Here’s another take on salmon. I’ve been reading a lot of French cooking lately, so felt inspired to try creating a recipe of my own. I’ve also been seeing recipes with salmon and nuts. I first think of hazelnuts as pairing with a white fish, but decided to see how they’d go with salmon and I think it worked. (My husband seems to agree as he gave this dish a 10 out of 10!) I tried to keep the fish simple, but couldn’t resist a sauce. I love sauces and feel I’ve made a good meal when I get the sauce right. Now, this salmon is healthy and low-fat without the sauce, but I couldn’t resist a modified beurre blanc, which is not entirely low-fat. So, if you want to keep the fat down, leave out the sauce and just make the salmon, which was fine on its own or do what I did, and just use a little bit of sauce (and don’t admit how many times you went back to the pan to “taste” the sauce…I do have an obligation to all you readers to be sure it tastes right, right?)
30 minutes (1 hour when I made it with mashed potatoes and broccoli)
1 lb salmon fillets, skin on
1/2 cup whole hazelnuts
3 tbsp grated Parmesan
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tbsp hazelnut oil (or olive oil)
1 small shallot
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
4-6 tbsp butter
fine sea salt
freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Remove salmon from fridge to come to room temperature.
-Roast hazelnuts until they smell toasty and the skins begin to crack, 8-10 minutes. Meanwhile, zest lemon and divide the zest in half. To one half of the zest, add 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and combine. Set aside.
-When the nuts are done, reduce heat to 350 degrees for cooking the salmon later, let nuts cool a bit and then rub to partially remove the skins. You don’t have to be perfect about this, just get some of the loose skins off and leave the rest. Put the hazelnuts in a small food processor and pulse to about a bread crumb consistency. Remove nuts to a bowl and combine with the thyme leaves, the grated Parmesan, 1/2 tsp salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper. Add hazelnut or olive oil, stir to combine and set aside.
-Rub the salmon with the lemon zest and salt and pepper mixture. Put a large frying pan on medium-high heat and heat for 1 minute. Add the olive oil and heat for another minute or until the oil is shiny in the pan-you want to get a nice sear on the fish so be sure your pan is hot! When the pan is ready, put in the salmon-skin side up. Sear for 1-2 minutes. You should be able to shake the pan and have the fish move, if not, gently loosen the fish and flip over to have the skin side down. Cook for another minute, then remove from heat and carefully spoon the hazenut mixture onto the fish, then spread it around to cover, pressing a bit to make a crust. Put in oven to finish cooking, 10-15 minutes.
-Make your sauce by putting a saute pan on medium-high heat. Add the shallots, the other half of your zest, the juice from one half of the lemon, the white wine and 1/2 tsp salt. Boil until reduced by half. Add the stock and reduce by half again. You’ll end up with about 1/4 to 1/2 cup liquid in the pan when reduced enough. Then turn off the heat and whisk in your butter, 1 tbsp at a time. Keep tasting the sauce. I wanted to try and reduce the butter in this, but wasn’t happy with the flavor after 4 tbsp, so added more until I got the flavor I wanted. After 6 tbsp, I added 1 tsp orange zest and a little more salt. Taste your sauce and when ready, serve in a small pool under each fillet of salmon.