Monday Meals: Pesto Salmon

Summer is the perfect time for salmon. We usually toss it on the grill, but I’ve seen a lot of posts about cooking in foil lately and thought I would try out this (purportedly) quick method with a super easy cleanup. Per usual, I turned to Pinterest for inspiration, and landed on Cooking Classy’s Pesto Salmon and Italian Veggies in Foil.

RF and I are both huge fans of pesto. It’s very easy to make, especially in the summer when basil is plentiful. Perhaps I’ll get my act together one of these days and make a double-batch to freeze. But, when I’m squeezed for time, packaged pesto is just as delicious.

Preparing Ingredients

OK, so I goofed just a bit on the salmon by forgetting to ask the fishmonger if he would slice off the skin. Our knives are long overdue for a trip to the sharpener, so that just wasn’t going to happen once I got them home. Oops. No worry – I just went ahead with the recipe as is, and everything turned out quite fine.

I would, however, make a change where the green beans were concerned. We prefer ours on the al dente side. After blanching them for a few minutes, they were already perfect – to us. I could have left them out of the foil, but in keeping with trying something new, I followed the directions. After boiling and tossing them with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, the stacking began…

Fish Without Pesto

Our filets were generous, so I freehanded the pesto. I doubt you can overdo it too badly.

Fish with Pesto

After spreading it out, I squeezed a little lemon over each…

Lemon Squeeze

…then added some fresh tomatoes. I like mine quartered for a more relish-y sensation, but halving would save a little extra time and surely work just as well.

Cut tomatoes

Because our filets were kinda fat (wide), I wasn’t able to achieve Cooking Classy’s perfectly folded packets. Didn’t matter. I think the most important instruction is to not over-seal them. Leave them a little room to steam.

Wrapped ready to go in

The original recipe indicated a cooking time of 20-28 minutes. That’s a pretty broad estimate, especially since you really don’t want to be opening and closing the little cooking pouches. I knew that ours would likely be on the longer end, since they were so large, but still opened them a couple of times to make sure. Unfortunately, most of the online cooking guides refer to thickness – 10 minutes per one inch thickness. Our filets were nowhere near 3″ thick, but cooked for close to 30 mins. So, some checking is probably necessary.

Wrapped in oven

I let them have a little rest at the end, and they were perfect! Salmon skin does not have scales, and the fatty layer between the skin and the fish is where all of the terrific essential fatty acids (EFA) live. Those EFA’s get absorbed into the skin during cooking, so it’s actually quite nutritious. That said, I don’t care for the texture all that much. I ended up unstacking these when serving, so that I could eat around the skin, but you certainly don’t have to.

The fish was moist and rich, the tomato and citrus flavors were bright. The beans…again, softer than my personal preference. If you like them that way, take the time to pre-blanch. If, like us, you prefer crispier veg, don’t bother with boiling. Just give ’em a quick rinse and toss them right onto the foil.

Oh, and clean up? A total breeze!! No fishy residue on your pan – just crumple up that foil and toss. We will definitely have this one again.

Fish Foil Complete 1


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