food for the mind

In the Kitchen

Pan-Seared Salmon with Pumpkin Seed-Cilantro Pesto


  • 1/8 cup of olive oil + 2 tsp
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves and stems
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked coriander seeds
  • 1/4 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2x 6-ounce salmon fillets (preferably wild)
  • 1 lime, cut into 4 wedges
  • 1 tbl pumpkin seeds for garnish


  • Heat 1 tsp of olive oil in a small cast iron skillet. Add pumpkin seeds; sauté until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer seeds to paper towels.
  • Pulse pumpkin seeds, cilantro, coriander seeds, and garlic in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Add 1 tbl of lime juice, 1/8 cup of olive oil, then 1/8 cup water, blending until coarse purée forms. Season pesto to taste with salt, pepper, and more lime juice, if desired.
  • Heat remaining 1 tsp. oil to a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add salmon to skillet and cook until just opaque in center, 3–4 minutes per side. Place fillets on plates. Spoon pesto over. Garnish with pumpkin seeds. Serve with lime wedges.


Last week I received a desperate call from a girlfriend.  “I need a fish recipe to impress a new man”. I’m pretty simple with my fish recipes and they usually go along the lines of… firm fish (like wild salmon or halibut) cooked in a cast iron skillet with coconut oil and sea salt then served with a citrus zest. Done in 5 minutes.

But this man was special, so she wanted something more. We came up with a libido enhancing recipe that was beautiful to look at and easy to cook – wild salmon with a pumpkin seed-cilantro pesto. Both salmon and pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc which increases arousal. Cilantro was a reputed Middle Age aphrodisiac. Wild salmon also has an abundance of omega 3’s which sensitize the body to the feel good neurotransmitter, serotonin, making you feel happier and sexier.

So, how did the date go?  If a woman likes a man she never discloses…

Photo Credit: Romulo Yanes

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