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Grilling Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Salmon Sauces, Salsas and More Seafood

Grilled Salmon with Pea and Mint Pesto

Spring Pea and Mint Pesto with Grilled Salmon // Karista's Kitchen

Is it me or is the summer sailing by at mach speed? It’s been a busy summer so far, which I don’t mind but posting recipes here on the blog seem to take a back seat.  I did promise Facebook readers I’d get this lovely Grilled Salmon with Pea and Mint Pesto posted as a few readers have some fresh fish in their kitchens and they wanted some new ideas for preparing it.  I’ve always got an idea about food and recipes so feel free to ask for recommendations! I love to make meal time delicious. 🙂

I realize I say this often but seafood is one of the easiest, most delicious meals to prepare, especially when paired with a sauce, salsa or pesto.

I serve fish at least three nights a week and pairing seafood with a simple pan sauce, a beurre blanc (which I know sounds fancy and complicated but it’s truly very simple) a fresh salsa or pesto makes the weeknight meal fuss free and delicious.  If you’re not a seafood fan, this pea and mint pesto is just as tasty paired with grilled chicken or lamb.

Grilled Salmon with Spring Pea and Mint Pesto // Karista's Kitchen

Fresh mint seems to be making its way into many of my meals this season – due to my exploding mint plant.  I cut it back but it still took over the herb garden so I transplanted it in it’s very own container.  It still grew back in the herb box and now it’s fighting with the oregano.  I’ll probably dig it up once again and find another spot in the garden to re-plant it.

Mint is a pretty little plant that is usually bright green in color (depending on which type of mint plant it is) and stays fairly healthy during our Pacific Northwest winters.  It makes a nice shrub in the yard but as I learned the hard way, mint needs its own space.  Much like an emerging teenager.  😉

So today it’s a Pea and Mint Pesto.  Tomorrow it’ll probably be this Mediterranean Couscous Salad with fresh mint and maybe grilled lamb chops with mint, rosemary and garlic on Sunday.  Mint is definitely in the Bennett Crew’s culinary future.

Happy Weekend!

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,



Grilled Salmon with Pea and Mint Pesto

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Serving Size: 4-6

Grilled Salmon with Pea and Mint Pesto


  • 1/3 -1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (I begin with 1/3 cup and then add as needed)
  • 1 cup fresh peas that have been blanched, or frozen peas that have been thawed
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts or toasted pine nuts if you prefer
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Place the olive oil, peas, mint, basil, garlic, red pepper flakes, nuts and cheese into a food processor. Pulse until the pesto is smooth.
  • Add the lemon and pulse once more and then season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with grilled or roasted salmon, lamb or chicken.
  • This is also tasty on crostini with shaved, aged provolone and grilled asparagus tips.
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    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Pasta Salmon

    Smoked Salmon Fettuccine

    Smoked Salmon Fettuccine with a light white wine cream sauce

    I’m back from a brief hiatus (well, somewhat brief) with a brand new blog, a new website along with a brand new recipe. And who knows… maybe even a brand new me. 😉

    It’s been an interesting and busy few months. It’s been so busy that when I was walking past a mirror the other day, I glanced, and then wondered “who is the strange woman staring back at me?”. I haven’t gotten as much sleep as I should due to late nights and early mornings, my roots need a touch up, I have man hands from cooking so much and Tank looks like a mop exploded.

    Life is crazy. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I cherish all the work during the busy times and when things slow down, I savor the moments and breathe deeply.

    A few months ago, I felt the need to step away; get back to my culinary roots and remember why I started this journey in the first place. During that time I was constantly reminded how food brings us together, how it mends a broken soul, cures a heartache, brightens a day and nourishes a body.

    Food is the element that brings us to the table, where life is lived and memories are made.

    I worked on some fun projects that challenged and recharged my creative juices and another larger project that made me realize I’m not super woman and I can’t change people or change the rules in which they play the game of life. I’m forever the optimist and when these things happen, I take it as a gentle reminder to firmly plant my feet on the ground and move on.

    I met some amazing young people who will forever be in my heart. Young people who displayed talent, confidence, compassion and a sense of justice for all. I will forever remember these young adults, for not only the hard work they displayed but the lessons they’ve taught me.

    smoked salmon fettuccine with a light white wine cream sauce

    With so many recipes and photos stacked up just waiting to be shared, I thought I’d begin with this Smoked Salmon Fettuccine.

    The lush and perfectly smoked salmon was sent to me by one of my favorite farm to table companies, Barn2Door. As you might have guessed, I completely adore the CEO of the company and consider her one of my dear friends. Janelle Maiocco started Barn2Door out of love and passion for local farm food. Barn2Door is a marketplace where you can buy sustainably grown meat, fish, fruits, vegetables & items like raw honey and real maple syrup right from producers and growers. Farmers, fishers, ranchers and gardeners have their own store – like Etsy for farms – where they showcase the food they have for sale, and manage direct communications, sales and fulfillment (local delivery, national shipping or both).  Farm food online

    Janelle was kind enough to send me seafood, which she knows I love, from Two If By Seafoods which is one of the many companies that sells local product through Barn2Door.

    smoked salmon from Two If By Seafoods

    Two If By SeaFoods is a direct source of Wild Alaska Salmon brought to you by a 4th generation Bristol Bay fisherman. Like the Founding Fathers, we believe in Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness . . . which, of course, means fishing! We are dedicated to bringing you the quality of one of the world’s best maintained, pristine and protected salmon runs. This involves the whole process, from the operation of the fishery to delivering the fish to you. We are passionate about promoting the history and culture of this unique part of the world, protecting it for future generations. On board the F/V Paul Revere, we select premium fish to be processed within hours: fileted, vacuum packed and flash (blast) frozen to preserve the ultimate in quality. From our boat to your table!” – from their B2D store

    I couldn’t have been happier with the smoked salmon that graces this delectable Smoked Salmon Fettuccine. Gorgeous, rich color with a subtle smoked flavor and a perfect texture that melted in my mouth.

    Because I know you’re going to want to make this Smoked Salmon Fettuccine, the fantastic crew at Barn2Door has generously offered $15 off any Barn2Door purchase over $50. Just use the promo code KARISTA15 which is valid until 11/30/2015. Perfect for the Thanksgiving holiday! They also have a edible holiday gift guide that will make gift giving simple and delicious for the holiday season:

    My deepest thanks to you for continuing to visit the blog while I was away and for sharing recipe links from Karista’s Kitchen Facebook, Instagram and Pinterst. I couldn’t ask for a lovelier and more loyal group of friends who support great food and a delicious life around the table.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!

    Smoked Salmon Fettuccine

    Serving Size: 4

    Smoked Salmon Fettuccine


    • 1 lb fettuccine, cooked according to package directions
    • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 large shallot, diced
    • 3-4 cloves garlic, finely minced
    • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme or lemon thyme, chopped
    • 1 teaspoon Italian parsley, chopped
    • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1/2 cup dry white wine
    • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
    • 10-12 ounces smoked salmon, shredded
    • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
    • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
    • Lemon wedges for serving


  • Add the olive oil to a large skillet or sauté pan and heat over medium heat.
  • Add the diced shallot and cook until translucent or wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Then add the garlic, herbs and pinch of crushed red pepper and sauté for a minute longer.
  • Next, stir in the dry white wine and let the wine reduce by half. Once the wine is reduced, stir in the heavy cream and bring to a simmer.
  • Simmer the heavy cream until it begins to thicken.
  • Once the heavy cream begins to thicken, stir in the parmesan cheese and season to taste with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
  • Gently fold the smoked salmon into the cream sauce and toss with the pasta. Garnish with additional parmesan cheese, chopped Italian parsley and serve with lemon wedges.
  • Serve immediately.
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    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Salmon Seafood

    Asian Salmon Sliders with Cilantro Lime Aioli and Marinated Cucumbers

    Asian Salmon Sliders with Cilantro Lime Aioli and Marinated Cucumbers // Karista's Kitchen

    Just when I think I’m tapped out and the creative well has gone dry, I stumble onto an interesting read or find a stack of old notebooks from years ago, brimming to the seams with ideas.  Some of the ideas are pretty darn clever and some not so good – which is why a few of those recipes never happened.

    It’s been an interesting and creative few weeks (along with a monster of a cold that hung on like the winter back East).  I relish creative moments.  I write and I write and I write.  I don’t erase anything no matter how silly or gross tasting it might appear at that moment.  Because when I eventually come back to it, sometimes it makes perfect sense.  Creativity is a crazy process.  Creativity feels like freedom to think outside a box, letting imagination change perspective at will.

    So, when new culinary companies approach me about their products, it’s one more opportunity to be creative.  I don’t promote too many food brands on this website but the few that I do promote must meet a few requirements. Does it identify with my food values? Would I serve it to my family?  Is it something my readers would enjoy?  Where and how is it made or grown or raised?

    When Verlasso Salmon first contacted me about using one of my salmon recipes I was intrigued, and honestly, a little skeptical.  As you know I’m not a fan of farm raised fish of any kind. Verlasso Salmon is the exception; because it’s an exceptional product.

    Not only is Verlasso Salmon the first and only farm raised Atlantic salmon to receive the “good alternative” buy ranking from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s seafood watch, the flavor and texture of Verlasso Salmon is almost identical to wild salmon.  I found the oil content balanced, the texture to be firm and less “mushy” than traditional farmed salmon and the taste every bit as flavorful as wild salmon.

    Asian Salmon Sliders with Cilantro Lime Aioli and Marinated Cucumbers // Karista's Kitchen

    Verlasso says “Verlasso’s driving force has been the call for a more responsible aquaculture worldwide. It guides all of our business efforts and continues to shape our approach for the long-term. We are taking the lead in establishing a new model for fish farming, one that’s always in balance with nature. It’s an evolutionary way of thinking about—and raising salmon.”

    You’re probably saying to yourself “Karista, you live in the Pacific Northwest, home of wild salmon. Why are you talking about Atlantic salmon?” Because you, my readers, subscribers and followers of social media, live all over North and South America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.  I feel lucky to live in the land of Pacific Northwest Salmon.  I value this resource and I’d like to keep it flourishing.  So when companies like Verlasso embark on such a noble cause, I want you to know about it.

    For more information about Verlasso Salmon and their sustainable fish farming methods, along with additional salmon recipes, check out their website HERE.  

    In the meantime, I created these delicious and festive Asian Salmon Sliders with Cilantro Lime Aioli and Marinated Cucumbers for Verlasso Salmon and now I’m sharing them with you.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


    Asian Salmon Sliders with Cilantro Lime Aioli and Marinated Cucumbers

    8-10 Salmon Cakes

    Asian Salmon Sliders with Cilantro Lime Aioli and Marinated Cucumbers


      For the Salmon Cakes
    • 1 lb Salmon
    • Salt and Pepper
    • Extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/3 cup sliced green onions
    • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
    • 1 teaspoon Thai roasted red chili paste
    • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    • 1 egg, slightly whisked
    • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
    • 1 cup Panko style breadcrumbs
      For the Aioli:
    • ½ - ¾ cup good quality mayonnaise
    • 1 small clove garlic, minced
    • 1 lime zested
    • ¼ cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped
    • ¼ teaspoon wasabi paste, optional
      For the Cucumbers
    • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
    • 1 cup rice wine vinegar
    • Serve with slider buns and fresh arugula leaves


  • Pre-heat the oven to 375F.
  • Place the salmon on a baking sheet or in a baking pan and brush with a little olive oil. Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Place the salmon in the oven and roast the salmon for about 10 minutes for every inch of thickness. When the salmon is done, remove from the oven and let it cool.
  • While the salmon is cooking, whisk together the ½ - ¾ cup mayonnaise with the finely chopped cilantro, lime zest and garlic. Set aside.
  • In a non-reactive bowl, add the sliced cucumbers and enough rice wine vinegar to cover the cucumbers. Let them sit and marinate for about 15 minutes. Drain well and set aside.
  • Once the salmon has cooled, shred the salmon, removing any bones and skin, and add it to a medium size bowl. Add the green onions, grated fresh ginger, Thai roasted red chili paste, lemon juice and about ½ teaspoon salt and pepper. Mix with a fork until nicely incorporated.
  • Next, gently mix in the egg, mayonnaise and panko breadcrumbs until all the ingredients are nicely incorporated. Don’t over mix, just enough so the salmon will form into patties. If the salmon mix is too dry, add one additional tablespoon of mayonnaise.
  • Place the salmon mix in the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes to chill. This will help form the patties.
  • Divide the salmon mixture into 8-10 pieces and form patties.
  • Heat a skillet over medium heat and add 2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil – enough to cover the bottom of the skillet.
  • When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the patties to the skillet. Let the salmon cakes cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side until dark golden brown, almost toasted in color. Adjust the heat lower if the salmon cakes get too dark too quickly.
  • Once the salmon cakes are done, place each salmon cake on a slider bun and serve with the cilantro lime aioli, marinated cucumbers and fresh arugula leaves. Enjoy!
  • Recipe by Chef Karista Bennett
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    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Pork Salmon Seafood Sweets

    Superbowl Sunday Recipe Ideas

    Superbowl Sunday Recipe Ideas // Karista's Kitchen

    Have you planned your Superbowl menu yet?  I should have done that weeks ago but I finally narrowed it down to a few selections.

    Slow Oven Baked Ribs // Karista's Kitchen

    I’m definitely serving Ranger Craig’s fave Slow Oven Baked Ribs.  These are moist, succulent and full of delicious flavor.  Not to mention, so easy to prepare!

    Asian Marinated Pork Sliders with Caramelized Onions and Spicy Mustard // Karista's Kitchen

    Superbowl Sliders

    My youngest gal and her teenage friends loves sliders, so I’m making the teen crew Asian Marinated Pork Sliders with Caramelized Onions and Spicy Mustard.  The marinated pork is so perfect for sliders but I often make this dish without buns and serve it over rice and steamed Bok Choy.

    Grilled Salmon Tacos with Chipotle Lime Crema and Cilantro Slaw

    My oldest gal and I are huge taco fans so I’m making my Salmon Tacos with Pineapple Cilantro Slaw.

    Will I be cooking all day?  Probably.  But as my daughter once said to her friends “my Mom loves to feed people. It makes her happy.”  And so it does. 🙂

    Peanut Butter Brownies // Karista's Kitchen

    My crew also loves to indulge in a little something sweet now and again; especially at Superbowl Sunday.  So I’m making these lovely little Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Brownies for a quick sweet that doesn’t require a lot of fuss.

    Below is a list of these delicious recipes.  Click on the recipe title and it will take you to the recipe.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!


    Smoked Salmon Wonton Tacos

    Lemon Cilantro Hummus

    Bleu Cheese Baked Potato Chips

    Southern Style Pork BBQ Sliders and Fennel Apple Slaw

    Seared Ahi Tuna Tacos 

    Retro Ham and Olive Bites

    Rogue Spruce Gin & Tonic


      For one serving
    • Crushed ice
    • 2 - 3 ounces Rogue Spruce Gin
    • 4 - 5 ounces Tonic Water
    • Squeeze of fresh lime


  • Add crushed ice to an tumbler
  • Pour the Rogue Spruce gin over the ice
  • Next pour the tonic water over the ice
  • Give it a quick stir and squeeze of lime. Enjoy!
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    Karista's Kitchen Salmon Sauces, Salsas and More Seafood

    Meyer Lemon Beurre Blanc over Salmon

    Meyer Lemon Beurre Blanc over Salmon // Karista's Kitchen

    Today, I’m talking sauce! Ask anyone who has known me for a while and they will tell you I love to make sauce.  Sauce seems to elevate a meal and make it feel special.  It adds another layer of flavor and texture that engages the taste buds and keeps the recipe entertaining bite after bite.

    A sauce can be as simple or as complex as you like.   It can be intense with flavor or subtly infused.  Sauce is all about dressing up a dish and making it shine.

    Meyer Lemon Beurre Blanc over Salmon // Karista's Kitchen

    Beurre Blanc is a classic French butter-based sauce. Translated it literally means “white butter”.  It’s considered an emulsion sauce and requires the butter to be chilled before using in order to keep the sauce from breaking. Now that I’ve mentioned this, don’t let the possibility of the sauce “breaking” deter you.

    Cooking (and sauce making) requires prep, patience and practice.  If you’ve never made this sauce before, just take your time.  I promise, before long you will be a sauce making pro.

    Meyer Lemon Beurre Blanc  // Karista's Kitchen

    A basic Beurre Blanc requires white wine, white wine vinegar, shallots and cold butter. This Meyer Lemon Beurre Blanc only requires Meyer lemon juice, shallots, cold butter and lemon zest. That’s it! A little salt to taste and your sauce is done.

    I prefer Meyer lemon versus conventional lemon in this sauce.  Meyer lemons have a sweeter flavor and are less acidic than regular lemons which creates a subtle and balanced citrus flavor in the sauce. For additional lemon flavor I add a teaspoon of lemon zest to the finished sauce.

    I’ve paired this sauce with pan seared salmon.  I think these two were made for each other.  The creamy butter sauce laced with lemon combined with the unique flavor of the salmon makes for a  delicious and beautiful dish.  This sauce is also exquisite drizzled over pan seared or grilled scallops and I’ve also been known to ladle this silky sauce on grilled oysters.

    Truly a beautiful sauce that will make you fall in love with seafood all over again.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


    Meyer Lemon Beurre Blanc over Salmon

    Makes about 1 1/2 cups

    Meyer Lemon Beurre Blanc over Salmon

    Some chefs leave the shallots in the sauce which is also fine. This, I call the "rustic" version. It also adds a bit more texture to the sauce.


    • 2 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
    • 1 medium shallot, finely diced (about a tablespoon)
    • 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced (about a stick and a half)
    • 1 teaspoon Meyer lemon zest
    • Salt to taste
    • Chopped fresh chive for garnish


  • In a nonreactive saute pan over medium low heat, add the lemon juice and shallots Simmer until half the liquid has been reduced; it will feel almost dry or what is referred to as "au sec".
  • Take the pan off the heat and whisk in several pieces of diced butter (about a 1/4 of the butter). When it's nicely incorporated whisk in a few more pieces butter (another 1/4 of the butter). The sauce should begin to feel smooth.
  • Place the pan back over medium low heat and whisk in the remaining butter until the sauce is smooth.
  • Take the sauce off the heat and gently stir in the lemon zest and season to taste with salt.
  • Strain the sauce into a container and ladle over pan seared, roasted or grilled salmon.
  • Garnish with chopped fresh chive or little tender sprigs of fresh thyme.
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    Grilling Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Salmon Seafood

    Arugula Chimichurri over Roasted Salmon and a Virtual Baby Shower

    Salmon with Arugula Chimichurri // Karista's Kitchen

    I remember when my oldest daughter was about four years old and we were hanging out on the living room floor, reading books and talking about how someday she would have a baby brother or sister.

    As we were chatting, she turned her rosy cheeked, sweet blue eyed, blonde head to me and said “Mom, how did you know to pick me?”  I was a little surprised by the question and I asked “what do you mean?” She replied “you know, how did you know you wanted ME?”  The question caught me by surprise and as I tried to recover I said “Well… Dad and I saw all the baby angels playing in heaven and that’s when we spotted you. We instantly fell in love and knew we wanted you for our baby.”

    Everyday Maven's Baby Celebration


    Now, I know some of you might think that’s one tall tale to tell a four year old, but honestly, that is what I came up with.  My heart was so warmed by the question, I wanted my answer to reflect how much we wanted her and how much we cherished our little sassy blonde girl.

    Salmon with Arugula Chimichurri

    She clung to those words for years to come and when our second daughter arrived, my sassy little gal said to her Dad, “I guess this is the one you picked?”

    As you know, I have two sassy gals now and they are the food for my soul.  Motherhood and parenting have been a wild ride and I wouldn’t trade a minute.

    My Two Sassy Gals on Mother's Day 2014

    My Two Sassy Gals on Mother’s Day 2014

    I’m truly honored to have been asked to participate in my sweet friend’s virtual baby shower.  Alyssa, of Everyday Maven, her handsome husband and their adorable little boy will soon know the joy of welcoming a new baby boy to their family.

    Several years ago, I met Alyssa at a blog conference in Seattle – while noshing on the most divine appetizers.  I liked her immediately.  A breath of fresh air, exuding a warm and genuine personality, Alyssa is a most beautiful and lovely lady.

    I’m happy to say, we’ve been friends ever since.

    Alyssa writes the delicious food blog Everyday Maven and has published two fantastic e-Books.  Her recipes are drool worthy and written with good health and nutrition in mind. I think one of my favorite Everyday Maven recipes has to be the Cabbage Rolls.  And of course her guest post for my blog, Karista’s Kitchen,  gluten free Banana Chip Cookies.

    Today, several other bloggers and myself are hosting a virtual baby shower for Alyssa.  A plethora of delicious recipes to celebrate but also recipes to prepare during the first few months after the new baby’s arrival.  Recipes to comfort and nourish with ease of preparation for a quick meal or leisurely weekend.  Although as we know, there is nothing “leisurely” about a new baby in the house; just lots of love and smiles and hopefully, soon to be restful nights.

    Congratulations Alyssa and family!

    Here is a list of Alyssa’s Virtual Baby Shower Recipes, lovingly prepared by some fabulous food bloggers!


    Fried Egg Topped Curried Sweet Potatoes from A Beautiful Bite

    Chocolate Orange Protein Smoothie from The Lemon Bowl

    Spaghetti Squash Hash from Eats Well With Others


    Hearty Garbanzo Soup from Sweet Life Bake

    Pumpkin White Bean Soup from Blue Kale Road


    Slow Cooker Red Wine Pot Roast from Jeanette’s Healthy Living

    Slow Cooker Beef and Bacon Stew from Girlichef

    Lemon Pepper Chicken with Arugala from Virtually Homemade

    Roast Chicken Ratatouille from An Edible Mosaic


    Spiced Honey Nut and Seed Snack Mix from Fake Food Free

    Charred Brussel Sprout, Bacon, and Toasted Sesame Guacamole from Baker by Nature

    Quick and Easy Cucumber Bites, Three Ways from Hip Foodie Mom

    Arugula Chimichurri over Roasted Salmon

    About 1 1/2 cups

    Arugula Chimichurri over Roasted Salmon


    • 2 garlic cloves
    • 1 cup fresh baby arugula leaves, packed
    • 1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves
    • ½ cup fresh basil leaves, packed
    • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
    • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 1 teaspoon of sugar
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • ½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
    • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes


  • In a food processor or blender, add all the ingredients and blend until ingredients are pureed into a smooth sauce. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve over pan seared or grilled halibut and serve with wild rice pilaf, white rice and/or roasted veggies.
  • For a step by step pictorial on how to pan sear salmon, click here
  • Notes

    I love serving this Arugula Chimichurri with roasted salmon, but it's also fabulous with pan seared or grilled scallops and makes a tasty dipping sauce for grilled or poached shrimp.

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    Karista's Kitchen Salmon Seafood Tips and Techniques VRAI Magazine

    How To Pan Sear Fish with a Quick Pan Sauce

    How to pan sear salmon with a quick pan sauce

    One of the questions I hear most is “how do I pan sear fish and make a quick sauce?”.  Pan seared fish with a quick pan sauce is one of the easiest meals to make.  And, it can be on the table in less than 20 minutes.  There is a method to this quick dish, which is why I’ve created a pictorial with step by step instructions for my September food article at VRAI Magazine.

    If you’ve ever wanted to know how to achieve the perfect pan seared fish head on over to VRAI Magazine to snag this delicious pictorial.  And while you’re there, don’t forget to browse the collection of deliciousness created by our Co-Founder Kristin Hoffman of Baker Bettie, Lifestyle Editor, Sheri Silver as well as our enchanting food contributors.  VRAI Magazine Food is the perfect resource for your Fall and Holiday recipes.

    Coming soon to Karista’s Kitchen…  I’ll be posting a Peruvian Stir Fry called Lomo Saltado and an apple dessert you won’t want to miss!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,




    Halibut Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Salmon Seafood Shrimp

    Grilled Salmon Tacos with Chipotle Lime Crema and Fresh Cilantro Slaw

    Grilled Salmon Tacos with Chipotle Lime Crema and Cilantro Slaw

    I wish I could tell you this is a new recipe.  It’s not.  Actually it’s a revision, maybe adaption is a better word.  Most likely due to changes in my palate as well as changes in my culinary style.   I’ve been making assorted fish tacos for years.  Assembling the little lovelies differently each time.  Allowing my playful culinary visions to shine through.   I posted the original recipe way back in 2010, when I used my little point and shoot Canon to take food photos.  A hearty little silver blue camera that did the job for a while.

    But then I started getting fussy about my food pictures.  I read somewhere that chef’s are the worst food photographers.  At first glance I took offense to that statement.  But it couldn’t have been more true, especially way back in the day when I started this website.  For me, It’s always been about the food.  The explosion of flavor that happens when something delectable hits the palate.  But somewhere in the mix, I realized a great photo was a true representation of my masterpiece.  And it should look as good as the food tastes.  Not to mention, the old photo made me cringe.  Literally, it kept me up at night.

    This is a lovely dish that certainly deserves a lovely photo.  And it’s a lovely dish that can be prepared so many different ways.  Grilled or Roasted Salmon (or any fresh fish you have on hand), spicy or sweet crema, spicy or sweet slaw, with our without pineapple and/or mango.  And if you love avocado as much as I do, toss a slice on top of your taco to complete this lush recipe.

    I’ve included some fun options for these tacos in the recipe below.  Different ideas to season, additional options for the slaw and the crema… or as my family likes to say “the sauce”.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


    Grilled Salmon Tacos with Chipotle Lime Crema and Fresh Cilantro Slaw

    Serves 4


    For the Salmon

    1 1/2 lbs fresh salmon filets

    Olive oil

    ½  teaspoon chili powder

    ½ teaspoon ground cumin

    ½ teaspoon smoked paprika

    ½ teaspoon dried oregano

    1 teaspoon salt

    ½ teaspoon black pepper

    Options:  Instead of using my fish spice mixture, feel free to use your favorite spicy fish taco seasoning or Emerils Essence Seasoning also makes a delish option for these tacos. 

    For the Chipotle Lime Crema

    ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder (you may want to begin with 1/4 teaspoon, taste, and then add more if you like)

    1 cup crème Fraiche or sour cream

    zest of 1 lime

    2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

    1 teaspoon sugar

    Options: substitute mayonnaise for the sour cream and Sriracha or hot sauce for the chipotle chili powder. 

    For the Cilantro Slaw

    2 cups shredded fresh cabbage

    1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

    ½ cup mayonnaise

    2  tablespoons sugar

    1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

    Salt and fresh cracked black pepper

    Options:  add diced fresh pineapple, mango or papaya to the slaw. If you don’t like cilantro, substitute with sliced green onions.


    Your favorite salsa or pico de gallo

    8 – 10 corn tortillas, steamed or warmed (I either warm them over my grill, gas stove top or in the microwave.

    Fresh sliced Avocado (optional)

    Lime wedges


    Heat the grill to 400F. Brush the grill racks with oil.

    Mix together the chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika, salt and pepper.  Rub the salmon with oil and then sprinkle liberally with the spice mixture.

    When the grill is hot, place the salmon flesh side down on the grill. Let the salmon sear and cook for about 4 minutes, and then carefully flip the fish with a wide spatula and grill another 4 minutes, or a little longer for salmon that is cooked through.  If the salmon doesn’t want to flip, it’s probably not ready.  Just let it sit for another minute or two, turning the heat down if needed.  Rule of thumb: fish should cook 10 minutes for every inch of thickness.

    Transfer the cooked salmon to a platter to cool.

    While the salmon is cooling, whisk together the creme fraiche, chipotle chili powder, lime zest, lime juice and sugar. Season to taste with salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Set aside.

    Wisk together the mayonnaise, sugar, cider vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Toss the dressing with the shredded cabbage and cilantro.

    Flake the grilled salmon, removing any bones. Fill the steamed tortillas with the grilled salmon, top with chipotle lime crema, your favorite salsa or pico de gallo, and the shredded cabbage with cilantro. Serve with lime wedges and fresh avocado slices. Enjoy!



    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Salmon Seafood

    Salmon en Papillote

    Salmon en Papillote

    Hands down this is one of the simplest and freshest seafood recipes.  Requiring only a few fresh ingredients…  fresh salmon, fresh herbs, sliced shallots, garlic, lemon and anything else you’d like to throw in – wrap in parchment or foil and roast in the oven for about 10 minutes.  Done!

    This recipe was always a favorite in my seafood cooking classes.  The ease of preparation led most of my students to believe this lovely little dish might lack flavor, due to the method of cooking.  Wow! Were they surprised.  One student remarked he couldn’t believe the fragrance that came from opening the packet – and the flavor was just as intense and enchanting.

    Salmon en Papillote before and after roasting

    Salmon en Papillote Before and After Roasting

    Layering flavor is key.  Beginning with one or two aromatics such as delicate shallots, sweet onions, garlic, thinly sliced leeks, spring onions or fennel and then topping with fresh herbs.  An entire handful if you like.  An assortment.  I adore chive and lemon thyme but rosemary also holds up well to the richness of salmon.  Whatever herbs you have on hand or fresh herbs that are growing in garden will be fantastic.  The last layer is citrus; lemon, lime, oranges, kumquats, and again, whatever you have on hand.  I adore the flavors of lemon and salmon together, so that’s what I’ve used in this recipe.

    However you layer the flavor in this dish it will be beautifully delicious.  A speedy and enticing weeknight meal, but also a lovely meal to serve for dinner guests. Prep the packets in advance and then all you need to do is pop them in the oven or on the grill and dinner is served.

    I like serving this dish during the spring and summer months with my Arugula and White Bean Salad, a traditional Caesar salad or grilled veggies.  And of course, I always pair this with my favorite white wine, DaVinci Pinot Grigio.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!


    Salmon en Papillote

    If I’m using the grill as my cooking method I always prepare this in foil packets.  If I’m using the oven, I use parchment.  Unless of course I’ve run out of parchment because a certain teenage girl didn’t tell me she used the last of the parchment for her chocolate chip cookies. 😉

    Serves 4


    4 salmon filets

    Kosher or sea salt

    Fresh cracked black pepper

    Grapeseed or Olive oil

    2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

    1/3 cup thinly sliced shallots (or more if you love shallots)

    1 lemon zested and halved

    4 – 3 inch stalks fresh rosemary

    8-10 strands of fresh chive

    4 – 3 inch stalks of fresh oregano

    4 – 2-3 inch sprigs fresh thyme (I adore lemon thyme)

    4 pieces of foil or parchment, about 12×12 inch square or large enough to enclose a salmon fillet.  Click here to learn how to fold the parchment.


    Pre-heat the oven to 375F.

    Place the foil squares on a flat surface or counter.  Place a salmon fillet in the middle of each square.

    Drizzle a little lemon juice over each fillet, and then drizzle with a little oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

    On each fillet, layer the shallots, garlic, lemon zest and then top with the fresh herbs.  Top each with a slice of lemon.

    Next, wrap the foil over the fish so it’s “tented” and seal the edges.  You want the salmon to steam inside the foil packet.

    Depending on thickness, roast the fish packets for about 8-10 minutes or until the salmon is done to your preference.

    When the fish is done, remove the fillets from the packets and transfer to plates.  Remove the herbs, leaving the shallots, lemon and garlic and pour any remaining juices from the foil over the fish.  Serve with lemon wedges and fresh chopped Italian parsley if desired.

    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Salmon Seafood

    Nori Wrapped Salmon

    Nori wrapped salmon with fresh herbs, dijon and wasabi

    Working as a chef translates into many things.  Personal clients, catering, recipe development, food photography, prep chef, sometimes dishwasher/kitchen cleaner and cheese specialist (yep did that too).  I’ve had (and still have) several unique positions being a chef and it’s been an absolute blast.  I have to say however, one of my most favorite positions has been that of culinary instructor.

    Over the last several years I taught culinary classes at one of our local culinary schools in Seattle.  I had the pleasure of meeting and working with the loveliest and most talented Chefs, Assistants and Nutritionists, as well as some amazing students.  One of the Nutritionists, Jennifer Adler, makes this exquisite and healthy recipe for her students and recommends it for her clients.  The ingredient list alone made my mouth water and I knew this bit of deliciousness had to make a regular rotation on my menu – for my family as well as my clients.

    Nori wrapped salmon with fresh herbs, Dijon, and wasabi

    Not only does this wrapped salmon make a lovely meal, I also prepare it in small bite size portions. These little bites make a simple and enticing starter for a brunch or evening dinner party.  Not only are they packed with flavor and good nutrition, they look like little pieces of art resting on a platter.

    So if you aim to please some taste buds but you want to keep things on the light side – or you want to impress your guests, this is a perfect savory recipe.  For even more taste-bud enchantment I like to pair my Nori Wrapped Salmon with pickled ginger, coconut rice and sautéed Asian greens.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


    Nori Wrapped Salmon


    1lb salmon fillet, cut into 2-4 pieces (have your fishmonger remove the skin if you like)

    1 tablespoon olive oil

    4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs. I use thyme, basil, chive, oregano or mint, Italian parsley, garlic, salt and pepper

    3 tablespoons quality Dijon mustard

    Pinch of wasabi

    4 sheets of Nori (usually found in the Asian food aisle in your local market)


    Preheat the oven to 350F.

    Mix together the oil,  herbs, salt and pepper.  Rub the salmon with this mixture.

    Mix together the mustard and wasabi.  Spread this mixture onto a square of nori, large enough to wrap your fillet.  Place the salmon piece on the edge of the nori and wrap.  Like a little package. The nori will stick to itself and the fish.

    Place the wrapped fish in a slightly oiled baking dish or on a baking sheet.  Fish should cook for about 10 minutes to every inch of thickness.  However, with the nori wrap the cooking time could take a little longer.  I like my salmon under cooked just a bit so I usually stick to the 10 minutes per inch rule.

    Remove the fish from the oven and serve with pickled ginger and coconut rice if desired.  If you want to dress up the wrapped salmon, I like to tie it in a blade of chive and serve.   Enjoy!

    Recipe from Jennifer Adler, MS, CN

    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Salmon Seafood

    Smoked Salmon Wonton Tacos

    Smoked salmon, napa cabbage, cilantro, cucumber, red onion with a spicy sauce in a wonton taco shell

    Smoked Salmon Wonton Taco Appetizers

    I admit, when Kelley, author of Mountain Mama Cooks, started Taco Tuesday I was completely jazzed.  Over the moon excited with anticipation for every new Taco Tuesday.  Soft or crunchy, corn or flour shells that hold a multitude of delicious meat or veggie fillings.  Every Tuesday would be a taco surprise! And for this taco loving gal… that was almost too much excitement.

    So when Kelley asked if I’d like to guest post for Taco Tuesday… well, you can only guess my giddiness.

    smoked salmon wonton tacos with napa cabbage, cucumber, cilantro, red onion and a spicy sriracha sauce

    To read the full guest post and snag this delicious Smoked Salmon Wonton Taco recipe, head on over to Mountain Mama Cooks!

    Sending you all lots of love and delicious wishes!


    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Salmon Seafood

    Wild Salmon with Caramelized Fennel and Roasted Potatoes

    wild salmon with caramelized fennel and roasted potatoes

    Wild Salmon with Caramelized Fennel and Roasted Potatoes

    Although my reality is not winning an Oscar or a Golden Globe, it feels that momentous.  I’ve been honored.  As some of you know, I’ve been awarded the Culinary Arts winner of the 2013 DaVinci Wine Storyteller’s Experience.

    Very soon, I’ll be traveling to Vinci, Italy, courtesy of DaVinci Wine – home to the historic Cantine Leonardo Da Vinci, where DaVinci Wines are produced.  I will have the opportunity to visit and experience the rich history of the region and experience the culture of generations of wine growers, local chefs and artists.

    DaVinci Wine Storyteller Experience

    Winner 2013 DaVinci Wine Storyteller Experience

    I’m thrilled to join three other winners on this extraordinary adventure, Kristina Havens, Leela Cyd and Jim O’Donnell.  They will also be writing about this experience from their professional perspectives, which should prove to be lovely beyond words and art.

    Follow along with me on my DaVinci Wine Storyteller Experience via DaVinci Wine Facebook Page and Karista’s Kitchen blog, Facebook page, PinterestInstagram and Twitter.  If  you happen to stop by the blog, check out the most recent social media activity on the Social Stream page.

    I bid you Bon Voyage with this enticing little feast.  Italian inspired, farm fresh, seasonal and somewhat effortless.  Ahh… I like that word.  Effortless  🙂

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


    Wild Salmon with Caramelized Fennel and Roasted Potatoes

    Serves 4


    For the fish:

    1 1/2 – 2lbs wild salmon (preferably fresh if you can find it) Or the traditional Italian recipe uses Red Mullet

    Salt and Pepper

    1-2 tablespoons Healthy oil of your choice or Ghee (clarified butter)

    For the remaining dish:

    1 – 2 medium fennel bulbs, ends trimmed (save the stalks for soups and stews) and 1/2 inch thick sliced.

    1 1/2lbs baby potatoes (I adore fingerlings for their creamy texture), cleaned and halved or quartered to create uniform size for roasting.

    Handful of capers, drained

    Handful of Italian parsley, chopped

    1/4 -1/2 cup white wine

    1-2 tablespoons Olive oil

    1-2 tablespoons Ghee (clarified butter) or butter

    Salt and Pepper


    Pre-heat the oven to 375F and toss the cubed or quartered potatoes with a few tablespoons olive oil and then dust with salt and pepper.  Place the potatoes on a foil or parchment lined baking sheet and roast until golden brown and soft.  About 10-15 minutes depending on size.

    While the potatoes are roasting heat a tablespoon or two of ghee (clarified butter) in a large sauté pan over medium high heat.  When the butter is melted and frothy, add the sliced fennel and toss in the butter.  Turn the heat to medium and allow the fennel to cook and caramelize for about 10-15 minutes.  Continue tossing the fennel every few minutes or so.  Watch the temperature and adjust as necessary.

    Cut the salmon into 4-6 pieces. Season the salmon with salt and pepper and either place the salmon in a baking dish and roast in the oven at 375F or pan sear in a large skillet over medium high heat with a tablespoon or two of oil or ghee (clarified butter).  This dish is also delicious with grilled salmon.   Click here for pan sear techniques.

    When the fennel begins to brown, take the pan off the heat and add the wine.  Place the pan back on the heat and let the wine reduce until almost completely dissipated, stirring just a bit.  Then add the capers, Italian parsley, roasted potatoes and a drizzle of oil or ghee if needed.  Combine and then remove from the heat.  Taste for salt and pepper.

    Place a portion of fennel and potatoes on four plates and then top with the wild salmon.  Garnish with Italian parsley and a squeeze of lemon.   Serve with DaVinci Pinot Grigio.

    Buon Appetito!

    This recipe is adapted from a Traditional Italian Red Mullet and Fennel dish.