Salmon Roulade with Cilantro Citrus Pesto on Mango Corn Salsa

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What a lovely meal!! I got the inspiration for this dish from Vicki Bensinger at In-Home Culinary Classes, although we have modified it considerably. The dish just looked sooo good I couldn’t resist giving it a try. This is a real show stopper that will impress any dinner guest, not to mention your family.

Another delightful meal at the McGary household diner. The weather here has been remarkable for the most part. Temperatures have been in the high 60s to low 70s with sunny skies. Although it’s the beginning of February and dead of winter, its seems more like Spring and I’ve got the tropical island itch again. Inasmuch as it looks like we’re going to miss our annual tropical island trek, at least for a few months, I decided a nice tropical meal was in order. I also remembered this dish I had seen on Pinterest and pinned as wanting to try, at least as far as rolling the salmon was concerned. In the end, we were pleasantly pleased with the dish. I would fix this again and for anyone. It really is a beautiful plate and the flavors melded beautifully. You simply cannot go wrong with this dish. As a warning, however, you MUST roll the salmon and let it chill, preferably overnight. So this dish will require 2 days of your time. The second day is very simple and practically takes no time. The prep on the first day, however, takes about 45 minutes. This would be a nice meal to start on a Sunday evening and eat on a Monday evening when you don’t want to cook. I promise you will love this dish!


  • 1 lb. king salmon filet, skinned and butterflied

For the mango corn salsa

  • 1 cup cored, seeded and diced tomatoes (roughly 2 – 3 roma tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cup fresh fennel, small dice
  • 1/2 cup fresh corn kernels (1 ear of corn)
  • 1 Tommy Atkins mango, skinned, pitted and diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 2 jalapeños, stemmed, seeded, and small dice
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, fine grind
  • 1/4 cup god olive oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar (can substitute 1/4 cup fresh lime juice)

For the cilantro pesto

  • 2 cup cilantro
  • 1 lemon zested and juiced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 clove garlic
  • Salt & pepper to taste


For the mango corn salsa

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

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Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the cilantro citrus pesto

Add zest and garlic to food processor and pulse to mince.

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Add the cilantro, walnuts, cheese, salt, pepper, lemon juice and oil to the food processor and process to a thick, creamy consistency.

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This will produce roughly 1-1/2 cups of pesto, which is a lot more pesto than you will need for the dish. It stores well in the refrigerator and even freezes well. We always keep pesto on hand for quick weeknight pasta meals or to use on fish dishes, as well as some meats.

For the salmon

Butterfly the salmon at the point beyond the belly where it begins to get thick. For this application you want to use King Salmon because of its thickness. You also want to use the center cut of the salmon between the gills and tail. Cut within an inch of the opposite side.

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Fold open the salmon. If needed, cover the salmon with plastic wrap and pound evenly but firmly with a skillet, all over the surface to a thickness of about 1/4 inch.

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Place salmon on parchment paper and spread with pesto.

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Roll salmon like you would a sushi roll. Notice I let the Baby Lady roll the salmon because she does it better than me. 🙂

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Wrap salmon roll in foil.

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Chill for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours to firm the roll.

Remove from refrigerator. Leaving the foil on the salmon, cut salmon into 2 inch long pieces.

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Place salmon rounds standing up onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper with the foil still on.

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With the foil still on, place the salmon rounds in a preheated 500 F oven. Bake for approximately 8 – 12 minutes depending on how well done you like your salmon. 8 minutes produced a lovely medium salmon.

Remove from oven and remove foil. Place salmon roll onto a serving plate, in the middle. Spoon salsa around the salmon.

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Serve & enjoy!

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33 thoughts on “Salmon Roulade with Cilantro Citrus Pesto on Mango Corn Salsa”

    1. Hi, Stefan. The pesto recipe makes way more pesto than needed for the salmon. I corrected the post to explain that you will have roughly 1-1/2 cup pesto from the recipe. You will use maybe 1/2 to 2/3 cup of pesto on the salmon. Nonetheless, each serving will probably have 1/4 to 1/3 cup of cilantro from the pesto and the salsa. Also, you are not alone in your feeling on cilantro. Julia Child hated cilantro and once said “I would pick it out if I saw it and throw it on the floor.” I actually love cilantro but…You can substitute basil for the cilantro and it would probably be very tasty, as well.

    1. Thanks, Linda, for the very nice compliment. It really doesn’t take a lot of time to make, roughly 60 minutes total. It’s just that because the salmon and pesto need to set up, you have to chill it overnight for the best results. I initially tried this sous vide but it turned into a gloppy mess although it tasted great. You could get the same flavor profile without the presentation by simply cooking a piece of salmon, putting it on a bed of salsa and topping it with pesto. It would look good just not this good. 😉

  1. I think I would enjoy this dish a lot: I love making grilled salmon with mango salsa in the summer and I am obsessed with everything cilantro 🙂 I will try to add corn and fennel to mine next time. it sounds so good!

    1. Hi, Sheryl. Thanks for dropping by an your nice compliment. I was by your blog yesterday and noticed your Apple Streusel Coffee Cake. It’s absolutely one of my favorite coffee cakes and yours looked divine.

  2. This is another great recipe, Richard. I’m not one for cilantro but that can be easily swapped. The technique you used is something I’m definitely going to borrow. It enabled you to create that dish and fantastic presentation. This is “company food” of the best kind. Thanks, Richard.

    1. Thanks, John. Until I saw Vicki Bensinger’s post it never occurred to me to butterfly salmon and roll it. Once I saw it, the technique made perfect sense. I love the contrast of the green pesto against the pink salmon. Also, we eat a fair amount of salmon and it goes beautifully with pesto. We will definitely do this again.

  3. Oh my goodness Richard!! Wow, this is so beautiful! Thank you for the step by step photos for the salmon . . Wow, the salmon with the pesto + the mango corn salsa. . it all looks so wonderful! I can’t wait to try this one. . I’m definitely going to give this one a try! Love this! And what’s up with the comments re: cilantro? 😛 I love it too and actually LOVE the smell of cilantro!

  4. Another elegant dish and I just happen to love mango & corn salsa’s too! As for the roulade I like that it makes the fish easier to portion. Presentation wise, it would work wonderfully for dinner parties, (as I’m sure the creator) realised too…

  5. I make a similar dish with chicken as a roulade with a chicken forcemeat, ham slices and spinach (or chard) leaves in the roll. Rather than baking, though, it’s poached in the foil for about 15 mins and sliced on an angle after de-foiling. Maybe the salmon dish would come out OK like this? BTW I agree with some of the correspondents that a little cilantro goes a long way. How about dill in the pesto or the salsa?

  6. I just happen to see this photo linked to my name and thought I’d check it out. Thank you for linking to me. Your version sounds delicious and looks beautiful.

    1. Thanks for the nice compliment Vicki and the inspiration for the dish. 🙂 You have to give credit where credit is due and I would never have created this dish without seeing your blog.

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