Baked Salmon with Pesto Sauce

Healthy January continues!…

Here’s a recipe for a main course that I keep in my back pocket for special occasions, especially those that come up suddenly, where I don’t have a lot of time to shop or prepare. Only 5 ingredients are needed and it can be made from start to finish in about 30 minutes. It goes nicely with a variety of side dishes such as rice pilaf, couscous, sauteed veggies or mashed potatoes along with some crusty French bread on the table. A bottle of California Pinot Noir pairs perfectly and completes the meal.

On a side note, I was inspired to create this dish the night I was hired to play Avery Bailey Clark on The Young and the Restless.  In my excitement, I came up with it on the fly, called a few of my nearest and dearest over, and since then it’s become a “fan favorite” among my inner circle.

BAKED SALMON WITH PESTO SAUCE

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:

2 1/2 – 3 pounds salmon fillet with skin
1 10-ounce bag of baby spinach
1 cup pesto sauce (If you love making your own, go for it – but I won’t tell if you buy the packaged stuff at the store.)
1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
Olive oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line a large baking dish (or use a cookie sheet if you need something bigger) with foil and generously brush with olive oil.

Season the salmon fillet (both sides) with salt and pepper.

Place skin side down onto baking dish and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until ALMOST opaque in the center. (Chef’s note: I prefer to serve my salmon medium rare, but if you like a more done piece of fish, cook until completely opaque in the center- but be careful not to overcook as fish will dry out.)

While salmon is baking, on a large serving platter arrange the bag of baby spinach. Drizzle some olive oil over the top and season with a pinch of salt.

Warm the pesto sauce.

When salmon is finished baking, remove from oven and carefully transfer the fish onto the bed of spinach. The heat from the fish will wilt the spinach a just a bit.  Garnish with sliced cherry tomatoes around the fillet and drizzle the pesto sauce over the top of the salmon.
Serve immediately.

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