Pesto Crusted Salmon

2 servings
20 min

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20 minute baked salmon with a delicious pesto, Parmesan and panko crust. A flavourful weeknight-friendly recipe made with just 5 ingredients in your oven or air fryer.


The post contains additional information and helpful tips to ensure the recipe turns out great the first time. Please use the link above to jump to the recipe card at the end if you are in a hurry!

✅ 6 reasons why you'll love this recipe


  • Quick and easy - this baked salmon fillet with a tasty pesto, panko and Parmesan crust will be ready in 20 minutes.
  • Uses 5 everyday ingredients - you can get everything you need to make this recipe in your local store.
  • Flavourful - buttery baked salmon, topped with herby pesto, umami Parmesan and crunchy panko breadcrumbs.
  • Nutritious - this tasty baked salmon recipe provides a good dose omega 3, protein and vitamin B.
  • Recipe includes oven and air fryer instructions.
  • Versatile - serve your yummy pesto salmon fillets with pasta, rice, green veg or a simple green salad.


🛒 Ingredients and variations:


This recipe just requires 5 everyday ingredients that you will be able to find at your local store:


  • Salmon fillets - buy skinless if you can. You cannot get the skin crispy when you bake salmon, so it's best to start without it or remove it with a sharp knife. This recipe will also work well with trout or white fish like cod or sea bass. Avoid using smoked fish as the flavour may be overpowering when combined with the pesto.
  • Pesto - you can use jarred, fresh or make your own. This recipe has been tested with store-bought fresh pesto.
  • Parmesan - can be switched for other hard cheeses with a similar flavour profile such as Grana Padano or pecorino.
  • Panko breadcrumbs - use store bought or make your own from scratch.
🧑‍🍳 Pesto crusted salmon in 3 easy steps


1. Prep


Oven:


Heat your oven to 180C or 300F. Remove excess moisture from the salmon fillets with kitchen paper. Mix the parmesan and panko breadcrumbs in a small bowl and brush a baking dish with a thin layer of olive oil.


Place the salmon fillets into the baking dish facing up, spread them with an even layer of pesto and sprinkle with the panko and Parmesan mixture.


Air fryer:


Heat the air fryer to 200C or 400F and brush the basket and the salmon fillets with a thin layer of oil. Mix the parmesan and panko breadcrumbs in a small bowl.


Top tip: Use skinless salmon fillets or remove the skin with a sharp knife before you begin. You can't crisp up the skin when you bake salmon so it's best to remove it.

2. Bake / air fry


Oven: Place the salmon fillets in the oven for 10 minutes then place them under the grill for the final 2-3 minutes to get the topping extra crispy.


Air fryer: Air Fry the salmon fillets for 7-8 minutes then remove them from the air fryer and spread with pesto and sprinkle the Parmesan and panko mixture on top. Return to the air fryer for 2-3 minutes until the topping is crispy.


Top tip: Salmon is done when the flesh is opaque the whole way through or the internal temperature has reached 50C or 125F.

3. Serve


Serve immediately with your choice of sides.

👍 Top tips for perfect baked pesto crusted salmon


  1. Remove the skin (or buy skinless salmon fillets) - salmon skin is delicious when it is crispy, but that is not possible when you bake it. It's best to buy skinless fillets or remove the skin before you get started. You can grill the skin separately if you would like and enjoy some crispy skin on the side.
  2. Adjust the timings depending on the size and thickness of your salmon fillets - Get the best results by checking for doneness instead of following the exact timings in the recipe. This recipe has been tested with salmon fillets that are approx 125g each and 2 cm / ¾ inch thick, but you may need to add/remove some time depending on the size of your fillets. Assess doneness by cutting into one of the fillets to see if the flesh is opaque in the middle or use a fish thermometer to check that the internal temperature has reached 50C or 125F.
  3. Grill - if you are cooking the salmon fillets in the oven, place them under the grill for 2-3 more minutes to get the topping extra crispy.


🍽 Serving suggestions


Pesto crusted salmon is very versatile and can be enjoyed with pasta, potatoes, rice, green vegetables like beans or broccoli or with a simple side salad.


🙋 FAQs


How do I avoid overcooked salmon?

The best way is to use a fish thermometer to check that the internal temperature has reached 50C or 125F. If you don't have a fish thermometer cut into the thickest part of the salmon to check that the flesh is opaque and cook for a few more minutes if it is still translucent.

Is it okay to eat undercooked salmon?

Only if it is sashimi grade. Otherwise, raw salmon can harbour nasty bacteria and pathogens. Ensure your salmon has reached an internal temperature of 50C or 125F or that the flesh is opaque in the middle when you cut into it.

Do you eat salmon skin?

Salmon skin is safe to eat and is very tasty and nutritious, providing omega 3, vitamin D and B. Salmon skin is delicious when it is crisped up under the grill or by pan-frying. You cannot get yummy crispy skin when you bake salmon, so it's best to remove it and grill or pan-fry it separately if you want to enjoy it.


📦 Storage


The cooked pesto crusted salmon will keep in the fridge for 2 days. Ensure you refrigerate it as soon as it is cool. You can reheat it in the microwave or eat it cold.


😋 Check out my other quick and easy fish recipes


Fish is tasty, nutritious and often very quick and easy to cook. If you enjoyed this pesto crusted salmon, you should check out these other speedy week-night friendly fish recipes.

Panko Baked Cod (Oven Or Air Fryer)

Baked Furikake Salmon

Super Simple Blackened Cod

Grilled Mackerel Rice Bowls With Soy & Mirin Sauce


Did you try this recipe? It would be really great if you could leave a comment and a star rating ⭐️. I would love to receive your feedback and know that other readers find it helpful too.



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📖 Recipe
Recipe details
  • 2  servings
  • Prep time: 5 Minutes Cook time: 15 Minutes Total time: 20 min
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Ingredients

  • 2 fillets salmon (9oz or 250g) Note 1
  • 1 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp parmesan
  • Olive oil for greasing
  • 4 tbsp green pesto
Instructions
Oven method:
Heat your oven to 180C or 300F.
Remove any excess moisture from the salmon fillets with kitchen paper.
If your salmon fillets have skin, use a sharp knife to carefully remove it. (Note 2)
Mix the Parmesan and panko breadcrumbs in a bowl.
Brush the surface of a baking dish with a thin layer of olive oil and place the salmon fillets in.
Spread the pesto onto the salmon fillets then sprinkle them with the panko and parmesan mixture.
Place the baking tray in the oven for approximately 10 minutes until the flesh is opaque the whole way through or the internal temperature has reached 50C or 125F. (Note 3)
Optional: turn on the grill and place the salmon fillets under for 2-3 minutes to get the panko Parmesan topping slightly brown and crispy.
Serve immediately with your choice of sides.
Air Fryer method:
Heat the air fryer to 200C or 400F
Brush the air fryer basket with oil.
If your salmon fillets have skin, use a sharp knife to carefully remove it. (Note 2)
Mix the Parmesan and panko breadcrumbs in a bowl.
Remove any excess moisture from the fillets with kitchen paper and brush the fillets with a thin layer of olive oil.
Place the salmon fillets in the air fryer for 7-8 minutes.
Remove the salmon fillets from the air fryer and spread the pesto on evenly.
Sprinkle the Parmesan and panko breadcrumbs on top and return the salmon fillets to the air fryer for another 2-3 minutes until the Parmesan and panko topping is brown and crispy.
Serve immediately with your choice of sides.
Tips
  • This recipe has been tested with salmon fillets that are approx 125g or 9oz each. You may need to adjust the length of the cooking time and amount of pesto and panko breadcrumbs depending on the size of your salmon fillets.
  • You are not able to get the skin crispy when you bake the salmon so it's best to buy skinless fillets or remove the skin with a sharp knife before you get started.
  • Cooking times may vary depending on the size and thickness of the salmon fillets.
Helen | Knife & Soul
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