Dear SOS: The hazelnut red pepper pesto that accompanies the salmon at Thyme restaurant in Santa Monica is addictive. I've made a lot of pestos, but this is different than anything I've tasted — tangy and, well, just scrumptious! Anything you can do to bring this delicious pesto into our homes?
Dear Aline: Roasted red peppers are a perfect smoky base for this rustic sauce, brightened with a little lemon and dotted with fresh chopped chives. But it's the toasted hazelnuts that take this pesto to another level – enticingly fragrant, they lend a wonderfully rich depth to the finished sauce. We loved this pesto served over roasted salmon, though it would pair equally well with other fish, poultry or roasted vegetables.
Thyme Café & Market's roasted salmon with red pepper hazelnut pesto
Total time: 1 hour
Note: Adapted from Thyme Café & Market
3 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled and seeded (about 2 cups)
2/3 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped, more to taste
Zest and juice of 1 lemon, or to taste
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt, more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil, more or less to taste, plus more for drizzling over the salmon
1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped chives
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
1. In a blender, combine the bell peppers, hazelnuts, garlic, lemon zest and juice, cider vinegar, one-fourth teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper. Pulse to combine. With the blender running, drizzle in the olive oil to emulsify and form the pesto. Taste, adjusting seasoning and flavoring as desired, and adjusting the thickness of the pesto with additional olive oil. This makes a generous 2 cups pesto, more than is needed for the remainder of the recipe; any leftover pesto can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.
2. Remove the pesto to a bowl and stir in the chopped chives.
3. Heat the oven to 425 degrees.
4. Place the salmon fillets on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and drizzle the top of each fillet with a little oil. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper over each fillet.
5. Place the fillets in the oven and roast until the salmon is cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.
6. Plate the salmon and drizzle a little pesto over each fillet. Serve immediately.
Each of 4 servings: 560 calories; 37 grams protein; 6 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 43 grams fat; 8 grams saturated fat; 94 mg cholesterol; 3 grams sugar; 321 mg sodium.
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