This is one of our favorite dishes for entertaining, because it looks as though you jumped through hoops of fire to get dinner on the table. The salmon is healthy (and forgiving – perfect for buffets and large crowds). The Asian influences add an exotic touch.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Trim each piece of salmon uniformly and set aside. Soften rice-paper wrappers in warm water, about 1 minute. Remove and pat off excess water. Place three cilantro leaves in a row in the center of the rice paper.
Season fish with salt and pepper. Lay salmon “good” side down on top of cilantro in the center, flattening herbs. Spread about 1 tablespoon of Asian Pesto on salmon. Fold the sides of the rice paper in and over salmon to form a neat package. The damp rice paper should stick together, but add a few drops of water to help seal it if necessary.
In a large, ovenproof saute pan over high setting, heat a thin layer of oil (about 2 tablespoons). Add salmon packs to pan, herb side down, and cook about 2 minutes, or until well browned; avoid moving them. Turn salmon bundles over and place pan in oven 8 to 10 minutes. Divide rice onto six serving plates. Place salmon on top of rice. Spoon a tablespoon of Dipping Sauce over the top, and put the rest of the sauce in a bowl on the table.
In a food processor or blender, pulse garlic and nuts together until well broken up. Add herbs and pulse a few times. With motor on, add oil and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Yield: about 2 cups
Sweet and Spicy Dipping Sauce
In a small bowl, combine ingredients. Yield: about ½ cup