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grilled salmon

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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    Grilling Salmon Sauces, Salsas and More Seafood

    Grilled Salmon with Arugula and Lemon Mayonnaise

    It was one of those days… again.  You know, the kind of day that’s filled with lots of running errands, returning phone calls, scheduling meetings, school activities, and let’s not forget the dreaded laundry.  Yes, my least favorite chore… in the whole wide world!  Sometimes I just ignore it hoping the laundry fairy will magically appear and finish it for me.  But alas, the laundry fairy didn’t appear and I still had dinner to prepare.

    Of course it was a busy weekend and I didn’t get my menu planned on Sunday.  Monday afternoon arrived quickly and I found myself scrambling for a great dinner idea only to find myself power walking through the grocery store once again.  I might as well terminate my gym membership as I’m forever power walking my local market in 30 minutes or less, which is also how much time I had to get dinner on the table. Yes, even a Chef has an occasional “I don’t know what I’m going to make for dinner” day.

    Fish always seems like a good idea especially when I’m short on time.  King salmon is in season in my neck of the woods and it’s one of those immensely versatile fish that can be topped with as little as fresh lemon, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, or as fussy as a white wine beurre blanc.  However, I decided to try something a little different, a bit retro if you will. 

    When I was young, eating fish and veggies with mayonnaise was all the rage.  In fact, as I was perusing my Mom’s old cookbooks I found several of these delicious little mayonnaise recipes.  Many of the recipes sounded more like an aioli than a true mayonnaise.  Aioli is much like a mayonnaise, although, it can be prepared with or without eggs, mustard and garlic.   

    Why not use mayonnaise as a base and create a delicious herbed dipping sauce for fish? So the experiment began.  Ranger Craig grilled the fresh salmon with a bit of lemon, sea salt and pepper and I prepared the sauce.  Using fresh arugula, lemon and shallots I blended the sauce with additional milk, sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper; fresh, basic ingredients that beautifully complimented the grilled salmon and made for a quick and exquisite meal. Add a salad of baby greens tossed in a light vinaigrette and your tasty meal is complete.

    If you are a purist at heart and would love to prepare your own mayonnaise I’ve included some information and a recipe below.  I like using an olive oil or safflower oil based mayo whenever possible, but feel free to use your favorite brand.  As well, these divine little sauces can be used on any fish you might have on hand.  

    Keep dinner simple… Enjoy the flavors of life!

    Serves 4


    For the Arugula Mayonnaise:

    1/3 cup mayonnaise

    ¼ cup milk (or more for a thinner dipping sauce)

    ¼  cup fresh arugula, packed

    1 tablespoon chopped shallots

    Zest of one lemon (about 1 teaspoon)

    2 tablespoons lemon juice

    Kosher or sea salt to taste

    Fresh cracked black pepper to taste


    Place all ingredients in a food processor, blender or if using an emulsion blender place the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. 

    Blend ingredients until the arugula is nicely incorporated into the sauce.  Taste for seasoning and serve with your favorite grilled, roasted or pan seared fish.

    Serve with a salad of spring greens and little tomatoes tossed in a little olive oil and seasoned rice wine vinegar. 

    For a simple roasted salmon:

    Pre-heat the oven to 400F.

    Place a piece of foil in the bottom of a shallow baking dish and then set the salmon skin side down on the foil. Season the salmon with a squeeze of fresh lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper and a sprinkling of fresh herbs if you like. 

    Roast the salmon just until the outside is firm and opaque but the inside is still a tiny bit pink.  For an average sized piece of salmon it might take about 8-10 minutes, however the cooking time will vary depending on the size of the fillet or steak.

    Remove the salmon from the oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes before serving.  Serve with the arugula mayonnaise and salad of spring greens.

    TIP: This mayonnaise is fabulous for cold cut sandwiches, chicken salad sandwiches or cold salmon or fish cakes. 

    Julia’s Homemade Mayonnaise (From

    Mayonnaise is one of the many foods that is referred to as an emulsion. An emulsion is a combination of two unlike components. According to Julia Child, mayonnaise is also something every cook must confidently and rapidly whip up on command with nary a qualm, because it is one of the elemental cookery procedures.

    The Science of Mayonnaise: Before attempting to make homemade mayonnaise, it is important to understand just how mayonnaise works. Mayonnaise is an emulsion of oil in lemon juice that has been stabilized by the molecule lecithin found in the egg yolks.

    The key to making mayonnaise is to avoid having the components of the emulsion separate back into their individual components. This is called “turned” or “broken” mayonnaise. No matter how long you mix the oil and lemon juice together, it will always separate into a gooey mess unless the egg yolk is added as a stabilizer.

    Why To Make Your Own Mayonnaise: There are two (2) main reasons for making your own mayonnaise – freshness and flavor. Homemade mayonnaise is fast and easy to make in a blender or food processor. It takes less than 5 minutes to make.

    Homemade Mayonnaise Recipe

    2 egg yolks, room temperature*
    1 whole egg, room temperature*
    1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed, plus more if needed
    1 teaspoon Dijon-style prepared mustard
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    Big pinch freshly-ground white pepper
    Up to 2 cups vegetable oil or pure olive oil (all one or a mixture)**

    * Since raw eggs are being use, only use the freshest eggs you can buy (the fresher, the better). As an egg ages, lecithin, a protein that acts as the central emulsifying agent, breaks down and the power of the egg yolk to stabilize the mayonnaise weakens. You may also use pasteurized eggs.

    ** For a basic mayonnaise, use an oil with a mild flavor that won’t overpower the other ingredients. If you plan to refrigerate your mayonnaise, then choose a refined oil such as pure olive oil or sunflower oil. An unrefined oil, such as extra virgin olive oil, will solidify when chilled and cause separation later as it returns to room temperature.

    Put the egg yolks, egg, lemon juice, mustard, salt, and white pepper in the work bowl of the food processor; process for 10 seconds or more, until creamy.

    With the food processor running continuously, pour in the oil very slowly in driblets at first, to start the emulsion process. NOTE: Add 10 to 15% of the oil at this time. The first addition should be small and gradual. Wait about 30 second between additions.

    When the sauce has definitely thickened, you may add the oil in a thin stream. Do not stop the machine at this point, but cease pouring every few seconds to be sure the oil is being absorbed. NOTE: Add about 50% of the oil at this time.

    Then continue until the remaining 1 1/2 cups of oil are incorporated. NOTE: You may not need to use all the remaining oil at this time.

    Stop the machine and check the mayonnaise for taste and consistency. Adjust the seasonings and, if the mayonnaise is very thick, process in drops of lemon juice or warm water to thin. The mayonnaise may be used at this point, or you can process in some of the remaining oil for a thicker sauce.

    Transfer the finished mayonnaise to a bowl. If not using right away, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The sauce will keep for a good week.

    Makes approximately 2 to 2 1/4 cups.

    Precautions for Preparing Mayonnaise:

    IMPORTANT:  All the ingredients must be at room temperature. If necessary, eggs may be immersed in warm water for 10 minutes to bring them up to temperature before breaking them into the blender jar.

    Since raw eggs are being use, only use the freshest eggs you can buy (the fresher, the better). As an egg ages, lecithin, a protein that acts as the central emulsifying agent, breaks down and the power of the egg yolk to stabilize the mayonnaise weakens. You may also use pasteurized eggs.

    Eggs keep the fat (oil) and the liquid (vinegar or lemon juice) of the mayonnaise evenly blended together. If egg yolks weren’t used to emulsify the mayonnaise, the heavier liquid would sink and the lighter fat would float just as they do in vinegar and oil dressing.

    Never use aluminum bowls or saucepans to prepare mayonnaise, as they will turn the mayonnaise gray. Stainless steel, enameled, plastic (food processor) or glass may be used.

    Add the oil very slowly, especially at the beginning.

    Since homemade mayonnaise has fresh eggs in it, the mayonnaise should not be left at room temperature for more than a couple hours, as food poisoning is always a concern.

    Grilling Salmon Seafood

    Sesame Seed and Nori Crusted Salmon

    It’s been a whirlwind of a summer!  Travel to new locations, family visits and lots of delicious food that has inspired me to develop a new collection of tantalizing recipes for the approaching fall season.  

    One of the highlights of our summer was the impromptu visit of my handsome little brother and his beautiful wife and children who came to stay with us for several weeks from Japan.  And of course little brother couldn’t arrive empty-handed knowing how much I adore Japanese cuisine.  It was like Christmas in August with all the delicious treats and menu ideas from their fascinating location.   

    This distinctive little dish is one of my absolute favorite new recipes and highlights the delightful flavors of Japan.  Toasted sesame seeds and the unique flavor of nori (seaweed used in Asian cuisine) wrapped around a flavorful piece of salmon makes for a delectable and exquisite dinner.  Truly simple, fresh and delicious!

    I like to serve this yummy salmon with stir fried or roasted mixed veggies and white sticky rice.  Ranger Craig likes a little wasabi on the side for dipping, and I prefer a bit of Tamari or soy sauce. If you can find pickled ginger near the sushi section of your local market, it’s also a delicious complement to the salmon.  And a little shout out for Japanese pickles!  Yes, they are my new favorite Japanese product.  We are fortunate here in Seattle as we have several Asian markets that carry a huge variety of Asian products.  The pickles also compliment this salmon dish and taste incredible with the sticky rice. 

    New flavors, new season, always delicious.  Happy Cooking!  

    Serves 4


    4 salmon fillets or steaks, 4-6 ounces each

    1/4 cup sesame seeds, black or white

    1/4 cup crushed/chopped Nori, seaweed (you can find Nori in the Asian section of your market or near the sushi section. If you can’t find the Nori, just use the toasted sesame seeds.  It’ll still be delicious)

    Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper

    Olive oil

    Condiments: Wasabi, soy sauce, Tamari, Japanese pickles, pickled ginger

    Serve with sticky rice and stir fried or roasted mixed veggies


    Pre-heat the oven to 375F.  Mix together the sesame seeds and chopped nori. 

    Brush the salmon with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle the salmon with the sesame nori mixture and press it into the salmon. 

    I like this salmon lightly pan seared on both sides, then popped in the oven to finish cooking.  However, if you’re short on time and you want to oven roast the salmon without searing first, this will be fine.  I’ve also grilled this salmon and it turned out succulent and delicious.

    To pan sear first:  in a large oven proof skillet, heat a little olive oil on medium heat.  When the oil is hot, but not smoking, place the salmon in the skillet and sear on both sides.  Place the skillet with the salmon in the oven and roast for a few minutes longer until salmon has been cooked to your desired doneness. 

    Transfer to a platter or serve on individual plates with sticky rice, mixed stir fried or roasted veggies and condiments.