley (either flat leaf or curly is fine) and chives - their mild onion flavor adds a little bite.
Methods of cooking the fish
- Brown on stove, finish in oven
I chose to bake mine to keep the oil content down.
Things to make the crust from
- italian bread crumbs
- panko crumbs
- pine or macadamia nuts
I used whole grain bread crumbs and almonds.
To get the freshest veggies, find out what's in season. Then, you can buy from local farmers - more and more grocery stores feature produce that's grown nearby. Eggplant, broccoli and squash, the vegetables in my recipe, are part of the Fall crop.
One of my favorite ways to cook broccoli is to blanch it, which means to pop it into boiling water for about a minute. The florets stay crisp and retain their nutrients. Put the broccoli right into a bowl of ice water after blanching and it will hold its beautiful green color.
- 1 lb salmon fillet
- 1 slice whole grain bread, ground into small crumbs
- 1/4 cup almonds, ground
- 2 tbsp parsley, chopped fine
- 2 tbsp chives, minced
- 2 tsp + 1 tbsp canola oil
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp fresh lemon zest
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 small eggplant
- 1 small zucchini squash
- 1 cup broccoli florets, chopped
- To prepare the fish: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Mix up the crumbs, almonds, herbs and 2 tsp canola oil. Rinse the salmon and pat it dry. Place the fish skin side down into a baking pan. Drizzle the 1 tbsp of canola oil over the top. Spread the almond herb mixture on to cover the top of the fillet. Let the fish sit for about 10 minutes in the fridge, then bake for 15 minutes.
- To prepare the vegetables: Peel and cut the eggplant into cubes, sprinkle lightly with salt and let it drain for 15 minutes. Peel and cut the squash. Heat up 2 tbsp canola oil in a saute pan. Cook the eggplant and squash for about 7-10 minutes, until they are tender.
- Chop the broccoli florets into bite-sized pieces. Heat about 1/2 cup of water to in a cooking pan. When it reaches boiling, put the broccoli in. Cover, and let it boil for about 1 minute, then remove from heat to continue steaming for another minute.
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