Sesame Crusted Salmon Fillet.
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And thus begins our week dedicated to sesame seeds - both white and black.

One of the greatest things about living in a city like Chicago and the incredible amount of options that are at your disposal. Shopping. Cultural activities. Sporting events. We may not be New York City, but the Second City (which I am quickly finding myself preferring) offers so many amazing things to take advantage of. Over the last few years I have been working on getting my professional career on track and slowly begin making money. As a result, I have not really had the opportunity to go out and try different restaurants. Being a food blogger, this is a real struggle. Honestly. A big, big struggle.

A month ago I broke out of my shell and went to Ramen-san, a ramen place in Chicago's River North neighborhood. Holy moly, Mother and Joseph, I found a new love. It hadn't been since I first tried Monofuku in New York City that I had ramen that was life changing. Since that point, the extend of my ramen consumption had been sub-par attempts from the Whole Foods near my office. Don't get me wrong, there are many positives to Whole Foods, but their ramen-making-abilities is not one of them. Just take my word for it, do not waste your time.

Sesame seeds. Not in the ramen I ate. Not in the steamed pork bun I ate. Not in the margarita I drank. But in another dish that I devoured.

Something that I've always wanted to do is take one single ingredient and try coming up with different ways to utilize said ingredient. While this particular recipe comes from The Black Dog Tavern, I still couldn't help myself. So I made it. Just wait until you hear what I get to eat after this sesame crusted salmon fillet....it gets even better!

Tommy.


| Sesame Crusted Salmon Fillet | 
Recipe from The Black Dog Tavern

Ingredients:

3/4 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 cup raw white hulled sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Spanish paprika
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons dark (toasted) sesame oil
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 pounds boneless, skinless salmon fillets, approximately 1 inch thick

Directions:

  1. Mix together the bread crumbs, sesame seeds, white pepper, salt, paprika, parsley, and 1/4 cup of the sesame oil.
  2. Place a sauté pan over medium high heat and add the canola oil.
  3. Rub about 1 teaspoon of sesame oil on the top of each fillet, making sure it is well covered. Press fillets into the bread crumb mixture to coat well.
  4. Place the breaded salmon, crumb side down, in the hot pan and sear for about 5 minutes or until evenly browned.
  5. Turn the fillet over and finish cooking on the other side for about 5 more minutes.
  6. Serve over Chilled Sesame Spinach (recipe below).

| Chilled Sesame Spinach |

Ingredients:

1 package fresh spinach, about 10 ounces 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 2 garlic cloves, chopped 2 teaspoons sesame seeds pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Rinse the spinach well. Pick over and discard any touch leaves and stems. Dry and reserve.
  2. Place a sauté pan over medium heat and add the sesame oil and crushed red pepper flakes. Heat.
  3. Add the garlic and sesame seeds and sauté until both are slightly browned.
  4. Now add the cleaned spinach and cook, stirring frequently to mix in the garlic and sesame seeds. Watch carefully and remove from heat when just wilted. Season with salt.
  5. Put the wilted spinach in a colander to drain and chill for about an hour.