Damn it feels good to be back in my kitchen! I know I already said that when I was sharing the recipe for asparagus with you, but it seems worth repeating. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’m super excited to be back home (I’ve never been ready for a holiday to end, not matter how long I’ve travelled for.) It just feels good to cook again.
For the past two and half weeks I’ve been wandering slowly around Belize and Guatemala. I say slowly because, especially in Belize, they walk slow. Really slow. Barely moving kind of slow. It’s my kind of pace. On Tobacco Caye, a tiny island off the coast of Belize that’s covered in white sand and palm trees and surrounded by corral reef, they’ve basically stopped moving. I spent three days there nearly at a standstill, only moving just enough to put on my fins and snorkel before floating in the water and to give the hammock I was resting in an occasional nudge.
Off the coast of Tobacco Caye Our fishing captain
Our place in Placencia, Belize Early evening from our back porch on Tobacco Caye
I was going to draw some sort of parallel between the pecan crusted salmon I just made and the red snapper and barracuda we were fishing for at Tobacco Caye. But trying to liken a plastic wrapped salmon fillet to a brightly coloured fish caught in turquoise water is a bit silly. Not that the salmon isn’t good (it’s delicious!) but it’s not the same as catching your own under the hot Belizean sun.
The pecan crust adds a rich, nutty flavour and crunchy texture to the salmon. Don’t skimp on the oil, it’ll help keep the salmon extra tender so it will melt in your mouth. You can make the topping ahead of time and keep it in your fridge until you are ready to use it; it will last a long time so go ahead and make extra to keep on hand till next time you make this recipe.
- 4 wild salmon fillets
- ½ cup toasted and very finely chopped pecans
- ½ cup panko (or regular breadcrumbs, in a pinch)
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 large pinch of salt
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Melt butter in a medium skillet. Add pecans, panko, parsley and salt and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Was salmon and remove scales from skin. Make 3 small cuts across the skin side to prevent the skin from shrinking when it cooks. Dry salmon thoroughly. Season the skin with salt and pepper.
- Working with the salmon skin side down, mound the pecan mixture evenly across each piece. Drizzle olive oil over the pecan mixture on the salmon and press firmly on the mixture so that it has good contact with the salmon.
- Heat a splash of olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the salmon, pecan crust side down. Cook for 2 minutes or until the pecan crust has browned.
- Flip the salmon over and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes, or until it light pink and flakes easily. Be careful not to overcook the salmon or it will become tough and chewy.