Pepita & Kumquat Crusted Salmon

Confession: I stole these kumquats off a tree down the street. Burrito Lover said it’s public property because it’s wedged in between the sidewalk, so like, I’m good right? Don’t call the cops, guys. Please, I’m begging you. And don’t mention the one time in the 3rd grade I stole chapstick from a grocery store and then felt so bad I abandoned the Lipsmacker in the dumpster outside 6 seconds later. I’m a really good person, I swear.

Never mind how they were acquired, kumquats are sweet in more sense than one. These tart little citrus babies are full of vitamin C, which may help you avoid the plague of illness I encountered the entire month of February. Plus they’re high in other cancer and free-radical fighting antioxidants like vitamin E and vitamin A. Bonus: you can eat the peel. How convenient.

Creamy tahini and aromatic Dijon are slathered on thick salmon steaks and sprinkled generously with crunchy toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and sesame seeds to form the perfect golden crust. Paired with smoky charred onions and juicy kumquats, you’ve got your bases covered with protein, omega-3’s, and fiber. Pinkies up.

If you’re at a loss for kumquats, sub in some lemon. You’ll still reap maximum nutrition and flavor.

As for me, I’m off to Washington to meet my new nephew! I know what you’re thinking; “weren’t you just posing in a pic with your brand new infant niece?” Yes, everyone in my family is having babies and infants are flying everywhere. I can’t keep up. But it’s exciting.

Ciao!

Pepita & Kumquat Crusted Salmon

Makes: 2 servings

  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2, 6-oz fresh wild salmon fillets, skin on
  • 2 tablespoons pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 kumquats, peel on
  • 5 green onions
  • Chives, for garnish
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. First, place salmon fillets skin-side down on a plate and spread 1 tablespoon of tahini and 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard on each. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, place in the fridge, and let marinate for at least one hour.
  2. While salmon is marinating, place pumpkin seeds in a coffee grinder or food processor and pulse 1-3 times, until crushed into tiny bits. Don’t overgrind or overprocess because the pumpkin seeds will start to resemble a paste (ya don’t make a seed-butter on accident)! You can also take a sharp knife and chop very finely. Pour crushed pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds in a bowl and mix in smoked paprika and salt and pepper, to taste. Pour mixture onto a flat large plate.
  3. When salmon fillets are done marinating, dip each fillet (the side with the marinade on it) into the plate with the seed mixture, coating the fillet completely.
  4. Heat a large heavy pan over medium heat. Once you see it hot and smokin’ pour in the oil and heat until it shimmers. Add salmon fillets to the pan, skin side down, and cook for 5-6 minutes.
  5. While this is cooking, quickly slice one of the kumquats thinly and add it to the pad along with 4 of the green onions. Cook kumquat and onions alongside salmon, turning frequently, until kumquats are slightly charred and green onions are wilted and slightly charred.
  6. The fillets are ready to flip when you look at the flesh from the side and it looks opaque about 3/4 of the way up. Flip carefully and cook another 1-2 minutes. When done, squeeze juice from remaining kumquat over the fillets and remove from heat.
  7. Place charred kumquats on top of fillets. Slice remaining green onion along with chives and serve on top of salmon. Plate salmon with green onions on the side and serve.
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