If I were to find out this morning that I had to host a dozen execs for lunch today, this is the recipe to which I’d turn. It makes a beautiful and amazing-tasting one-bowl dish. Served with some warm crusty bread, it is all you need to impress your guests.
I invented this recipe when I married my husband eight years ago. Greg is from the great Northwest and adores salmon. I grew up in Texas cattle country with a mother who thought all fish tasted like cat food. Needless to say, I never developed a fondness for food with fins. If I were served fish sticks as a kid at school, I’d peel the breading off, eat that, leaving the meat for the disposal. Sad, I know.
It was for the love of Greg, and Greg only, that I determined to figure out how to cook, eat, and hopefully, love fish. This is the recipe that started my love affair with salmon. I served it to my pastor, Hugh Halter, and he scraped his plate cleaning, calling it “praline fish.” The coating isn’t quite like candy, but it is just as hard to resist. Truly this recipe was my gateway drug to the pleasures of fish, and as I continue to blog my favorite recipes, you’ll discover this landlubber has come to embrace the fruit of the sea with gusto.
The salad is easy, too, with a dressing that just adds 3 ingredients (avocado, fresh lime juice, pepper) to your favorite Ranch salad dressing.
Becky’s Sesame-Pecan Salmon
2 pieces fresh salmon, skin removed
1/2 c. thick teriyaki sauce (teriyaki sauce often has soy sauce in it that is made from wheat. Gluten free folks may want to make their own. Here’s one gluten free recipe.)
2 T. sweet Thai chili sauce
1/4 c. toasted sesame seeds (these are cheaper and come in larger containers on the Asian aisles of most grocery stores)
1/4 c. pecans, chopped to about the consistency of Grapenuts in food processor or blender
1 T. olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In one shallow wide bowl mix teriyaki and Thai chili sauce. In other similar bowl, mix sesame seeds and ground pecans. Coat both pieces of fish with sauce on all sides, then do the same with the seed-nut mixture. Carefully lay in a square glass baking pan that has been generously coated with olive oil. Pour any left over sauce and nut-seeds over all.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until fish is done. (I prefer mine slightly opaque and moist in the middle.) I also like to broil the fish (watching carefully) for just few seconds to give the topping additional thickness and crunch.
Avocado Goddess Salad
1 bunch Romaine lettuce, chopped
1 avocado, peeled and cut into thirds
1/2 c. Ranch dressing, any kind you like
1 T. fresh lime juice
1 t. pepper
Put about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of chopped Romaine into each of two large salad bowls. (I use big wide pasta bowls.)
Take 2/3 of avocado and cut into slices, arranging evenly on top of the two salads.
Mash the other 1/3 avocado in a small bowl. Add Ranch dressing, lime juice and pepper to this and stir.
Using a wide spatula, carefully lay one piece of the cooked salmon on top of each salad. Drizzle “Avocado Goddess” dressing over all.
Vegan Options: You could easily make sesame-pecan tofu with slices of pressed tofu marinated in the teriyaki Thai Chili sauce mixture instead of fish and simply substitute vegan ranch dressing to make the Avocado Goddess dressing. This is a great dish for serving both vegans and non-vegans since it wouldn’t take much extra work at all to make both versions.
Chicken Option: You can use this same technique with chicken tenders if you prefer.