Do salmon and pesto go together? Yes! This Pesto Crusted Salmon with Panko is a super easy recipe and delicious! This dish is bursting with flavor from the basil pesto. The crispy panko topping adds a wonderful texture to an already awesome piece of salmon.
This basil pesto salmon recipe is really easy to prepare and it is a perfect meal for the family or to serve company! Fresh salmon and your favorite store-bought pesto are the main ingredients in this recipe. Add some panko, lemon, parsley, and spices to create a delicious meal.
Table of contents
These are the simple ingredients needed to make this salmon and pesto recipe.
- Fresh Salmon - You will need about one pound of salmon for 4 servings. I have also used steelhead trout. I prefer to use fish that still has the skin on it for this recipe.
- Basil Pesto - Use your favorite store-bought brand. I prefer the little containers you find in the refrigerated section next to the fresh pasta. If you prefer to make your own, that is fine too!
- Lemon - You will need both the lemon zest and the fresh lemon juice.
- Panko - Again, use your favorite brand.
- Parsley - You can use dried, but I usually prefer to use fresh parsley when I can.
How to prep this recipe
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Heat a cast iron skillet (or oven-safe skillet) over medium to medium-high heat. You want to get a good sear on the salmon skin.
In a small bowl, mix together the panko crumbs, some olive oil, lemon zest, parsley, garlic powder, and some salt and pepper.
Brush the salmon filets with a little olive oil and drizzle with a little lemon juice. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Spread the basil pesto over the salmon and top with the panko crumb mixture. Pile the panko crumbs while slightly pressing down to get as much as possible to stick to the salmon.
How to cook the salmon
In the heated cast iron skillet, add a little more olive oil and carefully add the salmon, skin side down. Let the fish sear for about 4 minutes. This should get the skin nice and crisp.
Next, place the skillet in the preheated oven and bake the pesto-crusted salmon for 5 - 8 minutes. The amount of baking time depends on how thick your piece of fish is. The pieces that are pictured are pretty thick. I baked those for 8 minutes.
Remove the skillet from the oven and let the fish rest for about 5 minutes.
Serve the Pesto Crusted Salmon with sliced lemon. Enjoy!
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Pesto Crusted Salmon with Panko
- 1 pound Salmon Fillets with skin for 4 people
- ½ teaspoon Salt to taste
- ¼ teaspoon Pepper to taste
- ¼ teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1 Lemon zest and juice
- ⅔ cup Panko Crumbs
- 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 tablespoons Parsley freshly chopped
- 3 tablespoons Basil Pesto
- Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
- Heat an oven proof pan (I use cast iron) over medium high heat.
- In a small bowl mix together the panko crumbs, grated lemon zest from 1 lemon, chopped parsley, salt, pepper, garlic powder and 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Set aside.
- Brush the salmon fillets lightly with a little bit of olive oil. Then drizzle with juice from the lemon. Season the salmon lightly with salt and pepper if you like.
- Next, spread the pesto over the salmon fillets then top with the panko crumb mixture.
- Add the remaining olive oil to the heated skillet. Carefully place the salmon fillets, skin side down, in the hot oil and cook, without turning, for about 4 minutes.
- After the 4 minutes the skin on the salmon is nice and crisp. Place the pan in the oven and continue to cook for about 5 - 8 minutes. The fish will easily flake with a fork when it is done.
- Remove the salmon from the oven and let rest about 5 minutes.
- Serve with lemon slices or wedges. Enjoy!
This recipe is adapted from a recipe in the How Easy Is That? cookbook by the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten.