Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Recipe #282: Sesame-Crusted Salmon

For Christmas, my aunt gifted me with a subscription to a fabulous magazine, Cooks Illustrated.  Here's my first attempt at making one of their recipes, and it was perfect (although I modified amounts a little). The amounts listed below are how I made the dish.  So juicy and flavorful!


1/2 cup sesame seeds
2 6-8oz skinless salmon fillets (I used ones with skin and it turned out fine)
1-2 scallions, white parts minced, green parts sliced thin
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest plus 2 teaspoons juice
4 teaspoons tahini
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon vegetable oil


Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.  Dissolve 5 tablespoons salt in 2 quarts of water (I put this in a 9x13 casserole dish).  Transfer 1 cup brine to bowl, stir in sesame seeds, and let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes.  Submerge fillets in remaining brine and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Drain seeds and place in 12-inch nonstick skillet.  Cook seeds over medium heat, stirring constantly, until golden brown, 2-4 minutes.  Transfer seeds to a plate and wipe out skillet with paper towels.  Remove fillets from brine and pat dry.

Place scallion whites and lemon zest on cutting board and chop until whites and zest are finely minced and well combined.  Transfer scallion-zest mixture to bowl and stir in lemon juice, tahini, ginger, cayenne, and 1/8 teaspoon salt.

Evenly distribute half of paste over bottoms of fillets.  Press coated sides of fillets in seeds and transfer, seed side down, to a plate.  Evenly distribute remaining paste over tops of fillets and coat with remaining seeds.

Heat oil in now-empty skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Place fillets in skillet, skin(ned) side up, and reduce heat to medium-low.  Cook until seeds begin to brown, about 2 minutes.  Remove skillet from heat and carefully flip fillets over.  Transfer skillet to oven.  Bake until center of fish is translucent, 10-15 minutes (15 for my 8 oz fillets worked well).  Transfer to serving platter and let rest for 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with scallion greens and serve.

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