Maple Walnut Crusted Salmon
A lot of people think that cooking salmon is an art, and a very complicated one at that.
Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, I think salmon is one of the easiest fish to cook, especially when it’s in fillets. Its flesh is so firm and holds its shape so very well, you can basically cook it any way you like and trust that it will remain in one piece for ya: you can pan-fry it, grill it, poach it, smoke it…
Or you can cover it with a tasty walnut crust, throw it in the oven and have dinner on the table in mere minutes!
Now, with a name such as Maple Walnut Crusted Salmon, one might expect this dish to be overly sweet but surprisingly, it doesn’t taste very sugary at all. Instead, the maple syrup delivers very subtle hints of sweetness to your taste buds, while the smokiness of the paprika and the faint kick from the chipotle pepper brilliantly complement and help keep that sweetness level in check. Add to that the rich, creamy flavor of the ghee, the slight tanginess of the vinegar and the buttery crunch of the walnuts, and you’ve got a match made in heaven.
I say you should totally give this crusted salmon recipe a try, and the sooner the better. I’m ready to bet that it will quickly become a favorite of yours.
This dish definitely delivers in every single area: it’s truly delectable, highly nutritious and you won’t believe how quickly and easily it comes together…
If time permits, though, you may want to get started a couple of hours before you are ready to eat. This way, you’ll be able to let the fish marinate for a wee while in all the delicious flavors you’ll be topping it with. If not, don’t sweat it. Your salmon will still be delicious!
Put all the ingredients for the Maple Walnut Crust into a small mixing bowl and stir until well combined.
This shouldn’t take too long at all… a couple of minutes, at most!
Place your salmon fillets on a large plate and spoon the walnut crust over each piece of fish, distributing it as equally and evenly as you can.
If you have a little bit of time on your hands, place your fish in the refrigerator, uncovered, for 2 to 3 hours. You can very well skip this step though, if you’re in a pinch…
Now turn your oven on to preheat it. It’s very important that you wait for your oven to be hot before you start cooking the fish, for salmon cooks very quickly and will only stay in the oven for a very short while. So what you are after is very intense heat for a brief amount of time.
Same goes for searing the skin. Most people don’t care for salmon skin because they find it’s kinda gooey and somewhat slimy. Trust me when I say that salmon skin is a terrible, terrible thing to waste; when properly seared, it gets super crispy and crazy tasty. The key to success here is to not be afraid of intense heat and to even allow the skin to scorch a little bit.
So once the temperature of the oven has reached 425ºF, melt some ghee in a large oven-safe skillet set over very high heat.
When your pan is good and hot, add the pieces of fish and let them cook undisturbed for about 2 minutes, until that skin is nicely seared.
Transfer the skillet to the oven and continue cooking the fish for about 5 to 8 minutes, depending on desired doneness and thickness of your salmon fillets.
Now when you take that pan out of the oven, it might be a good idea to cover the handle with a tea towel or oven mitt, just as a reminder that it is EXTREMELY hot and should not be grabbed with your bare hands; a very good habit that I took after I’ve had a few unfortunate accidents…
As a totally unrelated side note, if this ever happens to you, or if you ever suffer a mild surface burn that hurts so much you just can’t handle it, (haha, pun definitely not intended) know that this surprising ointment offers fantastic and almost immediate relief. I found that out one day after I’d burned both my hands and spent the entire day keeping them submerged in cold water because as soon as I would take them out, the pain would instantly become unbearable. I later went to see a doctor in search of relief and this is what they prescribed. Han! Who would’ve thunk? Since that day, I’ve always kept a tube handy, for emergencies.
And just in case you’re wondering, no, I didn’t burn my hand when I cooked the salmon that day; but I did it so many times in the past that it always pops in my head whenever I cook something in the oven in a vessel that you tend to instinctively grab by its handle.
Alright, so now that your salmon is out of the oven and that your skillet’s handle is safely covered, remove the fish to a plate and serve it to your family or guests.
Yep, that’s it; we’re already done. I told you this would be ready in no time!
Ah, just one more thing: for extra nomness, you can drizzle a little bit of melted ghee and add a few additional drops of maple syrup to your salmon fillets at the moment of serving. Don’t go overboard with the maple syrup, though, unless you’re a fan of sweet tasting fish.
Take a closer peek… does that look moist and juicy and tender enough for you?
And how I wish you could also sample that flavor profile… OMG! It’s plain out of this world, like TOTALLY. A perfect balance between sweet, buttery, smokey, tangy and salty.
Best part is, it could be on your table in just a few minutes!
Maple Walnut Crusted Salmon
- 2 tbsp ghee, or make your own for pan
- 4 - 6oz salmon fillets
- Sprinkle of salt and pepper
Maple Walnut Crust
- 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
- 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp coconut aminos
- Add all the ingredients listed under "Maple Walnut Crust" to a small mixing bowl and stir until well combined.
- Place your salmon fillets on a plate and spoon the mixture over each piece of fish, distributing it as evenly as you can. Place in the refrigerator, uncovered, for 2 to 3 hours.
- Preheat your oven to 425°F
- Melt the ghee in a large oven-safeskillet set over high heat. When your pan is nice and hot, add the pieces of fish and let them cook undisturbed for about 2 minutes, to sear the skin nice and good.
- Transfer the pan to the oven and continue cooking the fish for about 5-8 minutes, depending on desired doneness and thickness of the fillets.
- Drizzle with a little bit of melted ghee and additional maple syrup at the moment of serving, if desired.
If you’ve tried this recipe, please take a minute to rate the recipe and let me know how things went for you in the comments below. It’s always such a pleasure to hear from you!
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51 Comments on “Maple Walnut Crusted Salmon”
AAAAHHHHHH! I guess I did say seafood when I meant shellfish. I can’t wait to try this it looks so amazing!
This looks great! I love cooking salmon since I feel like it’s pretty forgiving to a little bit of over cooking.
You got that one right, Jill! And more points for salmon! 🙂
I think salmon is very easily over cooked. Some people think that it needs to be cooked through. But like tuna, it is much better seared on the outside, and medium rare on the inside. That said, i like Sockeye more rare and cheaper types of pink salmon a little more cooked…and a little more sauced.
I’m right with you on that one, Anne. I like my salmon to still have a little bit of “translucence” to it in the middle…
This was a little too sweet for my taste, I’d suggest using about half of the maple syrup.
Although, I have to admit I didn’t marinate it, so maybe that makes a difference. Other than that I liked it.
I make salmon most nights for dinner and I always look for new recipes and ways to kick it up. Definitely need to try your walnut and maple crusted salmon, It looks delicious and I bet it tasted even better!
Hope you like it, Thalia!
The salmon is perfectly cooked and burst with flavor! I once learnt a recipe to top walnut on salmon, but it was cooked in the oven and the skin was not crispy as those in the picture. When it comes to salmon, I always enjoy a crispy skin and a moist texture. The fry pan at first and oven later method sounds fantastic! Thanks for sharing the great tip 🙂
The pleasure is all mine, Maggie. Like I said, salmon skin is a terrible, terrible thing to waste. The more people know how to cook it properly, the less it gets wasted and the happier I am!
Glad you liked the recipe! 🙂
Hi Sonia, This looks fantastic – I will for sure make it soon , maybe today for lunch. I have a question – I thought I read where the skin and grey stuff on salmon is mostly fat and that is where all the toxins are stored in the fish? So I was not eating the great tasty charred skin. What is your take on this?
Also, I LOVE your site. I look forward to reading it every day. You are one of the few people who put out a REALLY good recipe almost every day! THANK YOU for this incredible create!
Awwww, thank you so much JK, that is so incredibly nice of you to say. You just made my day! 😀
As for the salmon skin, I think that what you said pretty much holds true for all animals: a lot of toxins get stored in their fat. That’s one of the reasons why it’s important to look for well sourced animals, i.e. pasture raised, grass-fed or wild caught. That way, you reap nothing but benefits from consuming that delicious fat!
Crispy salmon skin for the win!! I always purposely seek out the fish with skin still on. People are cray cray to not eat it… so. much. flavor.
This looks so beautiful and elegant, I want to put that walnut mixture on everything. Any suggestions for other things it would compliment flavor wise?
Chicken? Definitely! Pork? Assuredly! Oh yeah… I can envision that crust over a nice tenderloin or juicy pork chops. Hmmmm! now that sounds yummy… so much so, I’m thinking I need to give it a try!
In had to write a review for this, since it was one of the first times I’ve ever made salmon at home.
This was a HOME RUN! PERFECT! I didn’t marinade it due to time restrictions, and i can just imagine how much more delicious it would be then.
Restaurant quality meal!
Oh my! What a gem you are, Rachel. Thank you so very much for this amazing feedback. You certainly just made my day!
You have no idea how wonderful it feels to find a recipe I can enjoy despite my restricted diet due to health concerns. Eager to make this for dinner now… just 45 minutes till I’m off work!
a natural wellness lifestyle blog
Real happy to hear, Brittany! Let me know how the dish turned out! 🙂
sounds really good for our thanksgiving lunch! can I substitute the ghee with something else. not sure where to get them.
You could use butter if you don’t mind dairy, Nina. If not, you can easily find ghee online, or even make your own! Click the links in the recipe for more details.
Have you ever made this on the grill? I love salmon not a fan of the smell inside the house… Would love suggestions on how to modify it if you have them..this recipe looks Amazing!
Sorry, Donna, I haven’t. I suppose you could make it on the grill if you placed the fish on some kind of a cooking grate with handles… Let me know how it turns out if you end up trying it!
Looks great, Going to try this week.
Could I marinate in the morning before work so its ready after work?
Absolutely, Pam! That shouldn’t be a problem at all.
I loved this! I served it with a spinach and raspberry salad with a Ken’s Steak House Raspberry Pecan dressing and our own “home grown” baked sweet potatoes. It was so savory and satisfying! we will defiantly make this one again. Loved It!
So very happy to hear, Lisa! Thanks for taking the time to let me know that the recipe was to your liking. I greatly appreciate that! 🙂
I’m trying to make this recipe and have looked everywhere but cannot find the cooking instructions. I see where you are saying most people overcook samon so I’m going for 375 degrees for 30″ min. But I was wanting to print this to have for future reference. Am I passing this information up somewhere?
I don’t understand Rhonda. The instructions are right there under the ingredients list, in the recipe box… Can you not see that?
Can not find coconut amino any suggestions for a subsitute
Coconut aminos is actually a non-soy substitute for tamari or soy sauce. If you don’t mind the soy, then you can definitely use one of those two.
Can I use this for white fish as well?
I wouldn’t see why not, Arina. There’s nothing like trying! I’d stick with thick, firm fleshed fish though…
We used Pecan. Insanely good
Thank you! 🙂
I tried this recipe and it was absolutely delicious! I even used the leftovers for lunch the next day (cold) and it was so so good yummy. Thank you for the recipe. This one is definitely a keeper 🙂
Awesome! I’m real happy to hear, Addy, and greatly appreciate your taking the time to let me know! Thank you! 🙂
Do you think olive oil would work ?!
Hello Beautiful……I made this dish tonight, without the marinade it with steamed broccoli with olive oil, fresh lemon and grilled fresh garlicand Uncle Ben’s Steamed Jambalya rice, it was so good I could kiss your face!. I can not wait to try this with pork, chicken and shrimp. Thank You from Atlanta.
Awwww, thank you so much for all the love, Rochelle. Happy to hear you’re enjoying the dish this much! 🙂
I tried this. I loved it! Great flavor and very simple to make. Thanks.
Fantastic! I’ve made salmon with a maple/walnut glaze in the past but the little kick from the spices took it over the top. I was a little nervous since I had to substitute low-salt soy sauce for the coconut stuff and cayenne for the adobo powder. When I tasted the marinade before I put it on the salmon, I thought it tasted a little strange, but boy was the final result amazing!!! Perfect balance of sweet and spicy. I will definitely make this again!!!!!!!!
Wow, thank you so much for this awesome feedback, Julie! It certainly feels good to read! 🙂 <3
I have now made this recipe twice. I tweaked the spices to fit my family’s tase but otherwise it is awesome! Thank you so much for putting this out there. My mother-in-law LOVED IT! She is a very picky fish eater and this recipe really was awesome! Thank You!
Very happy to hear! Thanks for taking the time to let me know, Chris! You rock! 😀
Looks awesome and will try! I’m interested in what you were prescribed for the burn?
This is one of the only salmon recipes that I actually LOVE. And get this, I ate it every night for a week and lost like 7 pounds. I’m curious to know what your favorite sides that you serve with this are? I’ve been doing Brussel sprouts and sweet potato, but would love some new ideas!
Thank you for the great feedback and stellar review, Valerie; that’s really kind of you! Rice has always been a big favorite of mine… goes good with just about everything! 🙂
My husband absolutely loved this. He could not stop raving about it. Ty for sharing the recipe!
Could you use skinless fillets and still have this work? The fillet I bought and cut was already skinned. How would the instructions change if so?