Sesame Encrusted Salmon with Pinot Noir Reduction

By • May 13, 2010 • 21 Comments

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Author Notes: This salmon has few ingredients, but when they all come together -- heaven! My husband developed this dish a few years back and I was so happy to be able to make it together tonight so that I was able to actually get it down on paper so that I can repeat it. I hope that you enjoy it as well. A few notes: Make sure to gently flip (emphasis on gently) the salmon into the pan and then don’t touch or move it while it is first cooking – you want the sesame seeds to sear into the flesh of the fish, if you move it while it is in the first stage of cooking – they will slide off. So don’t get tempted! Another thing – this is best with a filet from a salmon that is about 8-12 pounds – with a filet about 1 ½ to 2 inches in thickness – so that it can cook nicely in the pan only, and does not have to be finished off in the oven. If you do have a thicker cut – just throw it in a 375 degree oven for a few minutes to finish off the cooking. Finally, this is great with the pinot noir – but if you don’t have or don’t like, any dry red wine will do. But I have to say – the Pinot Noir was amazing! Hope you enjoy! - coffeefoodwritergirl coffeefoodwritergirl

Food52 Review: I made this for my husband's birthday dinner. It was a huge hit. It's really very cool the way the sesame sears into the flesh of the salmon. A couple of notes: you really have to season the fish well with salt and pepper before you put the sesame seeds on it, and I found it helpful to take the back of the measuring cup (after pouring the oil over) and press the seeds gently into the flesh of the fish before turning it into the pan. Because of all the fat in the pan, when you pour the red wine in, it splatters like crazy, so the cook should be prepared for that. The wine reduces with the olive oil and sesame seeds in the pan to a delicious sauce -- I opted to serve the sauce on the side rather than pour it over the fish for serving. By itself the fish was delicious -- moist, flavorful and crunchy with sesame seeds. The richness and grapiness of the sauce added to the flavor in an unexpected way. All in all, a wonderful way to cook salmon. - drbabs
A&M

Serves 2-4

  • 1 pound salmon filet – about 1 ½ - 2 inches thick (wild if possible)
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups Pinot Noir or red wine
  • 1/4 cup plus 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • seasoning salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  1. Blot salmon with paper towel to remove all excess moisture.
  2. Dust exposed flesh with a liberal dosing of seasoning salt and fresh ground black pepper.
  3. Completely cover exposed flesh with sesame seeds – enough to form a nice layer over top. Drizzle liberally with 1/4 cup olive oil.
  4. Heat large skillet over medium high heat. Add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil (just enough to barely cover the bottom of the pan – you don’t want it swimming – only enough to just prevent sticking. When pan and oil are hot, flip and slip salmon in gently, skin side up so sesame seeds do not fly off. Sear for approximately 5-7 minutes until golden brown. Do not give in to the temptation to toss or move salmon filet. Let it sit there so sesame seeds get seared into flesh of salmon. Sprinkle more seasoning salt and fresh ground pepper over exposed skin.
  5. When golden brown, flip filet over and cook for another two minutes or so.
  6. Pour ¾ cup red wine over salmon, lower heat to medium or just above, and let cook another five minutes or so. Sauce should be boiling quite vigorously, but you don’t want it to burn or smoke, so adjust the temperature as needed.
  7. When cooked through, but still slightly pink in center. Remove to serving platter and place flesh side up.
  8. Keep sauce boiling on medium heat and add additional ¾ cup red wine. Lower heat to medium low and let reduce for about another five minutes, stirring occasionally to release and loosen all those great cooked bits and flavor from the pan. Cook for about an additional five minutes, or till the sauce is reduced by half. Adjust for salt if necessary....
  9. Pour sauce over filet. Garnish with parsley and serve. Enjoy!
Jump to Comments (21)

Tags: rich, salmon

Comments (21) Questions (2)

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over 1 year ago Mistral19

Tried this tonight. Turned out very good and would definitely make this again! One issue though, Med high heat was too high for my fish - the seeds burned at 5 minutes and when I added in the wine, the oil started popping - wine everywhere! I would put it at med. Made it with a nice roasted garlic mashed potato and sugar snap peas. Lovely colours!

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over 1 year ago coffeefoodwritergirl

Thanks for the tip on the medium heat! Glad that you liked the recipe. :-)

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over 1 year ago coffeefoodwritergirl

Glad you enjoyed it!

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over 1 year ago ErinC

Made this last night--very flavorful, and loved the texture the sesame seeds brought to the dish!

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almost 2 years ago Garry Higgins

Any suggestions on how to accompany this?? Would a nice arugula salad work??

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almost 2 years ago coffeefoodwritergirl

Hi Garry,

Yes, Arugula salad would work great. I also like to serve this with a side of roasted asparagus w/ shaved parmesan.

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almost 2 years ago bottomupfood

Am in the middle of the recipe and everything has worked so far. Just want to note that it would be helpful if the language could be tightened on step 8. It's unclear whether the instructions to reduce for 5 minutes are unnecessarily repeated or whether we are to reduce for a total of 10 minutes.

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about 2 years ago maggiesara

I'm afraid this was really not successful for me. The salmon was very overcooked, to my taste -- though granted, I tend to like it considerably more rare than "slightly pink in the center" -- and the reduced wine just tasted sour, with no nuance.

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over 2 years ago Chef_Ian

Excellent recipe! The fish gets so tender, and the wine infuses it with an excellent flavor! This is definitely something I will make again.

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almost 3 years ago cincoymaya

I just made this tonight and it was delicious, very easy to do. I reduced the wine a bit too much and since I needed more sauce I added a bit of cream to the reduced wine.

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almost 3 years ago coffeefoodwritergirl

Glad you liked it! Haven't made it in a while...now I'm going to have to have it again! The cream is a great idea.....

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over 4 years ago NakedBeet

This looks great, can't wait to try it.

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over 4 years ago coffeefoodwritergirl

Thanks, let me know how it turns out!

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over 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Hi! I'm so excited to be testing this for Editors' Pick this weekend--it's my husband's birthday and his best friend is coming to dinner--this is a great recipe and I know we will all love it.

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over 4 years ago coffeefoodwritergirl

Hi drbabs! So glad to hear you are testing this -- just a note -- make sure to use the smallest amount of oil possible in the pan when you go to sear the salmon -- otherwise the sesame seeds will sort of slide off and you want them to be able to sear into the meat -- let me know how it turns out and have a wonderful birthday celebration for your husband!

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over 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks for the tip--looking forward to this!

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over 4 years ago coffeefoodwritergirl

Hi drbab! So happy that your husband and guests liked this at his b'day party!

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over 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

We all really loved it--and I got to have lefovers for lunch!

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over 4 years ago coffeefoodwritergirl

Thanks, guys!

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over 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

This really looks great! And LOVE the photo.

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over 4 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

This looks amazing - love the sesame seeds cooked in ... really nice photo!!!