This is, hands-down, my favorite salmon preparation. I first had this while doing an apprenticeship at Restaurant Zoe in downtown Seattle. French-trained and passionate for Pacific Northwest fare, Scott Staples–owner and Executive Chef–creates a menu like none other. If you ever find yourself hungry in the Emerald City, I highly recommend both the atmosphere and the food.
But back to the recipe! Like I said, I love this prep. The sauteed salmon alone offers a deliciously crisp exterior to contrast the moist interior, but the fresh basil crust sends it over the top. Added bonus? This is super quick and easy to make, especially if your salmon is already skinned and filleted for you. Another tip: To create perfect chiffonade of fresh basil, stack your leaves and then roll them up tightly. Use your knife to make thin slices from one of the rolled up ends; when the basil unfurls, you’ll have perfect little ribbons of basil for your salmon.
1 pound salmon fillet, skin removed and discarded
2 Tb extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 handfuls fresh basil leaves
Lemon wedges to serve, if desired
If your salmon is one large fillet, slice it into 4 equal portions–about 4 oz each. Place the individual fillets in a shallow dish, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
On a clean cutting board, stack your basil leaves, roll, and slice to make thin ribbons of basil (called chiffonade). Sprinkle them into your shallow dish and then toss with the salmon, patting the basil onto the salmon so it sticks.
Heat your remaining tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Carefully add the basil-coated salmon fillets and sear on one side until crisp and lightly browned. Carefully flip and cook until crisp and your salmon is cooked to your desired level of doneness. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve immediately!
Nutrition Information for one serving (4 oz fillet of salmon): 269 calories, 16 g total fat, 3 g saturated fat, 0 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 31 g protein