Baked Pacific King Salmon with Pistachio Crust

Living in Vancouver, BC means access to great, fresh seafood — my favourite ingredient to cook with. Every summer, I am fortunate enough to go fishing with my friends on Vancouver Island. This particular piece of filet was caught with my own two hands!

In this particular recipe, I used some Pacific Spring Salmon (or “King Salmon”) which is a soft, oily fish and full of Omega-3 oils. It’s very tasty and suitable for poaching, grilling, and BBQ’ing. In this recipe, I will be using a fast-grill bake method and a delicious pistachio coating.

Keep reading to learn more:

Preheat oven to 450F

Serves 2

Approximate prep & cook time: 30 minutes

You will need:

  • Frying pan (cast iron preferred)
  • Baking sheet

Ingredients:

Fish filet

  • Spring salmon filet (approx. 1 lb.)
  • 1/4 cup crushed pistachio nuts
  • 1 tsp French dijon mustard
  • Pinch kosher salt & fresh ground pepper

Sauce to accompany

  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (salted butter will be way too salty!)
  • 1/4 cup marsala wine (alternative: sherry or white wine)
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 small sweet potato or yam, diced
  • 1/4 red pepper diced
  • 8-10 nicoise olives, diced
  • 1/4 sweet yellow onion, diced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • Handful of chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley (note: this parsley has flavour. There are parsleys that are simply decorative and will do nothing if you cook with them.)
  • 1/2 tsp lemon or lime juice
  • Salt & ground pepper to taste

Putting things together:

*NOTE: DO NOT USE A TEFLON / NON-STICK PAN. USE CAST IRON OR ALL-CLAD*

Grilling and coating the fish:

  1. Sprinkle kosher salt & ground pepper on both sides of your filet
  2. Season your pan (heat up the pan on very high heat. Pour 2 tablepoons of Canola/vegetable oil onto the pan. Don’t be afraid! The oil will begin to smoke a little. That’s OK – we want it to be HOT HOT HOT!)
  3. Use tongs and sear each side of your filet in the hot pan for 30 seconds on each side (when you are finished you can turn the pan to low-medium heat as you will be using the pan again immediately to create your sauce)
  4. Immediately place your filet on the baking sheet
  5. Spread French dijon mustard on the “meaty” side of the filet (there are two sides: a side with skin, and a side without skin. Do this on the side with no skin) and then coat this side generously with crushed pistachio
  6. Put the fish, with the coating, into the preheated 450F oven immediately. As a rule of thumb, your timing will be: 5 minutes for every 1″ thickness

Making the marsala wine sauce:

  1. In your low-medium hot pan, sautee your shallots and garlic for approximately 1 minute. Add: diced sweet yellow onion, diced red pepper, and diced sweet potato. Turn the heat up to medium and let these ingredients cook for five minutes (KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR FISH! Don’t overcook it!)
  2. Remove contents of your pan (sauteed veggies) and put aside
  3. Turn the heat to HIGH and pour in: chicken stock & marsala wine. Reduce this amount in half. Turn off the heat.
  4. Whisk in your 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, and add salt/pepper to taste, adding lemon juice while whisking
  5. Re-add your sauteed vegetables and diced tomato (remember: you haven’t yet cooked the tomato. You only want to cook it a little bit, otherwise it will be mushy), diced nicoise olives, and handful of chopped parsley
  6. Use a large tablespoon to scoop the vegetables onto a plate to serve, with fish on top

Voila! Dinner is ready!

Note: Do not use Atlantic Salmon. This type of salmon is always farmed and is filled with chemicals. Atlantic Salmon is not my preferred fish — when you go the market, ask for wild coho, Sockeye salmon, or Spring Salmon!

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