Friday, April 12, 2019

Crunchy Mustard Salmon

A few weeks ago the Boston Globe ran a great full-page article entitled “Navigating the Confusing World of Salmon” and recommended which salmon you should buy to cook. In case you haven’t been looking lately, there is farmed salmon from Norway and Iceland, wild Alaskan Salmon, Faroe Island salmon (mostly in restaurants rather than markets), and farmed North American salmon (from Canada). And don’t forget salmon from British Columbia and Scotland.

But there is one glaring omission: Irish salmon. The Irish seafood market is booming, growing from year to year, and salmon leads the pack, er, school. Much of the fish goes to the European Union, including the U.K. (unless Brexit messes things up).

Of course some of it stays in Ireland, and I know a lovely small company that makes delicious smoked salmon in Union Hall on Glandore Harbour in West Cork, and they sell it at the Saturday farmers market in Skibbereen.

I like to cook salmon and I like to eat it. It’s a sturdy fish and it’s hard to overcook. And it looks pretty on a plate. So of course I have assorted salmon recipes (many of which I’ve posted here on Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen) and I’m always looking for more. Here’s one that’s new to me, and it’s Irish.

Crunchy Mustard Salmon


2 salmon fillets (about 6 oz. each)
(actually I fell in love with a single slab of salmon so
bought that instead)
Freshly ground pepper
Sea salt
1 Tblsp unsalted butter, softened
1 Tblsp whole-grain mustard
1 Tblsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp fresh thyme (dried if you must)
2 cups dried bread crumbs or panko for coating


Preheat the broiler to high and set the rack to 6-12” below the flames (not too close or the coating will burn before the fish cooks—keep an eye on it)
If you’re using breadcrumbs you can make your own in a food processor, but don’t make it too fine.

Season the fish fillets with salt and pepper.

the crumb mixture
In a bowl, mix the crumbs or panko, the butter, the two mustards and the thyme. With your fingers or a fork, mix together roughly until the mixture sticks together. Season with salt and pepper.

Spread some butter on the bottom (skin-side) of each salmon fillet, place butter-side down in a preheated oven-proof skillet, and sear over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes. Don’t move it around—you want a nice crispy crust.

Press the rest of the crumb mixture into the top side of the salmon (still in the skillet), and slide under the broiler. Broil just until the top crumbs are crunchy and browned, about 4-5 minutes, and serve immediately. (A green vegetable like asparagus makes a pretty pairing.)

The next Museum Mystery is still hovering in the wings, waiting for its title. It should be available next month. I hope.

In an odd twist of fate, yesterday I received an email from the "real" president of the venerable Historical Society of Pennsylvania (the model for the Society in the series) where I worked for several years, announcing that they were cutting staff by 30% for financial reasons. They have an incredible collection of historic resources, but there's never enough money. 

I wonder if I can send Nell Pratt in to rescue the place?


  1. Mmm, crunchy mustard. That sounds lovely, indeed.

    I was going to buy salmon earlier this week, but I spotted steel-head trout. It was delicious. My 2 1/2 year old granddaughter hand three servings!

  2. Excellent recipe. Been doing this for awhile.Went for a two part solution to avoid burnt crust.Bake salmon until almost cooked,remove from oven add crust topping and return to oven broil as you noted 'til brown.You're right it's delicious