This 15-minute fish-dish perfectly pairs two omega-3 heavy hitters: salmon and walnuts. Goodbye boring! Hello healthy heart.
Ahhhh…Saturdays. I must admit, aside from a quick jaunt to the gym, I haven’t done much today. It’s not that have nothing to do, it’s just that I haven’t done it. Today’s to-do list looks something like this: do four loads of laundry, pay some bills, walk our new dog (twice at least), call my mother, vacuum dog hair off the couch, switch to the new Verizon plan, practice training dog to sit, pack for New York, practice training dog to stay, clean my home office… but…it’s already 4 p.m. and I’m getting hungry!
Looks like that to-do list is going to have to wait until tomorrow because right now, I’m making Sweet and Spicy Walnut Crusted Salmon. Sometimes procrastination pays off!
What kind of salmon? For this recipe I used frozen salmon, which was probably farm-raised. While it’s true that wild caught salmon is usually higher in omega 3 fats (the kind that protect you from heart disease) any kind of salmon, including canned salmon, is still a heart-healthy choice. (Don’t use canned salmon in this recipe though…. Noooooo. Never.)
Chipotle Power! The spices used in this recipe are spices I like but admittedly, they are not for everyone. The chipotle powder and smoked paprika might be too smoky – or too spicy – for some of you. If that’s the case, use regular paprika instead of the smoked paprika and use chili powder instead of the chipotle powder. The recipe will still work out fine. It just won’t be as flavorful and for some of you, that might be a good thing.
Why real maple syrup? Trust me, 100% real maple syrup tastes way better than Mrs. B. or Auntie J. Why? Both the salmon and the spices impart A LOT of flavor and the more-processed, milder maple syrup won’t let the “sweet” in this dish present itself. Follow the directions and be true to the title: sweet and spicy.
Need to know nut info: I am a toasted nut lover. It’s hard to find nuts that aren’t toasted in my cupboard. But, toasted nuts will NOT work well in this recipe. The heat is too high and if you start with nuts that are already toasted, they’ll burn half way through the cooking time. Also, and this is V important, during the last 1-2 minutes of cooking time don’t step away from the broiler. I repeat don’t step away from the broiler. Don’t pour yourself a glass of wine. Don’t check your Instagram. The nuts WILL burn if you don’t watch them. Every oven – and every broiler in every oven – is a little different so keep your eyes on the fish – and the nuts! Last, if all goes south and the nuts do burn they’ll most likely scrape off in one easy piece. Just spread a little honey mustard on the salmon and you’ll be good to go. Cooking is all about being flexible. 😉
Are you hungry yet? Grab your fish, your nuts, and your spices. You’ll be an A+ nut-cruster in no time.
Peace, love, and good eats; from our Empty Nest to yours.
Sweet and Spicy Walnut Crusted Salmon
Maple-y, nutty, crunchy goodness. A new twist on salmon.
- 2 (5-6 oz.) salmon fillets
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 teaspoon each, smoked paprika, chipotle powder, onion powder
- 1 large clove crushed garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
- Pat fish fillets dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- In a small bowl, combine the nuts, spices, crushed garlic, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and soy sauce. Stir well.
- Place salmon fillets on a plate and spoon the nut mixture over each piece as evenly as you can. Pat to hold in place. Place in the refrigerator uncovered for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
- Place fish fillets on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cook the fish for about 10-12 minutes, depending on desired doneness and thickness of the fillets. Turn the oven to broil and broil 1-2 minutes until the "crust" becomes crispy. (Watch closely so the nuts don't burn!)
- Remove from oven and drizzle with a little maple syrup just before serving, if desired.