Monday, 26 May 2014

Oven-roasted salmon with a mustard and herbs crust

Oven- roasted salmon with a mustard and herbs crust

As I have already said in a previous post, I think that cooking fish and making a tasty and healthy dinner may be very easy - of course if we do not aspire to replicate or even create a dish that can be found in starred restaurants. The following recipe is a valuable proof of this statement.
The recipe is my interpretation of one by the British TV cook and cook-books writer Lorraine Pascale: the combination of Dijon mustard and brown sugar originally inspired me, mainly because probably I would have never chosen these two ingredients, together with breadcrumbs, lime zest, fresh herbs and more, for topping a piece of salmon fillet before baking it in the oven. But the mix worked so well that, after some trials made according to the original recipe, I wanted to add my own touch, making these changes:

  • I substituted dry breadcrumbs for panko breadcrumbs, which is a variety of airy, flaky breadcrumb used in Japanese cuisine for coating fried foods; the lighter texture of these variety of breadcrumbs allows to use a smaller quantity in the recipe
  • instead of parsley- that in my opinion is an herb with a too neutral flavor - i used fresh thyme leaves which add a peculiar, yet delicate, taste to the dish
I am so happy with the final result that I recommend to try both my and Lorraine's versions before making your own preference: moreover fish is healthy and we should eat it more frequently; salmon in particular is rich in nutrients that are very helpful to our well-being, from high quality proteins, to omega-3 fatty acids, to vitamin D and more. And salmon is very easy to find, even in supermarkets.
Considering how easy and fast this recipe is, and considering also that the combination of flavor is all but ordinary, this dish is perfect for a weekday family meal as well as for a dinner with guests.

Oven- roasted salmon with a mustard and herbs crust

Oven- roasted salmon with a mustard and herbs crust

inspired by Lorraine Pascale's "Home Cooking Made Easy"
serves 4
4x150 g salmon fillets, preferably without skin
80 g panko breadcrumbs (or 100 g dry breadcrumbs)
1.5 tbsp soft brown sugar
zest of 2-3 limes
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
knob of butter
3 - 4 tbsp fresh thyme leaves (alternatively 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan mode.
In a small bowl, mix the panko breadcrumbs (or the regular breadcrumbs), sugar, lime zest, mustard and thyme (or parsley) together, pepper and salt; add the melted butter and mix so that breadcrumbs absorb it.
Place the salmon fillets in an ovenproof dish.  Divide the topping between the four salmon fillets and press well on top.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes depending on the salmon thickness and your doneness preference.
Serve on warmed plates with potatoes and veggies: I like to serve with roasted or mashed potatoes, flavored with thyme leaves and sauted mushroom (or steamed broccoli or asparagus).
Notes
- the quantity of crust may seem excessive for coating four salmon fillets, but I recommend to use it all: a thick topping keeps the fish moist and creates a crunchy layer which perfectly contrast with the tenderness of the underlying flesh
-salt and pepper are left to your personal taste; as for me, since mustard already contains salt, I add just a little bit of salt (about 1/4 heaped tsp)


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