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Smoked Salmon with Seaweed Pesto

by Brad Prose

Salmon and Seaweed Belong Together

This smoked salmon with seaweed pesto might not like the first thing that pops into your head.

It’s healthy, smokey, packed with umami (savory) flavors, and can be paired with just about any kind of starch or carb:

Rice, noodles, toasted breads… heck even a baked potato!  Alright.  I’m trying to sell you hard on seaweed pesto.

I was cleaning out and organizing my pantry and realized I overbought sheets of nori. Herbs in my fridge that choose to wilt early get blitzed into a chimichurri or a pesto as I don’t like to waste anything if I can help it. There were a number of items found that were destined to be used and repurposed, but this was the most curious for me.  I’m was way too lazy to think about making a bunch of sushi-type rolls.  Can’t I just blend it all?

salmon prep with togarashi
Seasoned with togarashi and sitting on a cedar plank
grilled salmon on cedar plank
It doesn’t take long to make perfect salmon.

Savory, smoked sushi flavors in a comforting bowl of noodles

A quick search online for “seaweed pesto” left me scratching my head so I decided to work at it. The pesto took a few tries to hone in on the right blend of acid and textures.

If you try the pesto you’ll probably come up with a number of new ways to use it.  Smoked salmon with togarashi made sense for me at the time.  Wait, what is togarashi??

Togarashi is a common Japanese spice mixture, though there are varieties of it.  The most common is called shichimi, which includes spices such as sesame seeds, ginger, orange peel, nori, and ground chile peppers.  This spice blend adds a lot of umami to any dish (rice, noodles, soup, eggs) but tastes especially amazing on fish.

The flavorful togarashi that I use is from Spiceology and is convenient if you’re not wanting to make your own from scratch.  I also like theirs because it includes szechuan peppercorns and dehydrated soy for extra spice and umami.

Optional Ingredients

  • You’ll see that I chose to use fresh lemon juice, though I bet this could be delicious with yuzu.
  • Substitute togarashi.  I’d recommend a mix of sesame seeds, black pepper, salt, chile powder, lemon zest. Use a light brush of soy on the fish before applying.
  • Shrimp. This would work so well, grilled shrimp skewers mixed in with the noodles and pesto.

Cedar Planks

I used these from Wildwood Grillingto keep the fish moist, and frankly, to make the cooking super simple.

seaweed pesto with smoked salmon
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seaweed pesto with smoked salmon

Smoked Salmon with Seaweed Pesto


  • Author: Brad Prose
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 40
  • Yield: 4 1x

Description

This unique dish can be paired with rice, pasta, soba noodles, or ramen. It’s incredibly flexible and packed with umami. Feel free to add poached eggs for an extra rich touch, or roasted vegetables to keep it healthy.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 5 full sheets Roasted Nori
  • ¾ Cup Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp toasted Sesame Seeds
  • Juice from 1 Lemon
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt, more to taste
  • 1 tsp Togarashi (optional)
  • Cedar Grilling Plank
  • 1 lb Salmon fillets, portioned or whole with skin
  • 2 Tbsp Togarashi
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt

Instructions

  1. Soak a Cedar plank in hot water for about 20 minutes. Remove and pat dry.
  2. To prepare the pesto, get a large bowl of warm water.  Dip the sheets of nori in the water to soften them for 1 minute, then place them in the blender with the remainder of the ingredients. Adjust salt as needed.
  3. Prepare your pasta/rice/noodles. I recommend soba noodles as shown in the photos.
  4. Set up your grill for indirect grilling, aim for 400 degrees F.
  5. Place the plank on the cooking grate and close the lid. When the plank begins to smoke and lightly char, use tongs to remove it from the grill, 7 to 10 minutes. Close the lid to allow the grill to heat.
  6. Put the seasoned salmon skin side down on the plank charred side up.
  7. Grill the planked salmon for 10-15 minutes or until cooked. Remove from grill.
  8. Serve the salmon and mix with your starch and pesto to taste. The pesto is strong so start with 2 Tbsp and add as needed.

Notes

Keep a spray bottle of water handy in case of flare-ups with the cedar plank.

  • Category: Seafood
  • Method: Grilling
  • Cuisine: Japanese

Keywords: seafood, sauce

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1 comment

kqf October 24, 2021 - 11:25 am

I’m keen to try this recipe as it looks interesting, but you should your food styling is really going to turn some folks off. https://blog.gaijinpot.com/dont-stick-chopsticks-bowl-rice/

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