Monday, April 30, 2012

Sunday Night's Pesto Roasted Salmon & Bruschetta Gnocchi

Youngest son came for Sunday dinner and one of his favorite things to eat is salmon.  I decided to try something different with salmon and got the idea from a recipe I had seen on another blog, "Proud Italian Cook".  I absolutely love her blog.  In her recipe, she roasted salmon that she topped with pesto (using her own homemade pesto with roasted garlic) sounded wonderful.  I decided to make a quicker version by just using store bought fresh pesto.  I was initially a bit concerned that the pesto might overpower the delicate flavor of the salmon, but found out that it actually does not.  What I realize is that typically, most of us have eaten pesto in its raw state, simply tossed with cooked pasta...where the herb and garlic flavor is significantly stronger more pungent.  But in this particular recipe, since the pesto is added prior to cooking, it cooks along with the salmon so any strong flavors are muted by the cooking process and you are left with a very delicate herb flavor that really complements the salmon's delicate flavor.  We thoroughly enjoyed this dish and will definitely be making it again!

This recipe was so easy and I must say...absolutely delicious.  I used a large 2+ pound piece of salmon that I cut it into individual filets.  I placed the salmon filets on a foil lined baking pan, drizzled them with a little olive oil and sprinkled lightly with salt and pepper.  I then brushed them with the fresh pesto sauce and set them aside to "marinate" at room temperature for about 15 minutes.  I placed the salmon filets into a preheated 450 degree oven and then immediately cut the temperature back to 425 degrees and roasted them (uncovered) for 12 minutes.  I removed them from the oven after 12 minutes of roasting and immediately covered them with aluminum foil and let them sit for another 10 minutes to complete the cooking process outside of the oven (under the foil).

Another one of my son's favorites is bruschetta (typically eaten on toasted slices of Italian bread).  He also loves gnocchi (small dumplings made from potato, semolina or flour, typically served with a sauce) I decided to make a side dish to go with our meal that incorporated both of these together in one dish....hence "Bruschetta Gnocchi" was born!  I have been on a bit of a "NatureSweet" Cherubs tomato binge recently (I absolutely love their little oblong red cherry tomatoes called "Cherubs").  This weekend I had also picked up their little yellow cherry tomatoes called "Sunbursts".  While perusing the NatureSweet Facebook page this afternoon, I saw where they had shared a link for The Pioneer Woman's "Bruschetta Chicken" where she had used both of their red and yellow colorful little gems in her bruschetta...and the light bulb went off.  I knew what our side dish was going to be to accompany our Pesto Roasted was going to be "Bruschetta Gnocchi".  I used her bruschetta recipe as the inspiration to create my "Bruschetta Gnocchi" in my recipe below, her recipe has been modified a little...but it is very similar to hers.  I added a small baby romaine salad to the plate to balance out the meal.  This was a delicious and nutritious meal and the salmon was literally "melt in your mouth tender"...everyone loved it.  I've posted the recipe and pics for both the Pesto Roasted Salmon and Bruschetta Gnocchi below.  Enjoy!

These were beautiful salmon filets -- I cooked extra to use through the week.
After seasoning with olive oil, salt and pepper...I added a dollop of pesto to each filet
The pesto sauce has been spread on top of the filets and they will "marinate" for 15 minutes

I roasted extra salmon to use for salads during the week
These are the gorgeous tomatoes I used -- NatureSweet Cherubs and Sunbursts
Gently heating the tomatoes in the pan after sauteing the garlic

The garlic and "gently" heated tomatoes are tossed with the balsamic vinegar, basil, salt & pepper
The cooked gnocchi are lightly sauteed in olive oil
The gnocchi are tossed with the tomato mixture and ready to be served
Just in case you were wondering if it was tender...IT WAS ABSOLUTELY PERFECT!

Pesto Roasted Salmon


1-2 pounds of salmon filets (or enough for the number of people you're serving)
Olive oil for drizzling
Salt & pepper, to taste
Pesto, homemade or store bought fresh

On a foil lined baking pan, lightly drizzle each salmon filet with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper.  Spread each filet with a dollop (tablespoon or so) of pesto and set aside to "marinate" for about 15 minutes.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Place salmon in oven and immediately reduce heat to 425 degrees and roast/bake for 12 minutes.  Remove salmon from oven and immediately cover tightly with foil for an additional 10-15 minutes to complete the cooking out of the oven under the foil cover.  Enjoy!


Bruschetta Gnocchi
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 cup red cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (I used NatureSweet Cherubs)
  • 1 cup yellow cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (I used NatureSweet Sunbursts)
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 8 whole fresh basil leaves, sliced thinly (chiffonade)
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound gnocchi, cooked according to package directions
  • Fresh grated Parmesan cheese (I used Parmigiano Reggiano)
In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and stir, lightly sauteing for a few minutes until very lightly browned; toss in the tomatoes and continue sauteing for a few minutes until the tomatoes are heated through (do not cook them, just heat through). Pour tomato/garlic mixture into a mixing bowl and stir in balsamic vinegar; allow to cool slightly, then stir in fresh basil.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

Wipe skillet out and drizzle in a little more oil; toss in cooked gnocchi and saute, stirring frequently, until very lightly browned or golden.  Toss gnocchi into the bowl of tomatoes and stir to combine.  Serve immediately, topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

These are the gnocchi I used for this dish
Dessert was a piece of store bought Sour Cream Angel Food Cake served with the Fresh Strawberry Sauce I made on was light, quick and delicious

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