Sesame Encrusted Baked Salmon with Asparagus and Orange Sauce

Sesame Encrusted Baked Salmon with Asparagus and Orange Sauce

This was my second time cooking fish all by myself. Usually I put Jake in charge of it because I’m afraid to ruin it. Ruined fish is so sad. There’s always the aura of what could have been hanging around it. Anyway this time he was around for consultation but insisted that I take ownership of the fillet and make the final call myself. Talk about pressure! Anyway, I made this salmon because I had a recipe for carrots that I really wanted to try but they really wouldn’t do as anything other than a side dish. So I decided to pull a frozen salmon fillet out of our tiny freezer (believe me, if I could afford fresh fillets right now I would buy them for sure). Although I have a ton of salmon recipes that I really want to try, I did not want to have to run to the store to get the extra ingredients I needed. I decided to try to create something myself. I knew that the carrots were going to be quite sweet so I felt the need to counter that with something salty. We also had a bunch of asparagus that needed to be cooked. I decided to put the asparagus on the bottom and cook the fish on top of it so no juices would go to waste.

Orange Sauce

Besides drizzling everything in a slightly obscene amount of sesame oil, I also thought it would be fun to crust the fish with orange zest and sesame seeds and then use the last of the orange juice in the fridge to make an orange sauce to pour over the fish (or not). The meal was a huge success. We had tons of leftovers and everything was fantastic. The fish was super salty, but not so salty that you couldn’t eat it. It was the perfect complement to the sweet carrots. The orange sauce was good but really tangy. I didn’t want it to be too sweet, though I suppose some brown sugar wouldn’t have hurt it at all. You can try it my way and then add brown sugar (this would be my personal recommendation for sugar type with this recipe) if you would rather it was sweeter. Jake tried and liked the sauce, but said that he preferred the fish without the sauce–he said that the fish itself was so yummy that it didn’t need anything else. I would agree. The orange sauce was a good idea but possibly best left to a more plain fillet of salmon, perhaps one that had simply been steamed with little seasoning other than salt and pepper. You can decide for yourself.

Sesame Encrusted Baked Salmon with Asparagus and Orange Sauce
For the salmon:
1-2 pounds asparagus, washed and woody ends cut off
1 pound frozen salmon fillet, thawed
sea salt and black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons orange zest, split in half
3 tablespoons sesame seeds, split in half
sesame seed oil, to drizzle

For the orange sauce:
2 cups orange juice
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon lemon peel
2 teaspoons orange peel
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
salt, to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. Arrange the asparagus along the full length of a 9-inch glass baking dish.
3. Drizzle with toasted sesame oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
4. Cover one side of the salmon with salt, pepper, half of the orange zest and half of the sesame seeds.
5. Place the salmon, seasoned side down, into the baking dish atop the asparagus.
6. Drizzle the salmon with toasted sesame oil.
7. Cover the remaining side with salt, pepper, and the other halves of the orange zest and sesame seeds.
8. Place the dish in the preheated oven and bake till cooked through, around 30 minutes, depending on the size of the fillet.
9. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan.
10. Mix the orange juice and cornstarch and add to the pan.
11. Add the lemon peel, orange peel, paprika, parsley, pepper, and salt.
12. Simmer the orange sauce till thickened.

Salmon, Asparagus, Cous cous and Carrots on a plate. Ready for me to eat.


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