Monday, March 8, 2010

Panko-crusted Salmon

A couple of days of almost 50 F has just enough energy to melt most of the current snow cover and inspire thoughts of spring, although I'm not going to put the sweaters out of reach just yet. Stowing the car's snow brush back into the recesses of the garage would certainly bring flurries. During the warm-weather outdoor cooking months I have a particularly fond way of preparing certain things, like smoking some wings or grilling some beer-soaked brats. Come May through October, there might be only one or two salmon dishes that are not Cedar-planked salmon. It's just so damn good, no opportunity gets passed up. And this year I'm armed with some new planks from the Chief, the days of indoor roasting or pan-frying are thankfully dwindling.

Adjectives like easy, quick, tasty and healthy are hard to find in one fork or spoonful, but you got that with this oven-roasted salmon. You can find panko breadcrumbs anywhere now, a must try if you've never done so. The crumbs are light and crunchy, lending a great texture contrast to the salmon. A good pour would be something with acidity to pull through the rich, fatty fish, my choice was a Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc. A wide range of whites and reds can be prepared with salmon, from Pinot to Chardonnay to Riesling and even sparkling. Drink what you like.

Panko-Crusted Salmon

2 salmon steaks, about 6 oz, 3/4" thick
2 ts EVOO
1 TB good mustard of your liking-stone-ground, spicy brown, honey-mustard, or Dijon
1 ts fresh thyme, finely chopped (or 1/2 dried)
1/2 panko breadcrumbs
1/2 ts smoked Hungarian sweet paprika
1 TB flat leaf parsley, chopped

Fire up the hotbox to 400 F, set the rack in the middle of oven. In a small bowl combine the mustard and half the thyme. In another small bowl, mix the panko with the remaining 1 teaspoon of thyme, olive oil, parsley, and paprika. Add a smidgen of salt and pepper. Spread the mustard mixture evenly over each steak, then the panko mixture.

Roast for about 10-12 minutes, when done the flesh will be flaky and firm. Top with a slice of lemon and a couple wedges. A green salad would round out things nicely, please do enjoy. Thanks for the lemons right off the tree in AZ!

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