Go Nutty With Salmon and Toasted Pecans

Pecans’ rich, buttery flavor makes them among the most popular snack nuts in America—so popular, April is National Pecan Month!  Understandably so, because this nut is not only delicious, it’s a natural source of antioxidants, omega-6 fatty acids, and fiber, high in protein and perfect for lowering cholesterol.

This North American native grows from Mexico up through the southern and central United States, particularly in the Mississippi River basin.  Pecans are most closely related to the walnut, as they both have hard outer shells.  That outer shell is why the Algonquin Indians called both these nuts “paccan,” meaning a nut so hard, it had to be cracked open with a rock.  These delicious nuts remained hidden from Europeans until the 16th century, when the Spaniards brought pecans with them to Europe.

Lucky for us, the pecan is now grown from Australia to Canada to Israel, but the United States still produces about 80 percent of the world’s pecans.  Pecans are so widely grown in Texas, the state even made the pecan its state tree.  So put away your rocks and head to the grocery store, because these nuts now come shelled in bags!  That’s a good thing, because you’ll need two cups of them for this delicious pecan-crusted salmon recipe.

SALMON WITH TOASTED PECANS

INGREDIENTS:

8 salmon fillets, 4 ounces each

Cooking spray

2 cups whole pecans

1 clove garlic, minced with Kyocera’s Santoku knife

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, to 1/2 tsp

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Layer pecans and toast in 350°F oven for 20–25 minutes.  When toasted, chop in food processor until finely ground.

Add garlic, salt, and cayenne pepper to pecans in food processor.  Blend.

Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Brush salmon fillets with olive oil, then coat with pecan mixture.  Add coated fillets to skillet and lightly sauté until browned on one side.  Flip fillets and sauté to desired doneness, approximately 5–6 minutes per side.



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