panko crusted salmon (a recipe)

One might think that after having a baby recently enter our lives that my husband and I would jump on the take-out [dinner] train.  In fact, it’s quite the opposite: I don’t think we’ve done take-out once since our little one has arrived.  And as crazy as it might sound, I actually still enjoy cooking dinner almost every night.  Yes, sometimes with baby in one arm too.  🙂

And yes, we do still go out occasionally (with her in tow) as you can see on my blog so it’s not like I’m cooking every night of the week (we do like leftovers too).  I know it probably sounds twisted to some folks but I find cooking and baking quite therapeutic.  Strange, I know …

Anywho, on to the topic at hand: cooking salmon.  I don’t think I’ve ever really mastered it to be quite honest.  I’ve definitely burned it to where the skin is stuck onto the bottom of a frying pan.  We tried grilling it once on a wood plank but it didn’t turn out very well.  And I’ve certainly under-cooked it many times worrying that I would over-cook it, popped it back into the oven (or pan) to cook it just a little bit more, only to manage to over-cook it anyway.  Sigh.

So for a while there I kind of just gave up on cooking salmon at home and opted to order it whenever we went out.  Then one day it was on sale at the grocery store so I decided to try my hand at it again.  Only this time I Googled recipes and came across Ina Garten’s recipe for panko-crusted salmon.  Bingo!  And you know what?  It turned out awesome!  My husband agreed that this was by far the best salmon I had cooked for us at home, so we give the recipe two thumbs up.

Here is the recipe with my alterations and substitutions.  This recipe is for 2 salmon fillets (as opposed to the 4 portions in her recipe), but it can easily be doubled or tweaked to fit your needs.  I think the key component for a successful turn out is the searing in a pan first and then finishing it off in the oven technique.


– 2 (6 to 8 ounce) salmon fillets, skin on (I asked for a 1 pound piece at the fish counter and just cut it in half when I got home)
– 1/2 cup of panko (Japanese dried bread flakes)
– 1 tablespoon of Penzeys Spices Fox Point seasoning (it’s  my favorite!  It is made up of salt, shallots, chives, garlic, onion and green peppercorns.)
– 1 tablespoon of olive oil
– Grey Poupon dijon mustard
– about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
– lemon wedges for serving (optional)


1.  Wash the salmon fillets, then pat them dry.  Place them skin side down on a plate or your working surface.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

2.  Mix the panko, seasoning and olive oil in a small bowl and stir to combine.  If you can’t get the seasoning mix, use any sort of dried herbs that you like as a substitute.  You may need to use a little more or less olive oil depending on what you use; it’s just to keep the panko crumbs moist so you can eyeball the amount.

3.  Spread some of the mustard on each of the salmon fillets.  This will help make the panko stick to the salmon and also keep the salmon moist during cooking.

4.  Divide the panko into two and spoon onto the top of each salmon fillet.  Spread it out so that it covers the top of the fillet and press down lightly to help it stick.

5.  Heat the vegetable oil in a large oven-proof pan (read: one without plastic handles!) or a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.  When it’s hot, add the salmon fillets skin side down and sear them for 3 to 4 minutes.

6.  Transfer the pan to the hot oven for 5 to 7 minutes until the salmon is almost fully cooked and the panko has browned on top.

7.  Carefully remove the pan from the oven (that handle is going to be HOT!) and tent a piece of foil over the salmon.  Let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes (it will continue to cook a little bit), and then serve it with the lemon wedges.

On this night, I served it with some plain white rice and with a little cucumber and broccoli salad I make (a lot!) with shallots and apple cider vinegar (that’ll be another post for another day).  It sounds like a lot of steps to do but it really is a very simple recipe (you can totally do this in less than 30 minutes), and it’s one I’ll definitely do again the next time I feel like making salmon at home.  Enjoy!


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