This was undoubtedly the most relaxing holiday we ever had. Every year, during this time, we either visit families back in India or explore a new place. We both love to travel, which is why every time an opportunity strikes, we pack our bags and hit the road. This time was different. After a stressful last few months at work, my husband needed this break and so we made no plans. We kept most of our days blank and let things happened randomly. There was no rush or chaos. We slept a lot, hanged out with friends and checked some of the restaurants off our bucket list. There were movie marathon days and we prepared some of our favorite meals.
Sometimes, these slow phases help to revive and reflect, get one ready to deal with what’s coming next. We enjoyed this much-needed time off!
The panko crusted salmon in piccata sauce happens a lot in my kitchen. I just love the simplicity of this meal. The herb spicy panko crust is adapted from one of the Ina Garten’s show. It adds crunchy texture, keeps the fish flaky and the tangy lemon butter sauce gives the right amount of acidity to cut down the richness of the fish. With a little salad or bread on the side, it always succeeds in making our suppertime gourmet.
And to make the meal extra special, I baked some nigella garlic flatbread to dunk into the sauce and wipe the plate clean. It was actually prepared from last night leftover naan dough. Honestly, I was a little worried about how the texture would turn out but it was so good that I had to share it and record it for future.
For the nigella garlic flatbread
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon ghee/melted butter/oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon nigella seeds
- 3 garlic cloves, grated
- 1 tablespoon oil
For the panko crusted salmon
- 1/2 cup panko
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro/parsley
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- zest of one lemon
- 2 tablespoons oil, olive or vegetable
- salt and pepper, as per taste
- 2 salmon fillets, I used skinless
For the piccata sauce
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 cup chicken/vegetable stock
- juice of half lemon
- 1/4 cup brined capers, rinsed
- salt and pepper, as per taste
- fresh cilantro/parsley, for garnish on top
To prepare the flatbread
- Mix warm water with sugar and yeast. Let it stand for 5 to 7 minutes, until the yeast is activated.
- To make the dough, you can either use a bowl and knead with hand or use a stand mixer with the dough hook attached. Mix flour with yogurt, ghee, salt and the yeast mixture. Knead until it forms smooth stretchy dough. Add more water, if required. If you are using a stand mixer, allow it to run for 10 minutes.
- Once done, rub some oil in a bowl, place the dough and cover it with a clear wrap or kitchen towel. Keep it in a warm area and allow at least a couple of hours for it to double in size. The rising time will depend on the temperature.
- Once it’s doubled in size, flatten it out, spread the oil on the bread followed by grated garlic and nigella seeds. Bake at 425F for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the top looks golden brown in color.
To prepare the panko crusted salmon
- In a bowl, mix all the ingredients listed under panko crusted salmon except salmon fillet. Place the salmon fillet on a flat surface. Brush some oil on one side of the fish and press the panko crust mix on the top. Leave the other side blank.
- Preheat the oven to 425F.
- Heat a cast iron pan with some oil; place the blank side of the salmon fillet very carefully on the hot pan. Allow it to sear for 3 to 4 minutes. Do not turn it. Once done, place the pan in the oven and allow it to bake for about 10 minutes or until the panko crust looks golden brown. Depending on the size and thickness of the fillet you might need more or less time.
- Allow the salmon fillet to rest for 5 minutes before you serve.
To prepare the piccata sauce
- Melt butter in a pan. Add flour, give a mix and cook it for a minute. Then add stock, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Allow it to cook for a few minutes until the sauce thickens. Finally, add capers and turn off the heat.
Pour the sauce in a plate and keep salmon fillets on top. Add some freshly chopped cilantro/parsley on top and serve warm. Remember not to pour sauce on top of the fillet, as it will make the panko crust soggy.
This was one of our holiday meals that we prepared together. Although you don’t really need a helping hand to cook something this simple, but when your partner offers to join you in the kitchen, it just makes cooking more fun!