The other day, Tom sent me a link to a recipe for Herb Crusted Salmon with Arugula Citrus Pistou and Grape Tomatoes. We’ve been following the REMCooks blog, since its author was one of the first to discover and comment on our blog (thanks!). Anyway, it looked so tasty, we decided to try it sometime this weekend.
We made a few variations to the original recipe, based on what we had on hand and what we could find locally.
First, we went to the market to get some salmon, but ended up leaving with arctic char. Being from the west coast and having a preference for Pacific Northwest salmon, I’m not a huge fan of the salmon we get here on the east coast. Plus, I could never get arctic char on the west coast, so, why not take advantage of its availability here? Not to mention I just love the flavor of arctic char, but I had never cooked it myself, only had it in restaurants. Challenge accepted.
The other major changes we made to the recipe were a few ingredients in the pistou. Most significantly, we used parsley instead of arugula. I love arugula, and it’s not a problem to get it, but I had a giant bunch of parsley from the CSA that I really wanted to do something with. Similarly, it’s not that we couldn’t get pine nuts, but I happened to have walnuts around, since I had made a pesto earlier in the week that called for walnuts. Finally, though I had parmesan cheese, I also had some aged asiago that I wanted to use up, so I ended up using the asiago instead.
Other than that, we were pretty faithful to the recipe. Oh, except that for the herb crust, we had dried oregano and thyme instead of their fresh counterparts, but we did have fresh rosemary, and we just mashed all that together with a mortar and pestle.
And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for:
What an absolutely lovely recipe! The lime and lemon in the pistou really gave this a unique flavor. I can see how it would be even better with arugula, but it still went very nicely with the parsley, creating an overall fresh and tangy flavor that went fantastically with the fish. It was also interesting to me that the pistou recipe didn’t contain any garlic, which made it taste rather different from the usual pesto and contributed to the overall refreshing effect. I think the sharp asiago gave the pistou a little extra kick as well. The arctic char was incredible; it seems a bit milder (less fishy), moister, and creamier (fattier?) than salmon. I’m not sure if I got really lucky or if it’s hard to screw up, but either way the fish was cooked perfectly. The herb crust was just the right touch to give it some additional flavor and texture but still allowing the fish to shine through. It’s not tomato season, but the cherry tomatoes we found turned out to be pretty good (I can’t wait for tomato season!), and were a great pairing with the dish as a whole.
We’ll definitely do this again sometime. We’d love to try it with arugula as the original recipe calls for. I can also see it working really well with cilantro, but since Tom’s not a big cilantro fan I probably won’t be trying that anytime soon. I can also see this working well with other types of fish, and even steak. Thanks to Richard at REMCooks for the idea!