June 24, 2013

Pepper Jelly Baked Salmon

Look, a post not related to secret recipe club!  As much as I've enjoyed having something to force me to blog over the (long, ugh) ankle recovery, I think it's time to get back to cooking what I like and what inspires me.  While I've had some great recipes and really appreciated being featured twice on the site in as many months as I was apart of the group, it is time for me to move on.  Last month was just the perfect storm for reflection on the whole situation and I came to realize that I am no good at blog groups like secret recipe club.

Don't get me wrong, I did love being apart of the 50 Women Game Changers group started by Mary of One Perfect Bite and would be pleased to do something similar again if given the chance.  In terms of secret recipe club, however, I'm not the bubbly, cheery post-a-comment-on-everyone's-post kind of girl.  I didn't like that one person pretty much copy and pasted my instructions and that another person chose to post a recipe of mine that they didn't like.  If you don't like it, then try something else!  Isn't that the whole point?  I get that it is sometimes hard to cull from someone that has completely different taste than you.  I ran into that obstacle myself when I was assigned blogs with oodles of casseroles and crock pot meals because I don't cook that way (not to knock, just not my style at this point).  But I would try multiple different recipes and variations, really do my research, and try to find something that excited me.  Seeing members that didn't give me the same courtesy disillusioned me to the whole outfit.

So I thought I would post today about a blog that inspires me, not in a forced sunny way that isn't me.  Every day for the past five years, I've listened to the super hilarious Kane Show on Hot 99.5.  Since my sister moved back in the area, we will talk about our favorite parts of the show almost every night.  A couple of years ago, Kane posted a link to his wife Natasha's blog Little Pink Monster.  I devoured all of the content in an afternoon, pouring over the adorable toddler clothes, inspired meals, and beautifully honest posts about what is happening in her life, the things that most of us are afraid to say.  Some of my favorite posts were 10%, Transparent People, the chalk hair dye, and any and all disney princess tutorials!  I love her writing and really respect what she has to say.

Last week, she posted a recipe method that I knew I had to try for myself: Cheater's Salmon Florentine.  Her idea was to take a filet of salmon, creating a pocket for stuffing by butterflying the filet, and using spinach dip to "cheat" in the flavor of spinach florentine.  Instead of spinach dip, I used my favorite spicy and sweet pepper jelly and cream cheese dip (the one that is always out for tasting at Harry and David's).  I've made pepper jelly on here before, but tonight I "cheated" too and used a prepared jelly from my quarterly trip to the Foggy Bottom Trader Joe's.  To avoid the dreaded soggy breadcrumbs Natasha warned us about, I baked my stuffed and panko-topped salmon filets at 350 F for 15 minutes and then finished under the broiler for about a minute.  The salmon is perfectly cooked, the dip inside adds an easy spicy-sweet kick that pairs beautifully with the fish, and as promised the panko is perfectly crisp.  

Simple method, simple execution, simply delicious.  I can't wait to see what else Natasha has in store! (And I hope my fan-girling won't lead to her and her husband unfollowing me on twitter...)

Pepper Jelly Baked Salmon
2 6oz salmon filets, skinned
2 oz of light cream cheese
2 heaping tablespoons of pepper jelly
Salt and pepper to season fish
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
panko breadcrumbs to top the fish

Preheat your oven to 350 F.

Begin by butterflying your salmon filets.  I start by cutting in the middle of the filet with a chef's knife, sharp side pointing to the fatter side of the filet.  Hold your hand over the fish and slowly cut the filet evenly in half.  Go back into the other side, but stop cutting just before getting to the (skinnier) end.  When you separate the two (hopefully) even halves, the salmon will look like a butterfly!

Create the filling by mixing the cream cheese and the pepper jelly until it is a cohesive mixture.  Spoon in about a tablespoon or two into each of the butterflied filets, close the salmon back up, and place in a baking dish lightly greased with a little butter.

Season the filet with salt and fresh ground pepper, add a few dabs of butter on the top, and sprinkle panko until the fish is just covered.

Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes.  Turn the broiler on (mine was set at 525 F) and let broil for another minute to crisp up the bread crumbs.  Watch carefully!  Let rest for a few minutes and then serve up with your favorite side.  Enjoy!


  1. First, thanks so much for the link. I really do appreciate it. Secondly, this is such a great "cheat" that it demands to be tried. The salmon sounds wonderful. I hope you've had a wonderful weekend. Blessings...Mary

    1. My pleasure, lady! I've been lurking around, reading your daily thoughts and recipes since the blog group. Happy to reconnect!


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