Stop pretending to like salmon, and learn how to love it. Already a fan of the fish? Great! Not so much? Shhhhh. This crispy, saucy, sesame crusted salmon is really for you.
Crusted Salmon Video Tutorial
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No More Swimming Upstream
We start every year with a cleanse—to feel better and refocus our food goals. This year, part of our goal was to have salmon for dinner at least once a week. Here’s where I have to be honest: We just aren’t that into salmon. Most recipes I’ve tried can turn out dry or mushy. No one wants that!
So I set out to create a recipe worthy of sharing with you.
Because I don’t want to eat salmon because it’s good for me. I want to want to eat it! And now— I do.
Sesame seeds and a saucy wasabi crema guarantee flavor and texture in every bite. Inspired by traditional Chinese cooking, the sesame seed coating adds a toasty nuttiness and crisps up to a beautiful, golden, crunchy exterior—all while protecting the tender salmon inside. A drizzle of crema is a bright, creamy compliment to the crispy fish. You’ll want some on every bite. So drizzle… or douse…
And never doubt salmon again.
Important Ingredients Notes
- Skinless salmon – I prefer salmon without the skin for this recipe, as the sesame seeds adhere better to the flesh than the skin. That said, skinless salmon can be hard to find if you’re buying fresh. Check out this video for a quick tutorial on how to remove the skin yourself–Basically, place the salmon skin-side down and use a sharp knife to slice between the flesh and skin.
- Wild vs. farmed salmon – I always buy wild-caught salmon, as farmed is higher in contaminants. BONUS: At Costco, they’re almost the same price.
- What color sesame seeds to use? Both white and black work here, although I much prefer white sesame seeds as you can tell once they’ve browned in the pan (black seeds are easy to burn). As far as the flavor: white seeds are more subtle, while black seeds are stronger in taste and slightly bitter.
- Clean your bok choy realllly well – Due to the tight layers of the leaves, bok choy has a tendency to trap loads of grit. To remove before cooking, I like to slice off the end and rinse each leaf under running water. Cook’s Illustrated suggests dunking the leaves in a bowl of water, then spinning them dry before cooking.
Storing and Reheating Tips
Store leftover sesame crusted salmon in an airtight container in the fridge–I prefer a container to a resealable bag, as it better protects the crust and keeps it intact. Store your crema on the side. Reheat your sesame crusted salmon in the oven on a skillet to re-crisp both edges and top with additional crema.
Your Questions Answered:
- How long do I bake the salmon? How long to bake salmon will depend on the thickness of your filets. I usually check mine after 8 minutes. The easiest way to tell if your sesame crusted salmon is cooked is to press into the center with a fork–if it flakes easily, it’s done cooking.
- Can I use salmon with the skin on? Sure! However, seeds won’t adhere well to the salmon skin. If you’d prefer to use salmon with the skin, I suggest coating the skinless side only, or reserver it for a non-breaded salmon recipe.
- Can I make the crema spicier? YES! Simply add more wasabi. Or, add sriracha for a different kind of zest (like in my spicy tuna salad).
- Can frozen salmon be used here? Salmon is great because you can easily bake it from frozen. However, the sesame seeds won’t adhere to frozen salmon, so this isn’t the best recipe to bake frozen salmon.
More Recipes with Fish
Sesame Crusted SalmonPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoon wasabi paste
Sesame Crusted Salmon:
- 1 lb salmon skin removed. 1" thick, cut into 4 even pieces. (Note 1)
- 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 cup sesame seeds (Note 2)
- 1 tablespoon Mild Tasting Oil (Note 3)
- 1 tablespoon Mild Tasting Oil (Note 3)
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon ginger peeled + minced
- 1/4 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- 4 bunches baby bok choy ends removed (Note 4)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- sesame oil
- Prep. Preheat oven to 325 F. Mix ingredients for wasabi crema together in a small bowl. Taste, and adjust to your liking. Then set aside.
- Coat. Pat dry the salmon (1 lb) and sprinkle with salt (1 teaspoon) and pepper (1/2 teaspoon). Press to ahead. Sprinkle sesame seeds (1/2 cup) in an even layer on a large plate. Press the salmon into the sesame seeds, making sure to get an even coating.
- Cook. Heat oil (1 tablespoon) in a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Once heated (oil should be shimmering), place the salmon fillets in the pan. Watch carefully as you don't want to burn the sesame seeds--this should take about 1-3 minutes on each side, but will depend on the heat of your pan. You want the sesame seeds to be golden. Make sure not to crowd the salmon, this may need to be done in 2 separate skillets. Flip the salmon and place the skillet in the oven. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through (Note 5).
- Bok Choy. Meanwhile, heat oil (1 tablespoon) for boy choy in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the garlic (4 cloves), ginger (1 tablespoon), and red pepper flakes (1/4 teaspoon), and cook until fragrant -- about 2 minutes. Be sure to stir constantly so ingredients don't burn. Add soy sauce (2 tablespoons)and 1 tablespoon water and mix until well combined. Add bok choy (4 bunches) and toss to thoroughly coat. Cover with a lid and cook for 2 minutes. Remove lid, stir, and continue to cook for 3 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated and the stalks are softened to your liking.
- Assemble. Place boy choy on half of each plate and drizzle with sesame oil. Place cooked salmon on the other half, and pour the wasabi crema on top. Enjoy!
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- Have salmon with the skin on? It's easy to remove with a sharp knife, simply place the salmon skin-side down on a cutting board and grab ahold of the tail end. Slice between the flesh and skin.
- Sesame seeds, white vs. black. I prefer white sesame seeds as you can monitor how brown they get when you sear the salmon. That said, black sesame seeds have more natural crunch and a stronger flavor. Both will work, just watch black sesame seeds more carefully as they cook.
- Mild tasting oil. You want a mellow flavored oil that can take a lot of heat. I use avocado oil, vegetable oil works as well.
- Baby bok choy is sweeter and more tender than bok choy, so I strongly suggest using it. Pay special attention in rinsing this veggie as it holds on to dirt--I like to remove the base and clean each individual leaf (dirt often pools near the base).
- Salmon is done cooking once it easily flakes with a fork inserted into the center or thickest part.