Monday, December 5, 2011

red pepper hazelnut salmon

I stumble across recipes everywhere, and I never know what's going to catch my eye and get me to take a second look at one. In this instance, I think that it was probably that this roasted salmon with red pepper hazelnut pesto came from someplace called the Thyme Cafe & Market. I know that's a pretty cutesy name, but I also kind of love it. And then the recipe was an interesting sounding salmon dish with roasted red peppers, which I had in abundance from the food co-op, and toasted hazelnuts, which sounded delicious. I was sold.

As it turns out, this was actually really similar to a couple of things that I made last year: romesco sauce and pesto trapanese. If you'll recall, I actually wasn't too crazy about either of them, but I guess I just wasn't ready to give up on the idea. Somehow, every time I read a recipe with the nuts and red peppers/tomatoes combo, I just can't resist making it.

I have to say that this variation was more to my liking than the other two, perhaps because it was paired with the fish. The smooth texture of the salmon helped combat the kind of gritty quality that all these sauces seem to have. It still wasn't a huge home run or anything, but tasted decent enough that I'll share the recipe-- but I think it's high time I learned my lesson and started avoiding this type of red pepper pesto, or whatever it is.

Red Pepper Hazelnut Salmon
adapted from the L.A. Times, Thyme Cafe & Market

3 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled and seeded (see previous post for instructions)
⅔ cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
¼ tsp salt, more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling over the salmon
¼ to ⅓ cup chopped chives
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets

Preheat the oven to 425˚.

Combine roasted peppers with hazelnuts, garlic, lemon zest and juice, cider vinegar, ¼ teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper in a blender, and mix. As the blender runs, drizzle in the olive oil. This forms the pesto, and can take more or less oil depending how thick you'd like your sauce to be. Season and mix in chopped chives.

Drizzle the salmon fillets with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake the fish in the oven until cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes for a thick piece, but potentially less if it's thinner. Serve with a large spoonful of the red pepper mixture over each fillet.

Or, you can throw it on some pasta if you like. It's not half bad, but like I said, I'm probably going to steer clear or these red pepper/nut thingies for awhile. They're just not my cup of tea.

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