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10 January 2006

Oven-baked Salmon with Sun-Dried Tomato and Salsa Mayonnaise (Jacques Pepin)

I'm behind. I'm behind on cooking and I'm way behind on posting. The only two meals I have cooked at home were for my holiday party and New Year's Eve. Tired and uninspired, I fell back on my favorite, this slow baked salmon by Jacques for both Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. On Christmas Eve, it was just dad and I, we made a small portion for the two of us and omitted the sun-dried tomatoes and food processor from the sauce. As usual, I have amended this recipe over time. Rather than making the bread crumbs, I toast panko with some salt and pepper and a tiny amount of butter or oil to give it a rich golden texture and flavor. While I used the hazelnuts on New Years, I didn't think it made a big enough difference to warrant the extra steps (maybe I had had too many pink drinks to taste the difference). Typically I spread a light layer of mustard on the salmon under the bread crumbs however, lacking that on Christmas Eve, I used melted butter. It was delicious (both times)!

Jacques Pépin: Fast Food My WayRecipe: Oven-baked Salmon with Sun-Dried Tomato and Salsa Mayonnaise

"This dish is the essence of Fast Food. Season a fillet of salmon and nutty bread crumbs right on your serving platter and bake it in a very low oven while you make another dish or entertain your guests. Don't worry about burning the platter; it won't be damaged by the low heat of the oven, and the fish will be perfectly cooked."

Serves: 12


• 1 teaspoon canola oil• 1 large salmon fillet, skinless and boneless (about 3 pounds)• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper• About 1 cup combined bread crumbs and ground hazelnuts (from 1 slice bread and 1/4 cup hazelnuts processed in a food processor)Salsa Mayonnaise• 4 ounces sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil (about 3/4 cup)• 3/4 cup fresh store-bought salsa• 1/4 teaspoon salt• 2 cups mayonnaise• 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives• 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh herbs (a mixture of parsley, tarragon, chives, and chervil)

Heat the oven to 200 degrees. Oil the platter you will use for cooking and serving the salmon with the canola oil. Arrange the salmon on the platter and sprinkle it with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Turn the salmon over and sprinkle it with the remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Sprinkle the hazelnut-crumb mixture on top of the fillet. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the salmon is barely cooked. Meanwhile, for the mayonnaise: Put the sun-dried tomatoes and their oil in a food processor with the salsa. Process until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and mix in the salt, mayonnaise, and chives. When the salmon is done, remove it from the oven and sprinkle the chopped herbs on top. Serve warm or at room temperature with the sauce.

Make Ahead
The fish can be made 1 to 2 hours ahead. The sauce can be made up to 1 day before and refrigerated.