Last week I told Ranger Craig I’m in need of a field trip. For those of you who don’t know Ranger Craig, he’s my main man, best bud, adventure partner, resident food critic and husband. I had a reader ask me once if he was my boyfriend. (Hee hee, that gave me a good chuckle!) So I went back to my about page and made it clear he’s legally mine. 🙂
Ranger Craig is not a Forest Ranger. Although he’d love to be one. He served in the US Army as an Army Airborne Ranger. So, I call him Ranger Craig. And he’s fearless. Which is why I don’t usually let him plan our little field trips lest we end up jumping out of an airplane and that’s where I draw the line. I don’t mind flying in the airplane, I just don’t want to jump out of it.
I should have known his inclination for adventure years ago when our first date was a long hike up our local lone Mountain. Ranger Craig came prepared. Hiking shorts, hiking shoes, appropriate hiking shirt, water canteen, one of those handy tool knifes just in case of an emergency, and would you believe he even had a few Band-Aids in his backpack.
Me? Adorable pink shorts, bright pink and white matching off the shoulder shirt (it was the 80’s), and gold sparkle sandals with hot pink painted toes. I looked great. For about 10 minutes.
Fast forward twenty-five years and I’ve got my own water bottle, travel medical kit, sensible shoes and an appropriate outfit for every adventure occasion. Lucky for me, this field trip didn’t even require sensible shoes. I could look cute and wear my favorite cowgirl boots.
The Glass Art Museum was breathtaking. Art beyond my imagination. I couldn’t wait to photograph every piece. Until, to my huge disappointment, I spotted the “No Photography” sign.
I did manage a few snaps of the Chihuly Art display. Breathtaking. So full of vibrant color it inspired my desire for a vibrantly colorful dinner.
And what better way to celebrate color, than with one of my favorite colors, green. Fresh Pan Seared Salmon with bright spring green Cilantro Pesto. It’s a plate licking good sauce that goes with anything. Just like my favorite cowgirl boots.
For the Pesto:
1 large bunch cilantro, lower thicker stems trimmed (upper stems are fine in pureed pesto’s or sauces)
½ cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup toasted pine nuts (or substitute with walnuts)
1-2 cloves garlic
1 lemon juiced
¼ cup grated parmesan
Pinch of red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
Place the cilantro, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice and parmesan in a blender or food processor. As you pulse/puree the ingredients add the olive oil until the pesto is smooth.
Season to taste with salt and red pepper flakes.
For The Salmon:
1 ½ – 2 lbs fresh wild salmon cut into 4 pieces
1-2 tablespoon high heat oil ( I love using Spectrum’s Asian flavored oil for pan searing salmon)
Salt and pepper
Lemon slices and fresh chopped cilantro for garnish
Heat a large skillet on medium high heat and add the oil. Season the salmon with salt and pepper.
When the oil is hot add the salmon flesh side down. Let the salmon cook for about 3 minutes or until the salmon easily lifts off the pan. It should be a lovely golden brown.
Flip the salmon skin side down and continue cooking until just pink inside, about another 3-4 minutes depending on thickness.
If the salmon is thick, turn the heat down to medium and cover with a lid and let the salmon finish cooking. The salmon should lift off the pan easily, leaving the skin in the skillet.
Drizzle the pesto on a platter or plates and lay the skinless salmon filets on top and garnish with additional chopped fresh cilantro and lemon slice.
This pesto is fantastic on grilled salmon and grilled chicken too! Enjoy 🙂