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I have two words for you: AIR FRYER! Recently we bought a Ninja one to make sweet potato fries at home (because, seriously, what else would you use it for??). And buried within the 30-page Quick Start Guide were full-on recipes, including one for panko-crusted cod, which we tried. Who knew that cooking fish in the air fryer was so easy? Since then we've also made plain salmon and halibut, too--both yummy!! As an added bonus, with the air fryer the only fat required was a wee brush of olive oil before cooking.

Since we really did enjoy the panko crust, I reworked the recipe by substituting salmon, adding sauteéd mushrooms to the breading, and serving it over steamed spinach. Mm, mm, good!

By the way, no worries if you don't have an air fryer, or if you're serving several people (the air fryer only accommodates two fillets at a time). You can just bake the crusted fish in the oven. That's what I did in these photos since we had three bodies for dinner.

This simple recipe is quick and so delicious, I've added it to my repertoire of dishes to serve for dinner guests. Oh, and it was low in calories and packed full of omega 3's, antioxidants, vitamins A, C, K1, folate, iron, calcium and fiber. You're welcome!

Salmon With Mushroom-Herb Panko Crust

(Serves 2)

2 uncooked salmon fillets

3 tsp kosher salt, divided (Diamond Crystal brand--see Notes)

1 TBSP olive oil

2-3 ounces of chopped mushrooms

3/4 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced

2 TBSP butter, melted

Zest and juice of one lemon

Start by sprinkling each salmon fillet on all sides with one teaspoon of salt.

Next, sauté the chopped mushrooms in 1 TBSP of olive oil for a few minutes until browned and fragrant. I like to use Maitake mushrooms (also called "Hen of the Woods") combined with shitakes, but any kinds are tasty. Set the sauteéd mushrooms aside.

Now combine the panko, parsley, butter, lemon zest and juice and remaining 1 tsp of salt together in a medium bowl, then add in the cooked mushrooms. Stir well so the entire mixture is coated with butter and lemon juice.

Divide the panko mix between the two salmon fillets, packing it on top of each fillet.

If you're using a Ninja Air Fryer: Preheat the air fryer by inserting the empty food basket with the crisper plate into the unit. Set the mode to Air Fry, the temperature to 360F and the time to 3 minutes. Press Start/Pause.

When the air fryer shuts off, open the unit, carefully place the fillets, panko-side up into the basket. (Tongs are helpful for this). Once again, set the mode to Air Fry, the temperature to 360 F and the time to 15 minutes. Press Start/Pause. At about 12 minutes pause the air fryer and check the fish. It's done when the internal temperature is 145F and the panko is lightly browned.

If you're using your oven: Preheat the oven to 400F, and spray a 9"x 13" baking dish with cooking spray. Place the panko-crusted fillets into the dish, and bake for about 15 minutes. At 13 minutes check the fish. It's done when the internal temperature is 145F and the panko is lightly browned.

Steamed Spinach

(Serves 2-3)

1 bag of pre-washed spinach (about 10 ounces)

1 TBSP olive oil

1/2 of a lemon


Pinch of garlic powder (optional)

While the salmon is cooking, steam the spinach. Fit a large pot with a steamer basket, and add about two inches of water. Dump the spinach into the steamer, put a tight-fitting lid on the pot, and bring the water to a boil over high heat. When the pot begins to steam, turn the heat down to a simmer. As soon as the spinach is wilted (about 2-3 minutes), turn off the heat, then remove the spinach to a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, squeeze the lemon juice over it and add a sprinkle of salt. If you like, you can also sprinkle on a pinch of garlic powder. Toss the greens very gently using tongs, then place a serving of spinach on each dinner plate.

When the salmon is done use a flexible spatula and tongs to lift a fillet and place it on top of each plate of spinach. Careful not to disturb the panko crust.

And dinner is served--Enjoy!!


-The two major brands of kosher salt are Diamond Crystal and Morton. The latter is quite a bit saltier. In fact 1.5 tsp of Morton equals 2 tsp of Diamond Crystal.

-If you are using a different air fryer than the Ninja, you may need to check the instruction booklet for the correct temperatures and cooking times.

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1 Comment

Jun 05, 2021

Panko-crusted fish fillets are one of my favorite, “go-to“ recipes! They are quick-and-easy to prepare, yet elegant enough to serve at a dinner party —- your guests will think you labored over them for hours.😉 Thanks for sharing this scrumptious recipe! Makes me salivate just looking at the photo.😋

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