We’ve touched on canned salmon previously here on the site, but haven’t yet given any ideas on what to do with that fresh Chinook that you just pulled out of the mouth of the Kalama. Of course, if you’re Uncle John, you’re not so concerned with cooking it – he loves to catch them, but isn’t so keen on eating them (which is great for us and other friends that don’t have so much time for fishing). If you’re one of those that do enjoy eating fresh salmon, why not give this recipe a try.
- 1 good-sized wild-caught salmon fillet around 1-1/2 to 2 lbs. If you have one from the store that was previously frozen, make sure it’s fully thawed.
- 1 cup loose fresh basil leaves (about one of the larger-size packages of fresh leaves at the store, or from your own plant at home)
- 1/4 cup pine nuts (why are these so expensive!?)
- 3~4 cloves garlic, peeled and ends trimmed off
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- juice of 1/4 lemon (about 1 tbsp)
- 3/4 tsp ground white pepper
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
Warm up the grill (or oven) to 400 degrees – use indirect heat for grilling. Start by dropping everything (except the salmon) into the bowl of a small food processor. If you don’t have one, a blender will work. If you don’t have one of those…well…you better be very patient and very fastidious with your chopping skills (or go get a blender or food processor).
Blend it up well so you get a nice creamy green paste with a little chunkiness left. Add more basil as needed to achieve a little more green than I’ve got here (I started with about 1/2 cup basil leaves, but then adjusted up to about a cup after this photo – if you start with one of those packages from the store you should be set). Make sure to scrape the sides to get any large pieces of leaves down in the mix.
Spread the pesto paste over the entire top of the fillet. If you have any leftover, eat it with a spoon. Or save it in the fridge for up to a couple of days (it is awesome on an omelette with leftover salmon). Just don’t waste it. Those pine nuts are pricey…
If cooking on the grill, place the skin directly on the grate. If using the oven, place on a baking dish (foil is optional – I only used it when removing from the grill to not dirty a dish). Cook for 15~20 minutes until the thickest meat is just flaky with a fork but still moist. Serve with a side salad, some roasted veggies, or anything else you’d like. Enjoy!