I have to admit that Alex and I have been in something of a salmon rut recently. I know that Tyler Florence's Salt and Pepper Salmon is absolutely delicious, but that is no reason for it to be the only salmon recipe we cook. You have to mix it up every once in awhile. When I saw this recipe in the November issue of Bon Appetit I just knew this would be a good addition to our repertoire. The pumpkin seed-cilantro pesto both compliments and cuts the fattiness of the salmon. The pesto adds a really fresh and punchy element to the dish, with the flavor of the lime and cilantro. And the pumpkin seeds give the dish crunch, which contrasts nicely with the silky texture of the salmon. I would totally serve this salmon dish for guests - I think my parents would enjoy it and it's really easy to make. It would be a wonderful meal served with this Mache and Avocado Salad with Tortilla Strips and some simple grilled or roasted asparagus. If you had some pesto leftover you could probably lightly drizzle it over any leftover asparagus (although I probably wouldn't serve the pesto over both the salmon and the asparagus in one meal).
Recipe after the jump!
Pan-Seared Salmon with Pumpkin Seed-Cilantro Pesto
Adapted from Bon Appetit
1/4 cup evoo, plus 1 tsp, divided
1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/2 cup (firmly packed) cilantro leaves and stems
1/2 tsp cracked coriander seeds
1 small garlic clove, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon (or more) fresh lime juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 6-ounce salmon fillets (preferably wild)
1 lime, cut into 4 wedges (optional)
Pulse 6 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, cilantro, coriander seeds, and garlic in a food processor until coarsely chopped. With machine running, gradually add 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1/4 cup oil, then 1/4 cup water, blending until coarse purée forms. Season pesto to taste with salt, pepper, and more lime juice, if desired. We added another handful of cilantro leaves and some more lime juice because we thought the pepitas were dominating the pesto.
Heat remaining 1 teaspoon evoo in reserved skillet over medium heat. Season salmon fillets with salt and pepper. Add to skillet and cook until just opaque in center, 3-5 minutes per side (you might need to increase or decrease the cooking time depending on the thickness of your salmon fillets). Place fillets on plates. Spoon pesto over. Garnish with remaining pumpkin seeds.
Serve with lime wedges, if desired.