two 3-4 oz wild Alaskan salmon filets or one jumbo filet
approx ¼ cup shelled pistachio nuts [salted or unsalted; up to you!]
approx ¼ cup chipotle panko bread crumbs
a few drizzles of your favorite healthy oil
salt, pepper, and garlic powder, to taste
The measurements aren’t super detailed since this one can be easily thrown together without slaving over measuring cups or spoons; another reason why I prefer cooking to baking =) Can’t find chipotle panko? No problem! Simply use plain panko breadcrumbs or season them with your favorite chipotle seasoning blend. It’s also really good with Italian-seasoned panko too!
Pre-heat your oven or toaster oven to 450 degrees F and line a baking sheet with foil.
Finely chop your pistachios until they’re practically minced [the smaller the better!] using a chef’s knife or even a food processor if you so choose. Another method? Pour the nuts into a plastic bag and crush with a heavy bottle of wine or equivalent. [Hey… it works!] Toss together with panko and set aside.
Next move on to the salmon.
Heat a cast iron pan or skillet with a hearty drizzle of oil to high/medium-high heat and hold off on adding the salmon until you’re sure it’s hot.
While you wait, season both sides of your salmon with garlic powder, salt and freshly ground black pepper or cayenne pepper.
The wild salmon I buy always has the skin on one side; simply remove it with a knife or sear that side [unseasoned] first, it will peel right off after a minute or two! After removing the skin, season that side as well.
Allow each side a minute or so on the hot skillet to sear [look for an opaque crust with a rare center], then ensure there’s still a bit of oil in the pan and coat one side of your salmon with the panko/pistachio mixture. Add as much or as little as you’d like!
Flip the salmon filet, breading side down, and allow the topping to crisp for just under a minute or so.
With a spatula, move the salmon to a foil lined baking sheet [pistachio side up] and bake for approximately 5-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of your filet.
The result is a crisp, flavorful crust on the outside with a tender flaky inside.