Salmon with Pesto Butter
and cauliflower rice / 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
- Basil, fresh - 1 1/2 oz
- Lemon juice - 2 tsp
- Oil, olive - 4 Tbsp
- Cauliflower florets - 16 oz
- Butter - 2 Tbsp + 4 Tbsp
- Basil pesto (ingredients listed separately) - 2 Tbsp
- Lemons - 1, wedges
- Salmon fillets - 1 1/4 lbs
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
- Asparagus - 10 oz, trimmed
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
- Water - 1 Tbsp
- Cauliflower rice - Pulse florets in a food processor until broken up into ‘rice’-sized bits. Cook rice in one of two ways: 1) Microwave for 4 to 5 minutes and then fold in first portion of butter. Season with some salt and pepper; or 2) Heat a pan over medium-high heat and add first portion of butter. Saute cauliflower in heated butter for ~5 minutes, until tender but still crunchy. Season to taste with some salt and pepper. Watch this video for the full how-to on cauliflower rice. (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, 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 second portion of 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 cauliflower rice was made ahead, reheat in the microwave.
- Serve salmon and asparagus over cauliflower rice. Spoon pesto butter over salmon while fish is still warm. Serve lemon wedges on the side. Enjoy!
This was delicious. I didn't have quinoa in the house so I used GF pasta instead for the side. Kid tested partner approved!0 Helpful
First time cooking salmon and it turned out great! The butter pesto was amazing!0 Helpful
Easy, simple salmon dish with so much flavor from that pesto butter! The only thing I would change is that I would bake the asparagus rather than pan fry.0 Helpful
Pesto butter was awesome. We really enjoyed this meal0 Helpful
The butter topping was really delicious! I couldn't figure out how many leaves 1 1/2 oz of basil was, so based on other recipes I found online I ended up using roughly 2 cups of basil. I had to add a lot of salt and pepper plus some extra lemon juice to the pesto, but it turned out great.0 Helpful
Wow. Need I say more?0 Helpful