Seared Salmon with Cilantro Pesto

Photo c/o Bon Appetite

I’m not a huge fan of pesto, mostly because pine nuts taste like Irish spring to me. Weird, I know but it’s similar to people who have an aversion to cilantro.   If you hate cilantro, then I should tell you to stop reading this post now, and direct you here: I hate Cilantro Blog.  You’re not going to like this recipe anyway.

When I first came across this dish in Bon Appetite I immediately wanted to try it, cilantro pesto? A beautiful green sauce with no pine nuts? I’m in.  I’ve made this a few times but have tweaked it to my own liking. It is very nice with seared salmon, but it is also great as a marinade for shrimp on the barbie.

Here’s what you need to get started:

photo c/o

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (firmly packed) cilantro leaves and stems
  • 1/2 tsp cracked coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp lime zest
  • 1 Tbsp (or more) fresh lime juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 6-ounce salmon fillets (preferably wild) or 1 lb of peeled 15-20 count shrimp.
  • 1 lime, cut into 4 wedges (garnish)
*Note- I’ve omitted the pepitas (pumpkin seeds) from the recipe.

Pulse cilantro, coriander seeds, lime zest, cumin and garlic in a food processor until coarsely chopped. With machine running, gradually add 1 Tbsp. lime juice, 1/4 cup oil, then 1/4 cup water, blending until coarse purée forms. Season pesto to taste with salt, pepper, and more lime juice, if desired.

If you serve with salmon, season well with s & p, then sear the salmon in a med-high heat pan with 2 teaspoons of EVOO.  2-3 minutes on each side should do the trick.

If you use this sauce as a marinade double the recipe;  soak the shrimp in the marinade for roughly 2-4 hours in the refrigerator, let rest to room temp before grilling (30 minutes). Grill and serve on top of angel hair pasta tossed in some of the reserved cilantro pesto sauce with julienne slices of roasted red peppers.  Garnish with a lime wedge and cilantro leaf.

From start to finish the sauce is done in 15 minutes or less! Give it a try… Thanks for reading, xo-G


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