Sesame Seed Crusted Salmon with Sweet-and-Sour Chutney

About 6 months ago, I made this delicious, similar Sesame Crusted Salmon with Lime and Coriander, which was 4-1/2 stars. That success gave me high hopes for Today’s recipe, which is nearly 15 years old (the 4-1/2 star recipe was from March 2014). Unfortunately, today’s recipe was only 3 stars. Still edible, but just an average meal. Even considering the chutney, the recipe was too plain. The seasonings were generally warm, but I think that the vinegar in the recipe was a lackluster substitution for a more traditional citrus. The recipe lacked anything to brighten the dish. Part of the fault may lie in the age of this recipe; which is older than my 15-year-old son.

I am more than a little embarrassed by my “worst ever” cell phone picture, which makes this average meal appear sub-par. That’s the reason I’ve hidden it at the bottom of the post.


  1. While it only takes a few minutes to make this chutney, prepare it before cooking the salmon (because the fish cooks so quickly). A little of this intensely flavored condiment goes a long way.
  2. Because I don’t have cardamom (and didn’t feel like buying a $10 bottle just for this recipe), I used equal parts cinnamon and ground nutmeg. Because the recipe only used 1/4 teaspoon I doubt that this substitution is to blame for the disappointing results.
  3. The recipe says to cook the salmon in Step 3 for 3 minutes for medium-rare and 3-1/2 minutes for medium.

Rating: 3 star.
Cost: $18.
How much work? Low/Medium.
How big of a mess?  Medium.
Start time 5 PM. Dinner time 6 PM.

The recipe for the Sweet-and-Sour Chutney with onions and warm spices is here. The recipe for the Pan Seared Salmon with Sesame Seed Crust is here. The descriptions of how I prepared both are given below:

Sweet-and-Sour Chutney Ingredients:
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves

  1. In a small bowl, add 1 teaspoon fennel, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon coriander, 1/4 teaspoon cardamom, 1/4 teaspoon paprika, 1/4 teaspoon table salt; mix and set aside. Finely chop 1/2 of a medium onion, which should yield about 1/2 cup.
  2. Set a medium-sized skillet over medium burner. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil, then sauté onion for 3 to 4 minutes until soft. Add spice mixture from step 1, and sauté for  1 minute until fragrant.
  3. Turn up burner to medium-high and add 1/4 cup vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 2 tablespoons water. Cook 1-1/2 minutes until it reduces by one-third and attains a syrupy consistency. Stir in minced parsley, set aside until ready to serve salmon.

Sweet-and-Sour Chutney Ingredients:
1/4-cup sesame seeds
4 salmon fillets skin-on, about 6-oz each and 1″ to 1-1/4″ thick
3 teaspoons canola oil or vegetable oil

  1. Preheat a 12″ heavy-bottomed skillet for 3 minutes over high burner. Rub salmon fillets with 2 teaspoons canola oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread sesame seeds in a pie plate, and press flesh sides of fillets in sesame seeds to coat.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon to pre-heated pan; swirl to coat. When oil begins to shimmer (but is not smoking) add the fish with skin-side down. Without moving the fish, cook for 30 seconds until pan regains its heat, then reduce burner to medium-high. Continue cooking for 4-1/2 minutes until skin-side becomes well browned and bottom half of fillets turns opaque.
  3. Carefully flip fish and cook for 3-1/2 minutes, again without moving, until they are no longer translucent and have become firm, but not hard, when gently squeezed.
  4. Remove fish onto serving platter or individual serving plates, being careful not to break sesame crust. Allow to rest for 1 minute. Pat with paper towel to absorb excess any fat from surface
  5. Serve immediately with the chutney.
Horrible cell phone picture; ok tasting salmon

Horrible cell phone picture; ok tasting salmon

3 Responses to Sesame Seed Crusted Salmon with Sweet-and-Sour Chutney

  1. Sonya says:

    Hey, we’ve all had to resort to cell phone photos every now and again 🙂 And I think that the photo actually turned out really well – clarity-wise, for a cell phone! You can really see each and every seed on there!

    Speaking of cardamom, I was just grinding some fresh for the Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country Spice Cakes (tried them both) and BOY is that a good smell, if you can ever get some of the seeds and grind it yourself! I got it in bulk at my local natural foods store. I agree, 1/4 tsp wouldn’t save this recipe, but I just had to give a shout-out to cardamom 🙂

  2. Sonya says:

    You’re welcome! I know it depends on your area, but around here, Sprouts has a much better selection of bulk spices than Whole Foods does (though they have some). Best of luck!

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