Sunflower-Crusted Salmon Pinwheels Stuffed with Watercress Pesto
This elegant dish looks challenging but is actually quite simple to prepare. With their even thickness, pinwheels bake beautifully on a succulent bed of sauteed leeks.
You may have some pesto left over, and it is delicious to dollop on pasta, potatoes, and bread. Since you need 1 cup of sunflower seeds in total, toast all the seeds at once and divide them.
Get a center cut piece of salmon so that the pieces are of even thickness.
½ cup sunflower seeds
4 cup watercress, heavy stems removed (from 2 large bunches), washed and dried
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¾ teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ cup sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green part only
1 ½ pound piece salmon fillet, skinned
salt and black pepper
1 bunch fresh watercress, heavy stems removed, leave torn off
1. Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Dry toast the sunflower seeds in a heave-bottomed skillet until golden, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and add to a bowl of a food processor.
2. Make the pesto: Add the watercress, the olive oil, salt, a sprinkling of black pepper, the garlic and the lemon juice to the seeds. Process until smooth, scraping the sides down as necesarry. Store refrigerated and covered for up to 4 days.
3. Make the dish: Dry toast the sunflower seeds in a heavy-bottomed skillet until golden, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and add to food processor and pulse just to coarsely chop. Place the sunflower seeds on a small plate.
4. Warm the oil in a medium skillet. Add the leeks and sauce over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a baking dish (8 by 1 is ideal) and spread out evenly. Cut the salmon into six 1-inch pieces (they should be about 1 inch wide) and butterfly open to make a long piece. Spread with a thin layer of pesto and roll into a pinwheel shape. Dredge the salmon on both sides in the sunflower seeds. Place the medallions on the leeks.
5. Bake for 12 minutes, until light pink in the middle. Serve the medallions with the leeks on a bed of watercress leaves.