by Charlie Michelle
I want to preface this great kosher recipe with a little piece of trivia about myself. I really dislike fish. I dislike fish so much that the mere smell of my son’s school on fish-stick days makes me a little green. So when I say that this salmon recipe is amazing, well, that’s saying a lot. A whole lot.
I first tried this kosher recipe at a 5-star restaurant on my wedding anniversary so many years ago. I have no idea what possessed me to order such a dish, given my aforementioned aversion to fish, but I suppose the lure of such an interesting flavor combination–pecans, pineapple, cinnamon, and…fish!…arose my interest. So I tried it. And I loved it. And I set out to replicate it.
My dairy-free kosher recipe is a culmination of lots of trial and error. Tweaking a spice here, altering a crust ingredient there…. but I finally feel I have managed to reproduce the richly flavorful dish I discovered so long ago. And so, dear fellow Jewish Hostesses, I pass it along to you. Why should the restaurant get all the glory?
What you’ll need for two servings:
- Two filets salmon (I use organic, to ensure no artificial coloring has been added)
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 2 tablespoons vegetable margarine or Earth Balance margarine, softened
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg* (see note)
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup crushed pineapple and juice, pureed in a blender or food processor until smooth
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1/2 cup soy yogurt – vanilla, coconut, pineapple, or pina colada flavors work well
Here’s how you make it:
1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place salmon filets skin-side down on your baking sheet.
2) In a small food processor, grind your pecans. You can make them as smooth or as chunky as you like. When they are ground to your liking, transfer them to a small bowl and add your margarine, brown sugar, flour, and spices. Using your fingers (I like to get in there and get dirty!) smush your margarine into the pecans as if you were making a crumb pie crust.
3) When everything is well blended, scoop a small handful of your pecan mixture and press it evenly onto each salmon filet. Be generous. That pecan topping is good stuff.
4) Bake salmon at 350 degrees F until it flakes easily with a fork, or its flesh has turned light pink, about 15-20 minutes. When salmon has finished baking, move your oven rack to the second-highest level and broil briefly (2-3 minutes) to make the pecan crust nice and crispy. Because of the sugar content, watch it closely or it will scorch.
To make your sauce:
In a small saucepan, combine pineapple puree and chili powder. Stir well. Cover and bring to a simmer. I like to call it an “aggravated simmer”. Not quite a full boil, but not just a lazy little simmer either. We don’t want to reduce the pineapple, we just want to break it down and bring out the flavor.
After a good 5-6 minutes of “aggravated simmer” (patent pending on that term, hehe!) turn off the heat and add your soy yogurt. Whisk together to blend well.
Serve your pineapple sauce drizzled prettily over the salmon filet, and garnish with something pretty–carrot curls, a parsley or mint leaf, lemon rosebuds, whatever you like. I served mine with a fresh, springy vegetable salad with lime vinaigrette. You can see the kosher recipe for this lovely side dish here.
Enjoy, and happy eating!
*As for the nutmeg, yes, you can totally make it optional.As stated in the kosher recipe, it’s been a work of trial and error, playing with all kinds of in gredient combos to see what works. If you exclude the nutmeg, though, I would definitely replace it with something equally as spicy–maybe ground cloves or an extra pinch of chili powder.
Charlie’s my name–not short for Charlotte or anything. I currently write and maintain a daily food blog, focusing mostly on vegetarian and kosher recipe, ranging from appetizers and side dishes, to dinner and casseroles, to luxurious desserts. My husband serves with the Army, and he recently traveled 1200 miles home for a family emergency. I wanted him to be greeted home with a little bit of luxury, but also with a dish that has a comfort-food appeal to it. Nuts and spices always sing of cooler weather and warm kitchens, while the fresh pineapple sauce lends a happy springtime feel. I thought the combination would be perfect to excite his senses and give him yet another reason to be happy to be home. Enjoy my recipe!