Adventures of the Heart
Mary Zalmanek
Entrees: Pesto-Crusted Salmon

When I started making this recipe years ago, I always made my own pesto. Then a chef at a fine restaurant told me store-bought pesto provides a perfectly acceptable shortcut. When my fabulous friend Debbie Robertson, who is an amazing gardener, gave me some basil, I went back to the old way. I'll give you the original recipe and two short cuts to make this tasty dish in half the time.

Serves 2

Original Recipe

1/4 cup bread crumbs (gluten-free bread crumbs will do), divided
1 tbsp pine nuts
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 cups fresh basil, lightly packed
3 tbsp olive oil
3/4 lb salmon fillet

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tbsp dry white wine
2 tbsp cold butter
Salt and white pepper to taste

Reserve 1 tbsp bread crumbs for topping. Put remainder of bread crumbs, pine nuts, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse. Add basil and process until smooth. Continue processing and add 3 tbsp olive oil in a small stream.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray small baking pan with cooking oil. Put salmon on oiled pan and season with salt and pepper. Spread thin layer of pesto evenly over top of salmon. Top with reserved bread crumbs. Bake 8 to 15 minutes depending on thickness of fish. Test for doneness with a fork. It should just start to flake and still have a slight bright orange translucence in the center. It will continue to cook after you take it from the oven.

To make the sauce, cook the orange juice over medium-high heat until it's reduced by half. Add the wine and simmer for a few seconds. Whisk in butter. Season with salt and white pepper.

Place the fish on individual plates, and ladle the orange sauce around it.

Time-saving recipeĀ using prepared pesto and orange marmalade:

1 tbsp bread crumbs (may substitute pine nuts for topping)
1/4 cup prepared pesto
3/4 lb salmon fillet

1/4 cup orange marmalade
1 tbsp dry white wine
2 tbsp cold butter
Salt and white pepper to taste

Skip making the pesto and open a jar instead. Bake the fish as directed above.

Skip squeezing the oranges and reducing the juice by half. Heat the orange marmalade, then add the wine and butter as directed above.