Coconut Pecan Crusted Salmon

WIN_20151028_183841This isn’t your average Tuesday night dinner, friends. This is dinner dressed in its Sunday best! Sockeye salmon is the real deal, with a wallop of heart healthy Omega-3s and flavors induced by the cold, wild waters of Alaska. Sockeye salmon is NOT the same as “Atlantic salmon”, which is code for farmed salmon raised is crowded conditions and often fed artificial colors to turn the flesh pink. No thanks. Instead of grabbing the lower priced Atlantic salmon, I wait. And wait. And wait. Eventually, Sockeye salmon goes on sale – for about the same price as Atlantic salmon. When this happens, I buy several pounds at a time – it freezes well.

Sockeye salmon is special all by itself, but we’re making it extra fancy today with a crust of coconut and pecans. If you’ve never done this, don’t be intimidated by the idea of a crust. There’s really nothing to it! The preparation is as simple as spooning a crumbly mixture on top of your fish fillet and gently patting it down with your fingers. Seriously – that’s all. Let’s get started!

WIN_20151028_173148Ingredients (Serves 6)

1 large sockeye salmon fillet (approximately 1.5 pounds)

1 lemon or orange

1/2 cup pecans

1/2 cup flaked coconut

1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

Step 1) Slice lemon or orange into 1/4 inch thick rings, and place rings one inch apart on a baking sheet with shallow sides. Place your salmon fillet, skin side down, on top of the fruit rings. This will prevent your salmon fillet from sticking to the baking sheet.

Step 2) Combine pecans, coconut, and salt in a small food processor or blender. Pulse until the mixture has a texture like coarse sand. Don’t get carried away – you want some texture, not a smooth paste.

[My favorite small, affordable food processor: Englewood NJ100 Red Ninja Express Chop]

WIN_20151028_175326Step 3) Use a teaspoon (nothing larger) to carefully spoon the mixture along the center of your salmon fillet. Try not to let the mixture roll off of the salmon and onto the baking sheet. If that happens, remove as much of the coconut-pecan mixture as you can from the surface of the baking sheet, and place it on top of the salmon where it belongs!

WIN_20151028_175437Step 4) Using your fingertips, gently spread the coconut-pecan mixture toward the edges of the salmon fillet, creating an even crust over the entire surface of the salmon (it’s OK to leave a very small edge uncoated).

Step 5) Carefully place your baking sheet in a preheated 375 degree oven. Bake your Coconut Pecan Crusted Salmon for 20 – 30 minutes, or until salmon flakes easily.

Step 6) To serve: I like to bring the salmon fillet to the dinner table right on the baking sheet, surrounded with roasted vegetables (roasted green beans are pictured above). It is very easy to cut slices from the salmon fillet to serve your family or dinner guests. Enjoy!

 

Lime Basil Salmon

WIN_20150719_204146Who wants to cook all day when it’s gorgeous outside? Not us. Moving into late summer, we’re all about fast, healthy food here at Crowded Earth Kitchen. Today we have a super easy, nutritious dinner for you! All you need are 25 minutes and 4 ingredients… ready… set… GO!

Ingredients (Serves 4)

4 salmon fillets (4 – 6 ounces each)

1 lime, sliced very thin

1 tablespoon sugar

8 basil leaves, sliced into thin shreds

WIN_20150719_195331Directions

Step 1) Grease a baking pan with shallow sides. Place 4 lime slices on the bottom of the pan (these add flavor and will help keep your fish from sticking to the pan).

Step 2) Place a salmon fillet on top of each lime slice on the baking pan. Fish fillets should not be touching each other.

Step 3) Dip one side of remaining lime slices in sugar. Place lime slices, sugar side down, on top of salmon.

Step 4) Bake salmon in a preheated 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Top with basil shreds and serve immediately.

Smoked Salmon BLT Salad

WIN_20150420_142745Cold and crisp meals can be delightful, particularly in summertime. This hearty salad makes a filling, high protein lunch. Add a cup of gazpacho and a fruity dessert, and you’ve got a complete dinner packed full of vitamins. What could be better?

WIN_20150420_142238Ingredients (Makes 2 main dish salads)

1 head of Romaine lettuce, washed

1 large, ripe tomato, chopped

2 slices of bacon, diced

8 ounces of smoked salmon, broken into bite size chunksWIN_20150420_140847

1 cup of light sour cream

1 teaspoon taco seasoning mix

Directions

Step 1) Fry bacon until crispy. Drain on paper towel and set aside.

WIN_20150420_141047Step 2) Tear Romaine lettuce into bite size pieces and spread over two serving plates. Top with chopped tomato.

Step 3) Stir taco seasoning mix into light sour cream and blend until well combined. Scoop mixture into a plastic sandwich bag, and cut off one corner of the bag to create a small opening. Squeeze mixture through WIN_20150420_142130the small opening in this “homemade pastry bag” to make a decorative zig-zag of dressing over each salad plate.

Step 4) Top each salad with smoked salmon and crispy bacon. Serve immediately.

 

Wild Salmon with Broiled Oranges

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If you have only a few minutes to make yourself some lunch, you could microwave one of those soulless frozen entrees in a little plastic tray, or you could make Wild Salmon with Broiled Oranges.  If you opt for the wealth of vitamins, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids in this recipe, you’ll need to invest about $4 and six minutes of your life.  Ready?

Ingredients (makes 1 quick lunch)

1 teaspoon coconut oil

4 ounces of wild-caught salmon

Freshly ground black pepper

5 or 6 fresh orange segments, white membranes removed

2 generous cups fresh baby spinach

1 tablespoon orange marmalade

picture630Directions

Step 1) Turn your oven broiler to a high setting.  We’ll use the hot oven in just a moment.

Step 2) Melt coconut oil in an oven-safe sauté pan over low heat.  We’re using coconut oil because of its high smoke point; it’s much safer and healthier under a picture631broiler than, say, olive oil.

Step 3) When pan is coated with melted coconut oil, add salmon fillet to pan and sear on high heat for about 20 seconds.  Flip the salmon fillet and sear the other side for 20 seconds.  Remove pan from heat.

Step 4) Season the salmon with freshly ground black pepper, and top with orange segments.  Make sure the white membranes are removed, because we want the natural sugars inside the orange segments exposed to the heat of the broiler!

Step 5) Place your oven-safe sauté pan, salmon, and oranges under the broiler.  The oven rack should be high, so that the pan is close to the broiler.

picture632Step 6) Broil your salmon and oranges for approximately 5 minutes.  Peek in the oven every minute, to make sure your oranges don’t burn.  When your meal is ready, the oranges will be just barely singed around the edges – you should see little flecks of dark color.

Step 7) Remove your sauté pan from the oven.  Arrange baby spinach leaves on a serving plate and drizzle with orange marmalade.  Set your salmon and oranges in the center of the spinach, and enjoy your quick and nutritious gourmet lunch!

Wild Salmon in Parchment Hearts

Shown served with Whole Wheat Molasses Bread and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc!

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In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, there is a lot to love about this meal.  First, wild salmon is a heart healthy delicacy with which Crowded Earth Kitchen recommends indulging as often as your budget allows.  Baked on a bed of fresh baby spinach, dressed with a bit of citrus, and served with a delicious whole wheat bread (see 2/11/14 post), this meal is a nutritional superstar.  Second, baking with parchment is the perfect combination of “really easy but looks complicated,” which makes it a perfect technique for impressing your guests without inducing a pre-dinner, kitchen meltdown.

You need exactly five items to prepare this fabulous entrée.  That’s right, five.  It’s that easy.    Have fun, and let me know how your dinner turns out!

Ingredients (serves 2)

2 Wild Salmon fillets, skinned, 6 ounces each

4 cups fresh baby spinach

1 organic orange

Coarse ground black pepper

Parchment paper

Procedure

picture176Step 1) Tear two rectangles from your roll of parchment paper, approximately 14 inches long.  Fold them in half, and trace a half heart shape on the paper, as shown.  Cut out your parchment hearts.

If you’ve never worked with parchment before, it’s sold right next to plastic wrap and aluminum foil.

picture181Step 2) Open your parchment hearts and anchor them onto your work surface, so they don’t curl up (annoying!) as you are layering your ingredients.  I find that salt and pepper shakers are just the right size for this.

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picture182Step 3) Place two cups of fresh baby spinach on one half of each parchment heart.  It’s OK if the spinach overlaps the center of the heart a bit, but leave 2 inches of empty space around the edge.  You’ll need that space later!

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picture183Step 4) Place a Wild Salmon fillet over the center of each spinach bed.   Sprinkle with coarse ground pepper, and top with two slices of orange.  Now comes the fun part!

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picture184Step 5) Fold your empty heart half over the “stuffed” half, and begin sealing the edges by folding them tightly two or three times.  If you’d like, you may staple the fold, but count the staples (hint:  use the same number for each serving) and either remove or warn your dinner partner before serving!

picture190Step 6) Place filled parchment hearts on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated, 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.  After baking, carefully cut an X shape in the top of each parchment to allow steam to escape.  The steam will curl the edges back, making a lovely presentation!

Happy Valentine’s Day!