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!
- 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 425F
- 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.