Grilled Italian Pesto Salmon is such an easy recipe we almost didn’t post it. The recipe takes a few ingredients, and it’s on the table in 30 minutes. The salmon is a beautiful pink color with flaky meat and a delicious buttery taste. All you need are five ingredients and half an hour to impress your family or guests with your pesto salmon.
Wild caught or farm-raised salmon
You plan on making Grilled Italian Pesto Salmon, and now you’re at the grocery store trying to figure out what kind of fish to buy. The wild caught fish is almost double the price of the farm-raised variety. It’s quite a dilemma, especially since you’re trying to stay within your food budget.
You’re not the only one who’s confused. Some experts say there really isn’t much difference between the two, while other authorities say that the wild caught is superior. Overall, I found, that there are more proponents for wild caught than farm raised.
Making the decision
Wild salmon obtain their pink hue from their natural environment by feasting on a diet of krill, which eats red algae. Farm-raised salmon gets its color from food additives.
One of the most common dyes used in fish feed is called canthaxanthin. This compound may cause eye defects and retinal damage. Other issues that cause concern are the toxins and contaminants. They are higher in farm salmon than in wild salmon.
The antibiotics used in the farm-raised fish stay there and enter your system. There is also the environmental impact the industrial farms have on the surrounding waterways.
All in all, we prefer wild caught for our pesto salmon, but the decision is yours, of course.
Putting it all together
Once you purchase the salmon fillet with skin on the one side, the only other ingredients you’ll need is prepared pesto, green onions, fresh lemon juice, and garlic cloves. I’ll be willing to bet that a lot of you have those ingredients in your kitchen right now.
One important step before grilling the salmon is to feel the flesh for bones. The bones are easy to pull out with heavy duty tweezers or pliers. We have a special pair of needle nose pliers we keep in the kitchen just for this purpose.
Grilling the Italian pesto salmon
You make the pesto sauce by combining the prepared pesto, onions, lemon juice, and garlic in a small bowl. Put the salmon on the medium heated grill (350F), skin side down. Grill for about 5 minutes, then spoon a little of the pesto mixture over the fish.
Grill with the lid down about 15 minutes longer or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Baste the salmon occasionally with the remaining pesto sauce. In 30 minutes you have a delicious and nutritious protein that is low in calories, high in vitamins, and a family that thinks you’re a genius for creating such a wonderful dish.
This is a recipe that even non-fish lovers will enjoy. I learned to use pesto with fish, such as our grilled mahi mahi, from my mamma. It is such an easy way to add flavor.
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Tutti a tavola è pronto!
Un caro saluto e alla prossima.
Grilled Italian Pesto Salmon 30 Minutes Start to Finish
A quick recipe that yields a buttery, flaky, beautifully grilled pink salmon that will become a family favorite. Five ingredients are all that you need for this outstanding dish that is impressive enough for company.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings
- Category: Main dish, seafood
- Cuisine: American, Italian
- 1 salmon fillet (1 1/2 pounds)
- 1/2 cup prepared pesto (we used our homemade pesto)* see note
- 2 green onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- lemon wedges to serve with salmon
- In a small bowl, whisk the pesto, onions, lemon juice, and garlic. Add a few grinds of pepper and a pinch of salt.
- Lightly coat the grill rack with cooking oil or spray. Heat grill to medium high heat (350 F.).
- Once the grill reaches the proper temperature, place salmon skin side down on the grill rack.
- Grill covered over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
- Spoon some of the pesto sauce over the salmon taking care it doesn’t flame up.
- Grill 15 minutes longer or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Baste occasionally with the remaining pesto sauce.
- Serve with lemon wedges.
Whatever salmon you have left over, use the next day on a salad or mix it with pasta for a delicious pasta dish.
*If you’re interested in our homemade pesto recipe we’ll gladly post it.
Adapted from Taste of Home’s Pesto Grilled Salmon Recipe
- Serving Size: 4 ounces
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