November 24, 2021

Pan-Seared Pesto Salmon


  • 6 cups Basil (washed and spun in the salad spinner)
  • ½ cup walnuts (halves or pieces, whichever you have)
  • ¾ cup parmesan
  • 2 garlic cloves (peeled)
  • 1 tsp sea salt for the pesto plus a bit more for seasoning the fish
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • 1 Pride of Bristol Bay Wild Salmon Fillet
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter



Early in my rose bush owning years, I was cautious before stripping the bush of blossoms just so that I could have a nice bouquet on my table. Then I learned that the more you cut, the more you get. This lesson does not only apply to rose bushes — my basil has gone mad since I started regularly trimming the ends off. And by mad, I mean that I was able to harvest an obscene amount of basil so that after I made pesto, my neighbors could too. 

So, if you have basil in your garden, don’t feel guilty taking 6 cups of leaves so that you can make fresh pesto because it is amazing on some pan-seared Pride of Bristol Bay Wild Alaskan sockeye salmon. Besides, pruning is how you get a plant to give you more. 

I took the easy route, once the gardening was done, and opted for walnuts instead of pine nuts because they don’t require toasting beforehand, and they are less than half the price. While I served it on a bed of mashed potatoes, it works equally well on pasta, polenta or rice. 

Oh, and the leftover homemade Pesto Sauce? You will never go back to shelf stable store bought jars of pesto again. Use the extra pesto to add a zing to a sandwich, use it as a simple pasta sauce, or drop a heaping spoonful to the next pot of soup you make. 

Pesto Instructions

1. Put nuts, cheese and garlic in a food processor and pulse until finely ground, about 1 minute. Note: Pulse is important so that you don’t end up making nut-butter with the nuts. 

2. Add the basil and salt, then place the top back on. 

3. With the motor running, add oil in a slow and steady stream until pesto is mostly smooth, with just a few flecks of green, about 1 minute. 

4. Set aside while you cook the Wild Salmon and side dishes. (Store the extra in the refrigerator and if you want to keep the green vibrant, drizzle the top with more olive oil).

 Pan-Searing Salmon

1. Portion the Wild Salmon and check for pin-bones. 

2. Pat dry with a clean paper towel (this is an important step).

3. Sprinkle the flesh side of each Wild Salmon fillet with sea salt.

4. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

5. When the pan is hot, add the Wild Salmon flesh side down and cook for approximately 4 minutes.

6. Flip the Wild Salmon and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes (when the skin easily separates from the flesh, it is a good indication that the timing is right).

7. Plate the fish on your choice of carb and top with the fresh pesto, then serve immediately.

Nancy Ingersoll


Nancy Ingersoll is a recipe developer and food photographer in San Diego, California. Always up for adventure, she learned the art of sauces and soufflés from one of James Beard Award winner Roy’s Yamaguchi’s executive chefs, and her curious spirit has been fed with cooking classes domestically and abroad. Nancy is also known as The Creative Resource and you can find her work on nancyingersoll.com and on instagram as @thecreativeresource.


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