Juicy, grilled salmon skewers brushed with basil, garlic and baby spinach pesto, this pesto salmon recipe is to die for! If you’re not sure what to serve with salmon and pesto, then tenderstem broccoli and kale drizzled with brown butter, lemon and capers makes for a brilliant combo. It’s packed with goodness too, making for a really healthy and delicious dish where each element works beautifully together.
The salmon and pesto skewers are so quick and easy to make, with no fiddly or time consuming marinading going on. Simply, whizz up the spinach pesto, grill the salmon, then brush with the beautiful basilly oil. As far as a pesto salmon recipe goes, it doesn’t get easier than that. When choosing salmon, pick nice thick fillets with the skin on, they’ll remain much juicer when you cook them and are packed with flavour. Try to get ones that are MSC certified too, as that means they’re a more sustainable choice. The pesto is actually a vegan spinach pesto as there’s no parmesan being used, so be sure to try it out on your vegan friends, it’s delicious!
Whilst the salmon and pesto skewers are beautiful, the greens almost steal the show. A tenderstem broccoli and kale side, that’s so vibrant and delicious. Tenderstem broccoli season is in full swing here in the UK, so I love to eat mountains of the stuff (like in this EPIC lamb recipe right here). It’s loaded with vitamin A & C, along with a good hit of fibre and vegan protein too. It tastes great when grilled, so I fired up the griddle pan and got a nice char on it. When griddling it, I tend to place a saucepan lid on top of the tenderstem broccoli, this presses it down a little so you get nice grill marks, but it also makes for a slightly steamier environment that helps to make it extra vibrant. If it’s charring too much, add a splash of water and cover again with the lid, to let it steam a little more. To add a really nice crunch to the side, I planned to add crispy kale leaves….BUT I couldn’t get any, DOH! Instead I went with savoy cabbage leaves, seasoned them generously and quickly roasted them. They turned out great! Just as tasty as crispy kale, but half the price of Cavolo Nero, boom! Definitely going to use that again.
Finally, to finish this salmon and pesto dish off beautifully, I made a supremely delicious beurre noisette. If you’ve never made one, go and make one right now! So simple, but absolutely divine. Noisette means hazelnut in French and if you heat butter until it starts to brown, it takes on a really lovely nutty flavour. Once you get it there, a good squeeze of lemon and a few capers make it something really special. I add a good hit of black pepper too. In this pesto salmon recipe I used it with tenderstem broccoli, but it would also be delicious with asparagus when it’s back in season. Once you’ve mastered it, it works with so many dishes. Try it with seafood, grilled meat or just beautiful veg. You can also add fresh herbs like parsley, tarragon or fresh thyme, choose ones that won’t brown easily due to the acidity of the lemon. Let me know how you use it in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!
Take it easy everyone and have a great weekend x
The Perfect Pesto Salmon Recipe with Grilled Tenderstem Broccoli
Vegan Spinach Pesto
- 60 g Young spinach leaves
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 25 g pine nuts toasted
- 20 ml lemon juice
- 30 ml Extra virgin olive oil
- 1.5 tbsp water
- 12 large cavolo nero leaves (or savoy cabbage leaves if unavailable)
- 10 ml olive oil
- 150 g tenderstem broccoli thicker spears halved
- 2 thick salmon fillets skin on
- half a courgette, sliced into ribbons (use a peeler)
- 30 g butter
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- A handful small capers drained and rinsed
- Preheat the oven to 180°C or 350°F. Preheat a griddle pan to medium high.
- In a small processor, blitz all the pesto ingredients.
- Toss the cavolo nero in oil, arrange on a baking tray & roast in oven for 8-10 minutes, or until crisp. In griddle pan, griddle tenderstem (in batches) for about 3 minutes per side (see tips at start of post) or until tender & cooked. Keep warm.
- Griddle the salmon skin side down for about 3-4 minutes, flip & brush with pesto. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until cooked to your liking. Brush with more pesto & keep warm.
- In a small frying pan, heat remaining butter until foaming. Keep stirring until it become a deep golden brown colour. When it smells nutty & delicious, add lemon juice, capers & season.
- Arrange greens on two plates & drizzle with beurre noisette. Add salmon & a few dollops of pesto. Serve.