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A&E >  Food

Dorothy Dean presents: Make this pesto-crusted salmon one of your go-to recipes

UPDATED: Tue., March 28, 2017, 8:55 p.m.

This pesto-crusted salmon, served on a bed of pesto-dill penne pasta, is one of Audrey Alfaro’s go-to dishes. (Audrey Alfaro / Audrey Alfaro)
This pesto-crusted salmon, served on a bed of pesto-dill penne pasta, is one of Audrey Alfaro’s go-to dishes. (Audrey Alfaro / Audrey Alfaro)
By Audrey Alfaro For The Spokesman-Review

I spend a month every summer in Alaska, enjoying sun-filled nights of fishing the Kenai River.

These vacations leave our freezer stocked full of salmon. So I’m always looking for new ways to cook it up.

But here’s one of my go-to recipes. The flavor, textures and ease of this recipe will make it one of your favorites as well.

Pesto-Crusted Salmon

with Pesto-Dill Penne Pasta

From Audrey Alfaro

1 pound penne pasta

5 tablespoons olive oil, divided

3/4 cup pesto, divided

1 cup diced tomatoes

3 tablespoons basil, chopped

3 tablespoons dill, chopped

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided

To taste: Salt, pepper, lemon pepper and garlic powder

4 (4-ounce) salmon filets, skinless and boneless

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 9-11 minutes.

Drain pasta and place in large bowl. Add in 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/4 cup pesto, tomatoes, basil, dill and 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice. Season to taste with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Toss to combine.

Meanwhile, set oven to 350 degrees. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in large oven-safe skillet over medium high heat.

Pat dry salmon filets and season lightly with salt, lemon pepper and garlic powder. Place top side down, in hot skillet. Let sear 3-4 minutes, until browned and crisp. Flip over filets and slather evenly with 1-2 tablespoons of pesto. Sprinkle on panko crumbs, drizzle with remaining olive oil, and place skillet in oven. Bake for about 5 minutes and then switch oven to broil. Broil on high for 1-2 minutes, until panko is golden and crisp. Serve over pasta with lemon wedges.

Audrey Alfaro is a wife, mother and self-described “foul-mouthed chef” who loves horror flicks, fried chicken and vodka. Not together, but just in general. She was a contestant on Food Network’s “Halloween Baking Championship” and writes her Spoon & Swallow food blog at

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