JVRP Salmon (Salmon with Pesto, Sundried Tomato Paste, and Lemon)

My terrible photos really do not do this one justice! This is my recipe for JVRP Salmon, named for the excavation where I first made this dish. I was looking for something to make for a potluck, but only had access to a barbecue and a small electric hob. Knowing that most people would make meat on the grill, I decided to go for fish, and make use of the magic that is aluminum foil. This dish can be made very quickly if you’re short on time, but two of the more complicated ingredients can be made from scratch, if you are looking to make the whole thing a bit more involved.

The easy way:

  • Salmon filets (here I used 3 small ones, which was enough for two people)
  • 5 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1-1 1/2 lemons, sliced into 1/4″ or 1/2″ roundels (no ends)
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped into 1″ pieces
  • 3/4-1 cup pesto (Want to do this the “hard” way? Here is my pesto recipe.)
  • 3/4-1 cup sundried tomato paste (Want to do this one the “hard” way, too? Here you go!)
  • Salt to taste

Place the salmon filets in a large pan, and surround them with the onions and garlic. Squeeze the lemon roundels over the fish, and then scatter them on top of and around it. Spoon the pesto and sundried tomato paste evenly around the pan, on both the fish and the onions/garlic. Cover the pan completely but loosely with a piece of aluminum foil, and cook on medium-to-high heat for 3-4 minutes, or until the salmon is pink. The olive oil present in the pesto and paste should keep anything from burning or sticking to the pan.

Next, turn the hob down to low heat, uncover the pan, and stir the loose ingredients around and on top of the salmon, being careful not to move the fish itself too much (you don’t want the meat to separate from the skins). The onions and garlic should have browned a bit. Add a shake of salt if you’d like. Cover the salmon again and cook on low heat for another 5-8 minutes, or until your desired texture is reached (test it with a fork and see how it flakes apart). I have actually kept this going for 20 minutes, with the heat as low as it can go, while waiting for friends to arrive; in that case I didn’t mind that my fish fell apart a bit.

This salmon has a very bold flavor, but its ingredients are all simple and pretty good for you. I served mine with plain basmati rice this time, but I have also done it on its own and with a simple salad on the side. And yes, you can eat the lemons if you can stomach them!

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