Panko-crusted Parmesan Salmon

People, myself included, eat more seafood in the summer months. Mostly—although I’ve yet to find a real hard study on the topic—but mostly it’s because seafood screams summer. It is, after all, from the ocean and most people think of warm sunny days on the beach when they think of the ocean. (Yes, yes, I know … some “seafood” comes from rivers and lakes—but all fish, no matter where it comes from, sans maybe your neighbor’s fish tank, is still considered seafood.)

But, to be fair, those of us who maintain a steady seafood diet—and those of us with satellite TV who may or may not be addicted to Wicked Tuna and The Deadliest Catch—know that not all seafood comes from a sunny place … I mean hello, the great Bearing Sea … the Scottish Isles … Maine’s uppermost northern coast … those places aren’t exactly booked during spring break, yet they’re all chalk full of oceanfront property—and delicious seafood. Point is, although seafood may scream summer, a large amount of the fish (shellfish included) that hits our plates doesn’t come with a sunny disposition (that was a pun, in case you didn’t quite follow).

And if you ask any fishmonger, they will tell you they sell more fish during the summer than in the winter. But why? Why when the weather turns cold in the lower 48, why do we turn our backs on the sea and reach for more land-based proteins?

Why do we eat more seafood in the summer?

Because we get cold. Duh. And since more people grill seafood rather than cook it indoors, we have a tendency to reach for proteins we know how to cook in an oven or slow cooker.

Myself … I love to grill everything from diver scallops to sockeye salmon. And truth be known, when it comes to cooking seafood, I don’t use my oven all that much. Mostly because I’m a card-carrying member of the “Keep it Simple” club and prefer my seafood tossed with a touch of olive oil, a few fresh herbs and grilled … I’m not much of a sauce girl nor do I typically care for most marinades. I like to taste what I’m eating and I love the diverse flavors that spring from fresh seafood. So naturally, when it’s warm out, the grill gets used more and well, you guessed it, fish gets cooked more often than not.

But, while I’d still opt for a grilled piece of Alaskan salmon over just about anything cooked in an oven, there are some simple ways to cook seafood inside … and I’m going to show you how. Every Monday, I’ll post a simple way to cook seafood indoors … essentially I’ll show you how to replace one of those other proteins (poultry, beef, pork) with seafood. It’s that simple. I promise.

Panko-crusted Parmesan Chicken Salmon

Panko bread crumbs
Parmesan cheese
Olive oil
Light mayonnaise

Combine panko, Parmesan, parsley, lemon zest, and garlic in flat “bowl” and set aside.

Place salmon filets, skin side down, on lightly oiled aluminum foil, on baking sheet.

Lightly brush tops of filets with mayo then coat with panko mixture.

Bake for about 20 minutes, 400 degrees F, on the middle rack.

Done. Eat. Enjoy. Simple.

Serve with whatever else floats your boat ; )

A note about my recipes … most of what I cook isn’t a precise science. It’s look, taste and feel. And I encourage you to cook the same way. Add a little more of this, or a little less of that … and pay attention … and before long you’ll be a wiz at cooking seafood.

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