Baked Salmon With Herbed Panko Crust
- Servings: 4.
Tired of cooking salmon the same way? Here's a new take on baked fish that has huge flavor and a satisfying texture. It uses Japanese breadcrumbs, called panko, that stay crispy even after it's baked.
This recipe is adapted from one by Ina Garten. I've cut down on the salt and used a mix of fresh herbs (I use whatever I have on hand) instead of only parsley. You can use this method to cook salmon for a crowd or only make one piece of fish, just for you. The fish is started on top of the stove and then finished in a hot oven, using a two-step process often used in restaurants.
Panko is sold in most supermarkets, often in the seafood or Asian ingredient section. Or it can be found in Asian markets and fish stores. If you don't use the whole bag, panko can be stored in the freezer where it keeps for months.
When buying your salmon, ask for a center cut as it's the center of the fillet and will be thicker, with a little more fat. And ask the fish monger to leave on the skin; while some don't like to eat fish skin, leaving it on during the cooking will hold the fish together. You can always remove and discard it after the fish is cooked or better yet, just leave it behind on your plate.
- 3/4 cup panko
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs (e.g., thyme, parsley, chives, or marjoram -- but not rosemary as it is too strong a flavor; you can use a mix or just one herb)
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds salmon fillets, either left as a single piece or cut into 4 servings, skin left on
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
- Lemon wedges for serving
- Preheat the oven to 425° F.
- In a small bowl, mix together the panko, herbs, lemon zest, salt, several grinds of black pepper, and olive oil. With a fork, mix until everything is combined and the oil has been distributed through the panko crumbs. Set aside.
- Prepare the salmon by placing the fish skin side down on a plate or cutting board, and brush each with the mustard, lightly coating each on the top surface only, not the bottom. This adds flavor and also helps the panko stick to the fish.
- Press the panko mixture on top of each piece of fish, pressing the crumb mixture to become a thick coating.
- Place an ovenproof cast iron or stainless skillet on top of the stove on medium-high heat (do not use a non-stick pan). Heat the oil until very hot and shimmering and add the salmon fillets, skin side down, into the pan. Some of the panko will fall into the pan but that's okay.
- Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes on medium-high until the skin browns and the bottom of the fish begins to change color.
- Transfer to the oven for 5 to 7 minutes, depending on how thick the fish pieces are, until the fish is cooked through and the panko has browned.
- Remove from the oven, cover the hot pan with aluminum foil and place a pot holder on the handle to remind you that the pan is blazing hot. Let the fish rest for about 10 minutes.
- Serve hot or at room temperature with lemon wedges.