Pumpkin Seed and Panko-crusted Salmon with Quinoa-stuffed Squash

by Kelly on November 6, 2009

We’re still eating pumpkin seeds from last week’s Halloween pumpkin carvings. They’re a great snack when roasted and salted and also lend a nice nuttiness to savory dishes. As you can tell by the side dish, our quinoa obsession continues. This dish was tasty when paired with the salmon but would also make a lovely vegetarian main course, too. It may be my favorite quinoa dish yet.

Pumpkin Seed and Panko-crusted Salmon

Serves 6

6 x 6‑oz (170‑g) boneless salmon fillets
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup (30 g) roasted and salted pumpkin seeds
1 cup (60 g) panko breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons olive oil or melted butter
1 tablespoon mayonnaise

Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay each piece of salmon, skin side down, on the lined baking sheet and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Process the pumpkin seeds in a food processor to a fine breadcrumb consistency. Sift the processed seeds through a large mesh strainer to remove any husks that did not process. Blend the processed seeds with the panko, spices and olive oil or butter, mixing to coat the crumbs evenly with the oil or butter.

Brush the top of each fillet with 1/2 teaspoon of mayonnaise. Spoon the pumpkin seed mixture on top of the salmon fillets, patting down to adhere the mixture to the fish. Roast in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes, until the salmon begins to flake. Remove the salmon from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.


Quinoa-stuffed Squash
adapted from Rare Earth Farm newsletter, October 29, 2009

Serves 6 as a side dish, 3 as a main course

3 carnival or acorn squash
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups (350 ml) broth
1 cup (170 g) quinoa, rinsed
1/2 cup (60 g) raisins
1/2 cup (50 g) slivered almonds, lightly toasted
1 onion, minced
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (or 1 cinnamon stick)
1 cup (110 g) shredded Gruyere cheese

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. (I use a grapefruit spoon to easily remove the seeds and membranes.) Coat the inside of each squash half lightly, using about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season the squash with salt and pepper. Put the squash in a roasting pan, cut side down, and fill the pan with 1/4 inch of water. Roast the squash for 25 to 30 minutes, until just tender.

While the squash roasts, heat the broth to a boil, then stir in the quinoa and raisins and cook, covered, until the broth is absorbed. The quinoa will be al dente, not soft. While the quinoa cooks, toast the almonds in a small skillet. Pour the almonds onto a plate to cool. Saute the onion along with the cinnamon in the same skillet for about 10 minutes, until translucent. When the quinoa is done, mix in the almonds and half the cheese, and the onions. The squash should be nearly done at this point — a knife should enter the flesh easily and the water should have evaporated. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and fill each squash half with the quinoa stuffing. Top each half with the remaining cheese. Bake for 5 minutes, until the cheese melts.

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