Crusted salmon was for dinner but I was far too exhausted to notice. In a half coherent state I sat at the table. Sitting felt good--I could stay a while. There wasn't much for conversation that night, neither of us had the energy. But we ate, filling our bellies with nourishment.
With each bite my eyes grew more weary, begging my head to find a pillow. My fork would waver, just above my next bite, and then hesitate as I mustered every ounce of energy to slice off a piece. Have you ever been so tired? Somehow I managed my way through a few more bites, until my eyes just would not stay open any longer, and I slumped in my chair.
In my next moment of consciousness, my dad is waking me with a start: Caitlin! Caitlin. I jolted upright. Where am I? It took a few seconds for me to realize what had happened. My plate, still warm, sat in front of me unmoved. I rubbed my eyes. Sleep, I just wanted sleep. My dad took the sign and sent me to bed, dinner half eaten. Sleep. I love sleep.
I was recently reminded of how much I love sleep, so I remembered this story. I was too tired to know what was for dinner that night, but this is a dish that my dad would serve regularly: salmon crusted with a nutty herb topping. I think his recipe used Panko and pecans--or maybe not, I can't quite remember. This version uses walnuts, parsley, and oregano, and it echoes my memories from that same dinner table where I fell asleep half way through dinner.
Serves: 4 | Total Time:
- 1 pound salmon fillet
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1/2 cup parsley, minced
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon each of salt & pepper
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and place salmon on top. Set aside.
- Place walnuts, parsley, oregano, garlic, lemon zest, and salt & pepper in food processor. Pulse until a fine crumb forms.
- Using your hands, pat crumb mixture oven the fleshy side of the fish, creating an even layer (watch the video above!)
- Place salmon in the oven and bake for 8-15 minutes, until salmon is flakely and opaque (8 minutes for a thin fillet, 12 for a medium fillet, and 15 for a thicker fillet). Remove from oven and allow to cool 5-10 minutes before serving.