Make salmon a staple of your weekly menu with this simple, delicious recipe
"Home with the Lost Italian" columnist Sarah Nasello shares her recipe for Sugar and Spice Dijon Crusted Salmon that she says is quick, easy and oh, so flavorful.
FARGO — Salmon is a staple of my family’s weekly menu, and this Sugar and Spice Dijon Crusted Salmon is one of my favorite go-to recipes when I need an easy weeknight dinner option. Even better, this simple dish is ridiculously delicious and can be on your table in well under an hour from start to finish.
Salmon is a terrific source of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as a host of other important nutrients and vitamins. While we appreciate its nutritional role in our weekly diet, it is salmon’s rich and meaty flavor that keeps it at the top of our favorite fish list.
When it comes to buying salmon, our variety of choice is fresh Atlantic salmon, which is typically the most affordable and widely available in our area. This recipe calls for 2 pounds of fresh salmon with the skin removed, and you can either buy a whole side of salmon or use individual fillets (skinless sides of salmon are a regular item in stock at Costco).
When cooking with fresh fish, I always rinse the fillet under cool water for at least a minute or so to remove any impurities, and then I pat it dry with a paper towel.
I named this recipe for the unique blend of flavors it features, which are amplified in complementary layers atop the salmon. The first layer is a thin coating of Dijon mustard, which gives the salmon a wonderful punch of tangy flavor and acts as the binding agent for the sugar and breadcrumb coatings.
Next, a mixture of brown sugar and spices is pressed onto the Dijon layer to add a touch of sweet complexity to the dish. The brown sugar melts into the Dijon as the salmon bakes to create a crave-worthy, sweet-and-sour taste experience.
The final layer is a combination of panko breadcrumbs, melted butter, fresh parsley and lemon zest. The crispy, Japanese-style breadcrumbs enhance the overall texture of the salmon, while the parsley and lemon zest add a finishing splash of color and bright flavor.
I bake this salmon dish on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, and to keep it as juicy as possible, I fold the edges up close to the salmon. This encasement keeps the juices from running all over the sheet and helps the salmon to stay moist.
The salmon bakes in a 425-degree oven until it is cooked through, which only takes about 15 to 18 minutes, depending on your oven. The best way to check for doneness is to insert a fork or knife into the thickest part of the fillet and gently pull it to the side — the juices should run clear, and the salmon should appear fully opaque and flaky.
Once the salmon is done, I grace it with a dousing of freshly squeezed lemon and serve it immediately. Quick, easy and oh, so flavorful, this Sugar and Spice Dijon Crusted Salmon is a proven weeknight winner. Enjoy.
Sugar and Spice Dijon Crusted Salmon
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Serves: 4 to 6
2 pounds salmon fillet, skin removed
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
½ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
Zest of 1 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Juice of 1 lemon (optional)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and drizzle grease with 1 tablespoon olive or canola oil. Rinse the salmon fillet under cool water and pat dry with a paper towel. Place the fillet on the prepared baking sheet, flat side down, and brush the top with Dijon mustard to cover the entire surface.
In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, cayenne, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, mix together breadcrumbs, parsley, lemon zest and melted butter.
Press the brown sugar mixture evenly over the Dijon coating, followed by the breadcrumb mixture. Fold the foil up close to the salmon to preserve the juices as it bakes.
Bake in the center of the oven until the coating is golden brown and the salmon is fully cooked inside, about 15 to 18 minutes. To check for doneness, insert a knife or fork into the thickest part and gently pull it to the side — the salmon should appear fully opaque and flaky.
Remove from oven and squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top, as desired. Serve immediately.
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Recipes can be found with the article at InForum.com.
“Home with the Lost Italian” is a weekly column written by Sarah Nasello featuring recipes by her husband, Tony Nasello. The couple owned Sarello’s in Moorhead and lives in Fargo with their son, Giovanni. Readers can reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org.