This is my absolute favorite, bar none, way to prepare salmon fillet. I prefer the freshness of a home made pesto, but I bet just adding fresh lemon juice to a store-bought one will liven it up tremendously.
Pan Seared Salmon with Lemon Basil Pesto
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
- 1 cup fresh basil leaf, packed
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes (I use a generous pinch)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 12 ounces salmon fillets (2, 6-oz each)
- cooking spray
Heat a dry skillet, over medium heat, and lightly toast pine nuts (gently toss and shake pan occasionally); then place in a food processor. To the food processor, add basil and garlic; pulse just to combine. With processor running, drizzle in olive oil, and process, scraping down sides once or twice with a rubber spatula, to desired consistency (I like it sort of chunky). Add in Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste; pulse to combine; set aside.
Wipe the salmon dry with paper towels (to allow a nice sear), then season lightly with salt and pepper.
Heat the skillet, over medium-high heat, then spray with cooking spray. Cook salmon about 4 minutes per side or to desired doneness (I like it a little pinkish in the center since it will continue cooking a little when removed from the pan). Serve salmon with pesto spooned over top.
Can also be served at room temperature.