Salmon with Pesto Butter
and quinoa / asparagus
Fresh flavors make this quick weeknight meal a great one for spring.
Smarts: This meal includes a recipe for a batch of pesto, but you'll only need a small amount to serve in a compound butter over tonight's salmon. Save the rest of the pesto for later in the week.
Smarts: If you want to reduce the fat / calories in the meal, feel free to skip the butter and just spoon pesto directly over the fish.
- Pine nuts - 2 Tbsp, sub walnuts
- Garlic - 1 clove, peeled
- Cheese, parmesan (opt) - 1 oz
- Basil, fresh - 1 1/2 oz
- Lemon juice - 2 tsp
- Oil, olive - 4 Tbsp
- Butter - 4 Tbsp
- Basil pesto (ingredients listed separately) - 2 Tbsp
- Lemons - 1, wedges
- Salmon fillets - 1 lb
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
- Quinoa, uncooked - 2/3 cup
- Stock, any type - 1 1/3 cup
- Asparagus - 10 oz, trimmed
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
- Water - 1 Tbsp
- Quinoa - (Double if making Tuesday’s meal.) Combine quinoa with stock in a saucepan. Add some salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat, keep covered, and cook until liquid is absorbed, 8 to 10 minutes. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Make pesto - (This makes enough for 2 nights.) Toast nuts in a dry skillet or frying pan until fragrant and golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Peel garlic cloves. Place nuts, garlic, parmesan cheese (if using), basil leaves, and lemon juice in a food processor. Pulse until all ingredients are well chopped. With food processor running, drizzle in olive oil until smooth. (Add some additional olive oil if needed to help everything blend.) Season to taste with some salt and pepper. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Make pesto butter - Defrost butter in the microwave just until soft. Combine butter with pesto (portion for salmon). Reserve remaining pesto for Wednesday. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Asparagus - Trim asparagus. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Lemons - Slice into wedges. (Can be done 1 day ahead)
- Salmon - Rinse and pat dry. Season with some salt and pepper.
- Heat a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add cooking oil (portion for asparagus) and then asparagus. Sear asparagus, turning with tongs to get it started cooking on all sides. Add water and cover the pan with a lid to steam the asparagus until tender, ~3 minutes for thin spears and up to 8 minutes for thick spears. Season with some salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Wipe out pan and return to heat. Add cooking oil (portion for salmon). Cook fish on both sides until golden brown and cooked through, 6 to 10 minutes total, depending on thickness.
- If quinoa was made ahead, reheat in the microwave (reserve half if doubled).
- Serve salmon and asparagus over quinoa. Spoon pesto butter over salmon while fish is still warm. Serve lemon wedges on the side. Enjoy!
We grilled the salmon and asparagus and thought it was very good. We made this before with just pesto instead of the compound butter and preferred it so we will do that in the future.0 Helpful
We ended up also adding fresh parsley from our herb garden to the pesto, otherwise followed the recipe and my husband said this was one of his favorite meals ever and he can’t wait to have it again!0 Helpful
Pesto butter for the win!!!0 Helpful
I loved that this meal was so simple but still full of flavor, and it came together pretty quickly with the pesto made ahead. I roasted my asparagus but otherwise followed the recipe as written.0 Helpful
I just did mayo topped with store-bought Vons brand pesto, and it was super yummy. Loved the couscous with beef broth. Kids liked this recipe too.0 Helpful
This meal was underwhelming in my humble opinion.0 Helpful