Judson Todd Allen, Food Network Star Contestant

June 11, 2012

The Chicago native studied food science and began as a self-taught cook, eventually becoming a culinary-trained chef. He struggled with his weight for years, but recently changed his life and eating habits and lost more than 100 pounds. He owns his own catering business, focused on healthy food and nutritional counseling. Allen uses the Creole-inspired culinary style he learned from his grandfather to build out-of-the-box dishes with lots of spice - all while fusing together global inspiration and flavors.


Macadamia Nut Crusted Salmon Stuffed w/ Shitake Mushrooms, Herbed Goat Cheese, Arugula and Lemon

6 ounce Salmon (fresh, skinned) - 2 thick pieces of salmon are ideal
1 tablespoon Pecorino cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Chopped Macadamia Nuts
1/2 cup Shitake Mushrooms (sliced)
2 cups Fresh Arugula
1 clove Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Granulated garlic powder
1 lemon (sliced into rings)
1 teaspoon Smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon Fresh dill, chopped
1 teaspoon Fresh cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon Chipotle hot sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoon White Wine
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Fresh lemon juice

Arugula Pesto:

1 cup Fresh Arugula
2 Tbs - Pecorino Cheese
1 Tbs - Pine Nuts
1/3 Cup Olive oil
1 Clove Garlic, minced
1 tsp. Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon Fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon Cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)


Take a 5-6 oz piece of fresh salmon (if frozen, please allow time to unthaw in the refrigerator) and use a paring knife to cut a 2 -3 inch deep slit into the salmon creating a pocket for the filling.

In a small mixing bowl combine your lemon juice, dill, garlic, hot sauce, mustard, pepper, and white wine. Place fish pieces in a dish and generously pour marinade over the fish. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes in refrigeration. Remember for more pronounced flavors, the salmon can sit overnight as well.

To make the pesto, Prepare an ice water bath in a large bowl, and bring a large pot of water to a boil. Put the arugula in a large sieve and plunge it into the boiling water. Immediately immerse all the arugula and stir so that it blanches evenly. Blanch for about 15 seconds. Remove, shake off the excess water, then plunge the arugula into the ice water bath and stir again so it cools as fast as possible. Drain well.

Squeeze the water out of the arugula with your hands until very dry. Roughly chop the arugula and put in a blender. Add the garlic, salt and pepper to taste, olive oil, pine nuts, lemon, parsley to the blender. Blend for at least 30 seconds. In this way the green of the arugula will thoroughly color the oil. Add the cheese and pulse to combine. Stuff the seasoned salmon with the mushrooms, arugula, lemon and goat cheese. Top with the chopped macadamia nuts and broil in the oven on 450 degrees for approximately 15 minutes until golden and the salmon is firm yet moist. Depending on the intensity of your broiler, keep an eye out; you don't want to burn the dish.

Serve with your pesto and lemon wedges garnish.

2 Servings

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