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This dairy-free pesto is heavy on pistachio nuts and light on basil. Spiked with garlic and lemon zest and blended together with olive oil, this is a thick, rich sauce that’s more than a little addictive. It’s tempting to eat this pistachio pesto with a spoon, but it’s even better slathered over fatty, pan-seared salmon.
This recipe couldn’t be easier, and it magically transforms a simple salmon dinner into something extra special. Make this, and you’ll feel like a talented chef instead of a home cook who’s stuck in a rut of salmon dinners that are just ho-hum.
With a few variations, this pistachio pesto can lead you to other amazing meals, too. Add a dash of red pepper flakes, and serve a spicy version of the pesto with roasted pork. Use parsley, instead of basil, for a new flavor. Or, thin the pesto out with full-fat Greek yogurt, and drizzle it over roasted vegetables.
Like any nut, pistachios are best enjoyed with a little self-control. Don’t worry, this pesto is so rich you aren’t likely to overindulge in one sitting. That said, pistachios aren’t really a nut to fret over, unless you have an allergy. They’re pretty low in phytic acid, a potent source of prebiotic fiber, and can reduce the glucose response to carb-rich meals.
Not that this is a carb-rich meal. Quite the opposite, actually. Skin-on salmon + pistachio pesto can be a go-to recipe when you want a high-protein, high-fat meal that’s also high in flavor.
Time in the Kitchen: 20 minutes
Blend the pistachios, garlic and lemon zest in a food processor until very finely ground. With the blade still going, slowly pour the olive oil into the food processor and blend just until combined. Add salt to taste. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350º F/176º C
Heat avocado oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.
Place the salmon in the hot skillet, skin side down. Once the fillets are in the pan, do not move the salmon. Cook about 5 minutes, pressing down on the salmon once or twice with a spatula to press the skin against the hot pan.
Put the skillet into the oven. Cook 4 to 6 minutes more, depending on the thickness of the fish.
Serve the salmon warm or at room temperature, with pistachio pesto dolloped on top.