Over the past few years, my husband and I have started a new Valentine’s Day tradition – we enjoy a special date night in. With three kids, sneaking away for a romantic getaway has reached special ops mission status, and what I crave instead is a simple home-cooked meal just for us. So each year I come up with a special menu that’s not too fancy (no slaving away in the kitchen!) but still tastes incredible. In past years we’ve dined on mini beef wellington and bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin, but this year it’s all about salmon. It’s worth the extra splurge.
How To Make Pesto Baked Salmon
Try to buy wild-caught salmon if you can. It tastes incredible, plus you can’t beat the gorgeous color. Or use whatever fish you like. Even chicken would be great here if that’s more your speed.
Slather the fillets with a little pesto and pop them into a hot oven. It’s done in about 20 minutes. Serving it over a bed of baby arugula with roasted potatoes makes it extra filling.
Pesto Baked Salmon
- Two 4 ounce salmon fillets
- 3 cups loosely packed basil leaves
- 1-2 garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup pine nuts can substitute any nut
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice plus lemon wedges for serving
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil divided
- Sea salt to taste
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 4 medium-sized red potatoes cut into 1" cubes
- 4 cups organic baby arugula
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a food processor, place the basil, garlic, pine nuts, lemon juice and zest. Pulse until finely chopped. With motor running, slowly drizzle the olive oil through the feed hole until the pesto is the desired thickness. Stop motor, remove lid and scrape down sides. Taste and add a pinch of salt, if needed. Set aside.
- Toss the cubed new potatoes with a little olive oil and season well with sea salt and ground black pepper.
- Arrange the salmon and potatoes on the lined baking sheet. Top the each salmon fillet with about 1 Tablespoon of the pesto. (Reserve remaining pesto for another use.) Place in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until salmon is cooked thoroughly.
- To serve, divide the arugula between two plates. Top with the salmon fillet and roasted potatoes. Squeeze with a little more fresh lemon juice. Serve.