One-Pot Wonders

Sesame Encrusted Salmon with Pinot Noir Reduction

May 13, 2010
5 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
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 fillet from a salmon that is about 8 to 12 pounds, with a fillet about 1 1/2 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° F 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 it, any dry red wine will do. But I have to say, the Pinot Noir was amazing! Hope you enjoy! —coffeefoodwrite

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Coffeefoodwritergirl is a longtime Food52 member with over 60 recipes on the site!
WHAT: A simple, seared salmon—with a crunchy, sesame-nutty crust and a quick red wine pan sauce.
HOW: Pave a fillet of salmon with sesame seeds, drizzle with oil, then sear in a hot pan. The pan sauce practically makes itself: Deglaze the pan with Pinot Noir, scrape up the brown bits, then reduce to a spoonable glaze.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Fancy salmon goes weeknight-friendly: The seeds really do stick into the flesh, making for a lovely, flavorful crunch. (Do be careful flipping your fillet!) the sesame flavor is definitely there, and goes surprisingly well with both Pinot Noir and salmon. It's a weeknight dinner we'll be returning to often. —Mary Beth

  • Serves 2 to 4
  • 1 pound salmon fillet, about 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick (wild if possible)
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cups sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups Pinot Noir or other dry red wine, divided
In This Recipe
  1. Blot salmon with paper towel to remove all excess moisture.
  2. Dust exposed flesh with a liberal dose of salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Completely cover exposed flesh with sesame seeds, enough to form a nice layer over the top. Drizzle liberally with 1/4 cup olive oil.
  4. Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 to 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 to 7 minutes until golden brown. Do not give into the temptation to toss or move salmon fillet. Let it sit there so sesame seeds get seared into flesh of salmon. Sprinkle more salt and freshly ground pepper over exposed skin.
  5. When golden brown, flip fillet over and cook for another two minutes or so.
  6. Pour 3/4 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 3/4 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 until the sauce is reduced by half. Adjust for salt if necessary.
  9. Pour sauce over fillet. Garnish with parsley and serve. Enjoy!

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