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panko-crusted salmon

May 19, 2011
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I have a bit of a thing for salmon. There are family legends about how obsessed with it I was when I was little. Overall, I’m not a huge fan of fish, but salmon is soooo delicious.

The problem is, my mom doesn’t like any fish at all—especially not the way it smells up her kitchen—so we don’t eat it too often, at least not until my dad can start grilling stuff in the summer *outside* the kitchen. So when my mom left before my dad to go visit the little brother in New Zealand, I knew what I’d have to do.

I wanted a simple, light-ish recipe to go with that spring veggie pasta; I’m usually not one for recipes with less than, oh, eleventy-billion steps, but when you’re already dealing with multiple pots on the stove, you gotta do what you gotta do.

Usually, when my dad makes salmon, he sprinkles this magical red fish spice mix over it, which adds a little bit of yummy heat to the fish. But I obviously can’t do what everybody else is doing because I’m a rebel, so I decided to go with a recipe I’d recently come across on Annie’s Eats.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure why Annie was gushing over this recipe when I first saw it; I mean, it’s pretty straightforward, right? [Here’s where my complicated-recipe snobbery comes in.] Just some crumbs, mustard, and lemon. But ohhh man, it was good. Everything was balanced just right—the crunchy topping, the smooth fish, the bit of the lemon, the slight warmth of the mustard. As Chris said, it has the perfect amount of lemon (aren’t our palates getting so sophisticated???//). If I made salmon more often than I do, this would probably become my go-to recipe. *drool*

Panko-Crusted Salmon
2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3-4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 6-8 oz. salmon fillets, skin on
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard [give or take—I pretty much just spread it on straight from the bottle, so do whatever looks right to you]

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the panko, parsley, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and toss with a fork until the crumbs are evenly coated; set aside.
2. Place the salmon fillets skin side down on a work surface. Generously brush the top of each fillet with mustard and then season with salt and pepper. Press the panko mixture thickly on top of the mustard on each fillet to help the panko adhere.
3. Heat the remaining olive oil over medium-high heat in a 12-inch oven-safe skillet. When the oil is hot, add the salmon fillets, skin side down, and sear for 3-4 minutes without turning to brown the skin.
4. Transfer the pan to the preheated oven for 5-7 minutes [I had really thick fillets, so I think I wound up at probably more like 12-14 minutes], until the salmon is almost cooked through and the panko is browned. Remove from the oven, cover with foil, and let rest 5-10 minutes. Serve warm with fresh lemon wedges.

Source: Annie’s Eats

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