Macadamia Nut Pesto Salmon

Published February 22nd, 2024 by Copper River Salmon

Macadamia Nut Pesto Salmon

Recipe by Kevin Guard

This Copper River Sockeye Salmon recipe is a delightful fusion of flavors and textures that showcases the exquisite taste of wild-caught salmon, paired with nutty barley, vibrant asparagus, and a luscious Macadamia Nut Pesto. This culinary delight is the brainchild of Kevin Guard, a talented Hawaiian chef renowned for his innovative approach to Pacific Rim cuisine. Guard, known for his private catering service and restaurant, The Guarden, brought his expertise to the forefront during the 2023 Summer Salmon Camp in Cordova, where he dazzled participants with his culinary creations and fish filleting skills.

At the heart of this recipe lies the Copper River Sockeye Salmon, prized for its rich flavor and firm texture. The salmon, scaled and skin-on, is delicately scored to allow the flavors to permeate while cooking. Accompanying the salmon is a bed of pearl barley, cooked to perfection and complemented by the velvety Macadamia Nut Pesto, a symphony of macadamia nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and an array of fresh herbs. The addition of blanched asparagus adds a crisp, refreshing element to the dish, balancing the richness of the salmon and pesto.

One of the highlights of this recipe is the Smoked Oyster & Chive Cream, a luxurious sauce infused with the smoky essence of oysters and elevated by the delicate flavors of shallots, brandy, and white wine. Guard's meticulous attention to detail is evident in the preparation of this sauce, which undergoes a multi-step process to achieve its exquisite flavor profile. The final touch of smoke infusion adds a depth of character, transforming the sauce into a culinary masterpiece that elevates the Copper River Sockeye Salmon to new heights of gastronomic delight.


      Copper River Sockeye Salmon

      • 3-6 oz portion of Sockeye Salmon, scaled, skin-on, skin scored
      • 1/2 cup pearl barley, cooked
      • 1 Tbsp Macadamia Nut Pesto
      • 2 pieces Asparagus, cut, blanched

      Macademia Nut Pesto

      • 2.5 oz macadamia nut
      • 1 cup Parmesan
      • 2 clove garlic
      • 3/4 cup Olive oil
      • 2 oz sweet basil
      • 1 oz spinach
      • 1 oz arugula
      • TT Salt

      Smoked Oyster & Chive Cream

      • 12 oz jar Pacific oysters, shucked
      • 1 1/2 cup white wine
      • 1/2 cup brandy
      • 4 shallots, chopped
      • Sprig thyme (optional)
      • 2 pc Bay leaf
      • 1 quart heavy cream
      • 3 bunches flat chives
      • 1 tin can of smoked oysters, drained
      • Fresh dill (optional)
      • Tarragon (optional)
      • White pepper
      • Salt


      • Put raw oysters, shallots, brandy, white wine, thyme, and bay leaf in a large sauce pot and reduce on medium heat.
      • Reduce until 3/4 liquid is gone.
      • Add cream and simmer until 1/4 liquid is gone.
      • Remove sprig of thyme and bay leaves.
      • Add to blender. Chop chives and herbs and add to blender.
      • Season with white pepper and salt, cover and blend on high until smooth and green color has been extracted.
      • Use a fine chinois strainer to strain liquid into a sturdy container.
      • Use a ladle to help push liquid through.
      • Taste and season until desired flavor.
      • Use foil or plastic wrap to cover the container. Use smoking gun to infuse smoke flavor into the sauce. Let smoke sit in container, covered, until smoke slowly dissipates.
      • Swirl and stir sauce to ensure infusion.
      • Repeat process at least twice to ensure proper infusion or desired smokiness.

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    Macadamia Nut Pesto Salmon

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