Pan-Seared Salmon with Smoky Pepita Crust and Sweet Jalapeño Pepper Sauce

By • September 4, 2013 0 Comments

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Author Notes: I made a jalapeño jam this summer that has become my husband's favorite food in the world, so I needed some creative ways to use it. I found some wild Coho salmon at the market and the rest of the recipe was just a matter of putting together something that would both bring out the sweetness of the salmon and stand up to the jalapeños in the jam. I'm sure you could use another pepper jelly or jam, but I used a jam recipe from Joshua Boussel that I found on Serious Eats. We like heat, so I used every last seed in every one of those jalapeños when making the jam. chezjewels

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Serves 2

Jalapeño Pepper Sauce

  • 1 sweet yellow pepper
  • 1 jalapeño
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons anejo tequila
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Cut the sweet pepper in half and remove the seeds and stems. Roast the yellow pepper and the jalapeño under the broiler until blackened on all sides. Wrap the peppers in a brown paper bag and let steam for about 10 minutes. When cool enough to handle, remove the skins from the peppers.
  2. Place the peppers in the bowl of a food processor with the lime juice and tequila. Pulse several times until nearly pureed. Taste and add the salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Set the sauce aside while you make the pepitas and cook the salmon.

Smoky Pepita Crusted Salmon

  • 1/3 cup dry-roasted pepitas
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons canola or grapeseed oil, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 12 ounces salmon fillet. skin removed and cut into two serving pieces
  • 2 tablespoons jalapeño jam
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Toss the pepitas in a small bowl with 1 teaspoon of the canola oil, sugar, salt, thyme, and smoked paprika. Spread the pepitas on a rimmed baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, stirring halfway through the cooking time. Watch them closely toward the end of the cooking time to ensure they don't get too dark. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  2. Spread one tablespoon of jalapeño jam on top of each of the salmon fillets (do not spread on the skin side), then press a generous amount of pepitas into the jam. You will have pepitas left over, but be sure to coat the top of the salmon pieces very well.
  3. Heat the rest of the oil almost to smoking in a nonstick skillet that is large enough to hold the salmon pieces. Carefully -- so as not to spatter the oil nor spill the pepitas - flip the salmon fillets onto the hot skillet, with the pepita/jam-coated side down. Let the salmon cook for about four to five minutes, then flip and allow the salmon to finish cooking. The salmon will not need much more cooking time. Depending on the thickness of your fillets and how well you like your salmon cooked, they might be done in as little as two minutes.
  4. Assemble the dish by spreading some of the pepper sauce on the plate. Place the pepita crusted salmon on top of the sauce and serve.

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