Sunday, April 3, 2011

Cashew Crusted Salmon with Creamy Butternut Squash Polenta

Crunchy.  Salty.  Sweet.  Creamy.  I love meals that really tickle my tastebuds and give me a little bit of everything in one bite, that’s what I tried to recreate in this meal.  The other day I was craving salmon, specifically something nut-crusted to give it that nice crunchy texture.  I’ve crusted fish with pecans and pistachios before, but this time I decided to break open a bag of cashews I had lying around.
As an accompaniment to the salmon, I knew I wanted to make some kind of creamy polenta.  Ever since I made the polenta squares a few weeks ago, my tummy has been ready and waiting for creamy style polenta.  I found this Rachel Ray recipe for creamy polenta with butternut squash.  SOLD.  I love butternut squash.  Before I even tasted this divine squash, I knew I would like it – I mean, come on, it has the word “butter” in it, that was already enough for me. 

On a side note, please don’t judge me for using a Rachel Ray recipe.  I know she can be a bit…irritating with her “yum-o” and “EVOO,” but I’ve got to hand it to her for having super fast, easy recipes (note if Rachel Ray ever hears about Piggie Diaries, I will swiftly omit that irritating comment to salvage any chance of her endorsing my future business ventures haha).   

Both of these recipes were SO easy and made for a delicious dinner that satisfied my senses.  No joke, it only took me 10 – 15 minutes to make all of this goodness!

 Salmon with cashew crust

 Mixing the cheese into the polenta


Cashew Crusted Salmon
Recipe courtesy of Piggie Diaries
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 10 - 15 min
Serves: 2


2 – 6 ounce salmon filets
½ cup chopped cashews
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray pan with cooking spray and place salmon filets skin side down in pan.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

2.  Combine butter, brown sugar, and cashews until mixed.  Spread evenly on top of salmon filets. 

3.  Bake for 10-15 min depending on thickness of the filet (typically 10 min for every inch) or until salmon flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Creamy Polenta with Butternut Squash
Recipe courtesy of Rachel Ray
Cook Time: 8 - 10 min
Serves: 4 servings (or 6-8 as side)


2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup whole milk
1 cup quick-cooking polenta
1 box frozen pureed butternut squash, defrosted
2 teaspoons honey (eyeball it)
A dash freshly grated nutmeg
4 to 5 sprigs thyme, leaves removed and chopped
1/4 to 1/2 cup (about 1 to 2 handfuls) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1.  Heat a medium-size saucepot over medium-high heat with the stock and milk. Bring the liquids to a simmer and stir in the polenta, whisking constantly so it doesn't clump.

2.  Remove from the heat and stir in the honey, nutmeg, thyme and cheese. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately.


Sie Wai said...

So what time should I come over for dinner? >=]

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