Maine Roots

A blog about all things Maine


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Weekly Recipe: Baked Salmon Fillets with Cashew Coating

This recipe was passed on to me by my mom, so I don’t have a handy cookbook reference for you, but I can vouch with great confidence for how wonderful it is.  If you like salmon, you will love this meal.  It’s actually quite easy and still feels much fancier than marinated, baked salmon (which is what I usually do).  The crunchy cashew coating made me feel like I was eating a gussied-up salmon dish from a restaurant, rather than from my own kitchen.

In this post, you’re also going to get a bonus recipe, because the side dish I made to accompany the salmon is called ‘Ben’s Peppery Potato Wedges’ and is from The Maine Summers Cookbook.  These potato wedges might be my new favorite side.  I’m mad (in a good way) about them.  I thought these dishes went well together; we actually made this same meal when my mom was here visiting, and I repeated it last night.

A sneak peek at the tasty ingredients...

A sneak peek at the tasty ingredients…

To make the salmon, you’ll need:

  • 3 tablespoons of butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey (preferably from the Honey Exchange!)
  • 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs, unseasoned
  • 1/4 cup chopped cashews
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried Thyme (fresh would work also)
  • 3-4 salmon fillets
  • Salt and pepper to taste (both my mom and I have forgotten this ingredient in the past, and didn’t miss it a bit!  The other flavors make the dish fabulous)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together butter, honey, and mustard. In another bowl, combine bread crumbs, thyme, and cashews.

My favorite kitchen gadget is this chopper - a gift from my dad!

My favorite kitchen gadget is this chopper – a gift from my dad!

Place the salmon in a 9 x 13 glass baking dish that you have lightly coated with cooking spray or oil. Brush the salmon with the butter mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Sprinkle the crumb mixture evenly over the fillets and pat down.

Ready to bake!

Ready to bake!

Bake until fish flakes or about 15 to 18 minutes (I went with 18).

You could choose to garnish this dish with lemon slices, but I didn’t (and didn’t miss it).  Also, I took my mom’s advice and brushed on some of the butter mixture, retaining part of it to mix with the bread crumbs and cashews to form a crumble, and then smoothed that over the salmon and patted it down.

If you know my mother, you know she tends to be very modest about her own cooking, and is by far her own harshest critic.  So when she sent the following quote at the end of her email, I knew this dish was a winner: “This recipe was delicious…really and truly good!”
And it was.
For Ben’s Peppery Potato Wedges, which can be found on page 153, you’ll need:
  • 4 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed (I confess, I went with Yukon Gold this time)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees (last night, I did these at 400 to work with the salmon – I simply added 5-10 minutes to the cooking time, and they were still great).  Cut each potato lengthwise into 8 wedges.  Toss the wedges in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper until well coated.
Prepped for baking...

Prepped for baking…

Generously oil a shallow baking pan and place the potato wedges, one cut side down, in the pan.  Tightly cover the pan with aluminum foil and roast for 10 minutes.  Remove the foil and turn the wedges over, placing the other cut side down.  Roast for 10 minutes, uncovered.  Turn the wedges again and roast for 10 minutes more, or until nicely browned.
I’m not exaggerating when I say these potato wedges are excellent.  I love potatoes (as you know), and I really enjoy a little spice – so the inclusion of cayenne pepper makes this a perfect dish for me.  You could probably swap in garlic powder for garlic potato wedges, or go without any particular spice if you’d like a more traditional style.
Oh yum!

Oh yum!

I hope you try one or both of these recipes – and send your thoughts and feedback!


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Weekly Recipe: Smoked Salmon Spread

As you might imagine, fish and seafood play a prominent role in the diet of a Mainer.  The geography of Maine, as well as its rural environment and long history of gaming, make it inevitable that this would be so.  In addition to the ocean, an undeniably important part of Maine’s economy and food supply, Maine has many lakes, rivers, and streams – at least 5,785 lakes and ponds alone.  A part of what made my childlife so full, in my opinion, was my constant exposure to the outdoors and outdoor sports, including fishing, hiking, hunting, and much more.  My new cookbook, Maine Home Cooking, features many fish and seafood recipes (as well as venison – hopefully my husband will get a deer this year so I can share those with you), and when I came across this one for a Smoked Salmon Spread, I was immediately inspired to make it during my weekend in Maine.

My initial thought was of how much my sister loves smoked salmon, and I wanted to make something I knew she would enjoy.  My mother also pointed out how much my grandfather loves salmon – for as long as he was able, was an avid fisherman and went on an annual salmon fishing trip to Lapoile, in Newfoundland – and I was, after all, home for his 90th birthday.  So it was quickly decided that we would make this spread and take it to share with the family on Saturday evening.  We doubled it and it was a hit – the entire bowl was wiped clean.

What you’ll need:

8 oz. cream cheese (or Neufchatel cheese)

8 oz. smoked salmon

1/4 cup mayonnaise (or yogurt)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Lemon juice or Tabasco, to taste (optional)

Chopped dill, to taste (optional)

Chopped olives or capers, to taste (optional)

The Ingredients

The Ingredients

Throw all ingredients into a food processor or mixer and whirl until you reach your desired consistency (I like mine a bit lumpy).  Adjust seasonings to taste, and serve with crackers.  This would also be delicious as a spread on bagels, toast, or even pasta – my sister took the leftovers and used them in just this way!  I chose to incorporate all of the optional ingredients, because I love those flavors and I felt they would work nicely together.  We used roughly the juice of one lemon, just a splash of Tabasco, a tablespoon of chopped dill, and about a 1/4 cup of capers.  Delicious!

Smoked Salmon Spread, with dill garnish

Smoked Salmon Spread, with dill garnish