Broiled Salmon with Pesto

Hello all!  It’s been far too long since my last post, but I’m determined to catch up with telling you about all the delicious meals I’ve made this year.  Today, I’m writing about one of my favorite ways to cook salmon.  I love pan-searing it so that the skin gets crispy and delicious, but during the school year, that became too messy and too much work.  I tried broiling salmon because it’s hands-off, you can make multiple portions at once, and the leftovers come already in a dish that can be refrigerated.  So without further ado, here’s how I made pesto broiled salmon.

It all starts with a gorgeous piece of salmon.  I buy fish here in Charlottesville from my local fish monger at Seafood at West Main.  He’s been so helpful with suggesting new, exciting fish for me to try and different cooking techniques.

The salmon gets cut into portions and then smothered with your favorite pesto.  I love pesto made with any herbs, but my favorite is definitely basil pesto.  In Charlottesville, I can buy great basil or pre-made pesto from Planet Earth Diversified Farms where herbs and other produce are grown sustainably all year round.  Here’s prep pictures from the two most recent times I made pesto broiled salmon, each time using a different kind of pesto (notice the slightly different color of the herbs):

prepped salmon spread with basil pesto and greased with olive oil

prepped salmon spread with parsley pesto and greased with bacon fat

Also notice that the bottom of the baking dish is oiled or buttered or greased with whatever type of fat you might use.  The most effective way I’ve found of getting the dish ready was to actually stick the dish with olive oil or bacon fat (for delicious flavor!) in a hot oven for a few minutes first, while I was getting the salmon ready, so that the bottom of the fish started cooking and crisping right away.  Otherwise, the fish cooks from the top down when it’s broiled, so this can help it cooking a bit more evenly.

The final step is to place the dish in the oven with the broiler on and to wait about 5 minutes.  I don’t recall exactly how long these particular pieces of salmon took to broil, but I believe it was somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes.  Just start checking and testing it with a fork once the salmon is opaque  on the outside.  I end up digging into the top to see whether the middle is still translucent.  Because it cooks so quickly and because you can leave the middle more rare if you like, I’ve found that this method of cooking leaves the fish incredibly moist and tender.  I think succulent might be the perfect term!

Here’s my finished meal.  You can see that I cut open the salmon a little at the thickest part to check how it was cooking.  If you need to do that, just save that piece for yourself and serve your family and guests the pretty pieces!  I served my salmon with a spinach, pepper, and avocado salad, and I squeezed lemon onto the top of the fish and into the salad dressing.  Enjoy!

One Response to “Broiled Salmon with Pesto”
  1. Nana and Pop-Pop says:

    This looks and sounds delicious! We have salmon at least once a week Sometimes we top it with a horseradish-cream sauce or sometimes with a mango salsa. Never thought of trying pesto. It will be next on our menu.

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