Pan seared salmon with pesto served alongside mashed potatoes for a healthy green Irish meal with a bit of Italian flavor, too. Our recipe calls for kale pesto, but you can also use classic basil pesto too.
Here in the US, we might not think of salmon when it comes to Irish food. But I recall having some great, fresh seafood when traveling in Ireland, including salmon. Salmon is also associated with wisdom in Celtic mythology, with all kinds of interesting stories involving salmon.
So when asked to come up with healthy green recipes for today’s Sunday Supper event, I thought salmon would be a good place to start. We top our salmon with pesto for the green color, and serve it with some potatoes…because you just gotta have potatoes on the plate to make any claim that it’s an Irish meal!
How to Make Salmon with Pesto and Potatoes
First, you can cook salmon with the pesto–this baked salmon pesto recipe is one example of that approach. But I like to start by making the pesto, then cooking the salmon separately. Then the pan seared salmon gets topped with the pesto at the end. This approach to salmon with pesto gives a nice fresh flavor, and bright green color perfect for St. Patrick’s Day.
Now, about that pesto. When it’s not the season for good fresh basil, I favor making kale pesto. Kale pesto is packed with nutrients, and good kale is readily available year round. Topping salmon with kale pesto enhances the nutritional benefits. You can certainly go with a classic basil pesto recipe if you like.
I made basic mashed potatoes to serve alongside the salmon with pesto. But if you really want to double down on the green theme with St. Patrick’s Day coming up, you could make this tasty Swiss Chard and Potatoes recipe.
The basic plan for making this salmon with pesto and potatoes is to start by working on the mashed potatoes. Then make a batch of pesto as the potatoes cook. Once the mashed potatoes are done, keep them warm while you quickly pan sear the salmon.
Pairings for Salmon with Pesto
We served a modestly priced white Burgundy with the Salmon with Pesto and Potatoes. This Chardonnay based wine worked well, as it has the body to match the salmon and potatoes and also pairs reasonably well with the pesto.
Pick a Chardonnay that isn’t over the top with the buttery or oaky qualities to match the pesto. A white Rhone or a medium to full bodied Italian white wine such as a Soave could work here too.
Of course, beer is more commonly associated with St. Patrick’s Day than wine. If you want to go in that direction for the salmon with pesto, I’d stay away from the stouts as that would be heavy for the fish. A lager or an IPA would probably be better. Sláinte!Print
Salmon with Pesto and Potatoes
Pan seared salmon topped with pesto and served alongside mashed potatoes for a healthy green Irish meal with a bit of Italian flavor, too. Our recipe calls for kale pesto, but you can also use classic basil pesto too.
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Total Time: 45 mins
- Yield: 3 servings 1x
- Category: main
- Method: pan sear
- Cuisine: Irish
For the Pesto
- 4 cups tightly packed kale leaves, stems removed
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted
- generous pinch red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil
For the salmon
- 12 ozs wild salmon fillet
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ tsp fresh rosemary, minced
- 2 tsp champagne vinegar (other light vinegar is OK)
- pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp canola oil
Plus mashed potatoes for serving.
- Start cooking your potatoes, based on the recipe you are following, then begin making the pesto.
- Add the kale and garlic to a food processor, coarsely chopping to create enough room for the other ingredients.
- Add the pumpkin seeds, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, cheese, and olive oil, and puree until it comes to a nice smooth consistency. Set the pesto aside.
- Finish making your mashed potatoes. Keep covered on low heat with a bit of extra milk and butter on top while you cook the salmon.
- Heat the canola oil on medium high in a nonstick skillet. When the pan is hot, add the salmon skin side down. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes without moving the salmon. After this initial cooking time, carefully turn the salmon over with a spatula.
- Sear the salmon for 2 more minutes, flesh side down. Turn the salmon back over to the skin side. Depending on the salmon thickness and how you like it, the salmon may be ready now or need 2 more minutes cooking skin side down.
- When the salmon is done, remove it to a platter. Break the salmon into serving portions.
- Plate a serving of mashed potatoes, and serve a portion of salmon alongside the potatoes. Top the salmon and potatoes with a generous serving of the pesto. Enjoy with an Irish beer or a glass of wine. Sláinte!