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Hungry Girl Blog

Parsley Pesto with Broccoli and Salmon

Do you ever just wander around the grocery store until inspiration strikes? I know I do. Sometimes that means I’m in and out of the store in five minutes, but sometimes it means I’ll wander aimlessly for hours.

As a professional cook and caterer, I find it very zen to walk the grocery store and contemplate what I can make. The choices sometimes overwhelm me, but on a recent trip I was in and out. The result: a super fresh, full of green flavour flat-leaf parsley pesto with broccoli, pasta, and salmon.

Generally, pesto is made with basil and pine nuts. However, it’s not unusual to find it made with other green herbs and nuts, as well. On this occasion, I went with flat leaf parsley and pine nuts, and it came together quickly. I used a mortar and pestle, and I really recommend this method over a food processor. Crushing everything by hand results in the ingredients being differently sized, which allows you to taste the goodness of the individual components.

Pesto is so green that it reminds me that spring is on the way. If you’re looking for a dish to brighten up your dreary winter, this is it! Check out the recipe below, and let me know what you think.

Parsley Pesto Pasta with Broccoli and Salmon

Serves 2 generously.

  • 3 cloves garlic*
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup parsley leaves only, packed
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups broccoli, cooked
  • 4 ounces of your favourite pasta
  • 1 small salmon fillet, cut in two

Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan over low heat, shaking the pan often. The nuts take on a gorgeous golden-brown colour and will start smelling divine within minutes. Keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn.

While your pine nuts come down to room temperature, set a pot of salted water on to boil for your pasta and roughly chop the parsley leaves.

In a mortar and pestle, smash the garlic until smooth-ish and add the pine nuts. Continue to grind away until everything comes together in a paste. Stir in the oil until well incorporated and add the cheese and parsley. Give it a quick mash and taste, adding lemon juice, zest, and salt and pepper as you see fit.

Cook your pasta according to the package instructions. While the pasta is cooking, heat up a small amount of olive oil in a frying pan. Raise the heat to medium-high and place the salmon in the pan, skin side down. Cook until the skin is crisp and brown, about 4 minutes. Turn and cook another 3 minutes or so. The salmon should flake easily when it is done. Season with salt and pepper.

By now your pasta should be cooked. Drain, but reserve some of the cooking liquid. Toss the hot pasta with the cooked broccoli and some pesto. Start by adding 2 tablespoons of pesto and add more as needed. To loosen the sauce a bit, add the reserved pasta water a tablespoon at a time. Mix well and enjoy hot with the salmon filet on top.

*Note: This pesto is quite garlicky, which is how we like it, but if you’re not such a garlic fiend, 1 or 2 cloves will be plenty.