Gluten Free Pesto Crusted Salmon

Gluten Free Pesto Crusted Salmon

I hate pesto (pine nuts and basil are just disgusting). I don’t really like salmon either (it’s way too fishy). But for some reason I love this dish. Go figure. Mama CC has been making this for years so I guess I just got used to it. Luckily it is super easy to make and always a crowd pleaser.

We served this for Easter dinner with several friends joining us, hence the size, but the recipe can be easily scaled down to individual filet portions. If you were to scale this recipe down for smaller cuts of salmon, just keep the 2:1:1 ratio of pesto:breadcrumbs:cheese and you should be fine.

Gluten Free Pesto Crusted Salmon (adapted from Mama CC)

  • 1 large salmon fillet , or several smaller filets (we used a 3 pound fillet)
  • 1 cup pesto
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, divided (I used Kinnikinnick Gluten Free Panko Style Crumbs)
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • juice of 2 lemon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Pre-heat oven to 450F/230C. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with tinfoil and lightly oil/spray.
  2. Trim the salmon (if needed) and check for any stray bones.
  3. Place the salmon on the baking sheet. Squeeze one lemon over the fillet and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Mix together the pesto with half the breadcrumbs and spread over salmon. Take the remaining breadcrumbs and mix with half the cheese and sprinkle over the pesto. Then top the salmon with the remaining cheese.
  5. Cook on middle shelf for 30-40 minutes (probably 10-15 if using smaller filets). Remove from oven, squeeze with lemon and serve.

Summer in Winter Chicken

Summer in Winter Chicken

I must say, I am not a fan of pesto at all, but for some reason this recipe sounded really appealing to me. Blame the tomatoes; I’ll just about anything for tomatoes. Just to be safe, I used less pesto than the original recipe called for. If pesto is your thing, go ahead and use the full 3 tablespoons. I dipped a fork in the pan with the sauce just to steal a little taste, and at first, I almost gagged. The basil and pine nuts (two things I cannot stand at all, hence the dislike of pesto) were super overwhelming. After chugging some water, I recovered slightly and decided to give it another go. The taste had improved slightly and I decided the meal wasn’t a total waste. Well, for some reason, with every bite, this meal just got better and better. Like, we are talking absolutely delicious. I was totally contemplating licking my plate by the end.

This meal is super fast and super easy. I would highly recommend it for a quick weeknight meal or for an easy, yet impressive dinner party. If I was to make this again, I would definitely add more garlic (Who doesn’t like garlic? Nobody, that’s who.) and, if I was feeling completely crazy, maybe even some chili flakes. I think I might even try a sun-dried tomato pesto*, instead of traditional  basil (like I said, I’m crazy for tomatoes). Some onions, mushrooms, or even spinach would be pretty good mixed in.

Even though this is a chicken dish, it is super adaptable for a vegetarian meal! The sauce would be perfect over grilled vegetables or pasta. It would be really easy to keep the chicken and sauce separate until serving, thus the sauce could be used to serve vegetarians as well as chicken eaters.

* – If you live in the UK or Europe, Barilla has amazing jarred pesto as well as tomato based pestos as well. I highly recommend the tomato and red onion pesto and the sun-dried tomato pesto. For some reason Barilla does not sell a lot of their (tastier) sauce varieties in the US (I’m looking at you olive pasta sauce!), so if you are overseas, please enjoy all of their sauces on my behalf.

Summer in Winter Chicken

Summer in Winter Chicken (adapted from BBC Good Food)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • garlic powder
  • paprika
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 200g/1 pack  of cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons pesto
  • 3 tablespoons crème fraîche
  • splash of white wine
  • fresh basil, if you have it
  1. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, garlic and paprika. Heat the oil in a frying pan, preferably non-stick. Add the chicken and fry without moving it until it takes on a bit of color. Turn the chicken and cook on the other side. Continue cooking for 12-15 mins until the chicken is cooked through.
  2. Halve the tomatoes and throw them into the pan, stirring them around for a couple of minutes until they start to soften. Reduce the heat and stir in the pesto and crème fraîche until it makes a sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Scatter with a few basil leaves if you have them.