We are very fortunate to have a family owned butcher shop in our small town, Nuxoll’s, complete with tough red aprons and white shirts. These guys are the real deal. Three generations of Fred: Grampa Fred, Fred Senior, and Fred Junior. All of which, we just call Fred. They’re good guys and Sandy runs the check out line never fails to ask after the kids. Every now and then Mom comes in and makes an appearance, but she mostly runs the books from the back office.
When Jerry and I were first married and learning to cook, I would come in with my Mastering the Art of French Cooking, hold it up pointing to the ingredients list and say, “Fred, I have no idea what this is, but I need it.” And bless his heart, he’d chuckle, pull out whatever I’d need, cut it up, and wrap it up in white butcher paper. He still does that and he now flies in fresh fish on Wednesdays! If you are lucky enough to live in the land of Whole Food, Fresh Fields, and Trader Joes, (which of course we don’t) you have no idea how incredibly awesome and rare a place like Nuxoll’s is when you live land-locked in rural mid America.
I can hear my husband laughing because I called our bustling population 12,524 town “rural.” He hails from a nearby town of 2,800. Never in a million years did I think I’d love living in small town America, but I do. Last fall I drove our son to school and I saw two little boys, probably in first grade, walking by themselves to their school on the corner. You won’t find that in D.C., downtown Chicago, or even St. Louis. Hello, Mayberry! Sorry, I digress… back to salmon.
Our town is in America’s heartland, engulfed in an ocean of corn and soy bean fields. Our little lake is a hidden oasis where you will find us dining on fish about every Wednesday thanks to Fred. This Pecan Crusted Salmon over Mustard Sauce was inspired by Frazer’s in St. Louis. It’s one of their signature dishes and it’s a classic they keep on their menu pretty much… always.
Pecan Crusted Salmon over Mustard Sauce
- 4 6 oz salmon filets
- 1 cup finely chopped pecans
- 2 tablespoons dried Italian herb
- 1/3 cup minced fresh herbs parsley, thyme, oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 3 tablespoon melted butter
- 1/4 cup mustard
- 2/3 cup sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 425º
- Mix all the topping ingredients together. It should be slightly moist, like wet sand.
- Place the salmon on a cookie sheet, skin side down. Next put equal amounts of the pecan mixture over the entire top of the salmon. Place a lemon wheel on top (optional).
- Put the salmon in the oven, turn the temperature down to 350º. Bake for 30-40 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish.*
- To make the mustard sauce, mix together the sour cream, mustard, salt, and dried mustard. Set aside until the salmon is done.
- Putting it all together: put a generous dollop of mustard sauce on your plate and place the salmon on top.
* Baking time: a good rule of thumb when baking fish is 15 minutes per 1/2 inch at the thickest part.
Variation: try adding a teaspoon of mustard seeds to the sauce! I love their texture and they add a little more punch to the creaminess of the sauce.