Set the Net

Recipes and snapshots of life in Bristol Bay, AK


Parmesan Pesto Salmon Buns – Swirls. They aren’t just for sweets!


Before I even begin I feel it is only fair to tell you that this recipe takes 5 hours to make…


Are you still there? Yes, I know 5 hours for buns sounds a bit insane, stick with me here though it’s only 1/2 hour hands on, 1/2 hour baking time (give or take) and the other four hours are merely rise time in which you can go for that run, take a long hot shower, do the dishes, and still have dinner on the table by a reasonable time… or you can always binge watch Netflix I won’t judge.


So technically it’s not really an hour does it type recipe but well it sort of is, the fact of the matter is I make no promises other than they are amazing… especially with soup. I just didn’t want you to get your hopes up if you are reading this at 5pm trying to decide what to have for dinner… there is of course always breakfast with sunny side up eggs and coffee…!


Parmesan Pesto Salmon Buns

makes two dozen buns baked in two 9 inch cast iron skillets, pie plates, or round cake pans (this recipe is easily halved but these also store nicely once assembled in the fridge up to 3 days prior to baking… so having two dozen made really hurts no one!)

For the Dough:

  • 6 cups all purpose unbleached flour
  • 2 tsps kosher salt
  • several cracks of pepper
  • 4 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 cups milk room temperature
  • 8 Tbsp melted butter + 2 Tbsp for brushing

For the Filling:

  • 1 Wild Alaska Salmon fillet about 1.5 lbs (I used sockeye but any will do hint: here is a place to use those chums up)
  • 12 scallions/green onions finely chopped
  • 3 cups finely shredded parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup basil pesto
  • a few cracks of pepper
  • 2 tsp flaked sea salt for topping

Making the dough will be the first step: In the bowl of your stand mixer (or if you like to knead by hand, a large bowl) whisk the melted butter, milk, yeast, garlic powder, several cracks of pepper and salt until foamy, stir in flour until evenly distributed then attach the dough hook. Knead on low for about 6 minutes scrapping the sides as needed to blend evenly. If kneading by hand work for about 8 minutes. The dough should be a nice, elastic, and smooth ball. Place in a oiled or buttered bowl and cover tighly with plastic wrap, allow to rise at room temperature (65-70 degrees F) for 2 hours or until roughly doubled in size.

While the dough is rising you will need to bake your salmon fillet, fresh or frozen but Wild Alaska Salmon is my go to choice for obvious reasons (from Bristol Bay if you’re lucky… hint, hint) ok enough with my shameless plug. But I am completely sold on the whole push by ASMI to cook it frozen if yours is in this state. Seriously all you need to do is put your frozen fillet on a cookie sheet lined with tin foil or parchment paper skin side down, smother the top with 1/2 cup basil pesto and bake for 30 minutes at 400F. The thickest parts of your fillet may still be a little underdone but this is fine remember it will be baked again in the buns. Cool to room temperature.

To make the filling: Flake the meat into a medium bowl with the remaining 1/4 cup pesto, a few cracks of pepper, the parmesan cheese and chopped green onions. Mix until evenly blended.

To assemble the buns: On a floured surface roll half of the dough out into a 12×14 inch rectangle, spread half of your filling evenly across the dough then roll the wide edge up to form a 12 inch log. Carefully cut into 12 1-inch thick rolls and place into a 9 inch round pan of your choosing lined with parchment paper. (I prefer making these in a cast iron pan as it looks lovely when placed on the table piping hot but any round pan will do.) Repeat with the other half of the dough. Wrap each pan tightly with plastic wrap.

Now here is where you have a choice: you can either proceed with rising the buns now or place the buns into the refrigerator for up to three days prior to baking.

When you are ready to bake: allow buns to rise for 1 1/2 hours at room temperature until the buns have about doubled in size (2 hours if coming out of the fridge). Bake for 30 minutes at 350F until golden brown, then brush with melted butter, sprinkle with flaked sea salt and serve hot.

2 thoughts on “Parmesan Pesto Salmon Buns

  1. Karen says:

    Going to try this. Sounds and looks so good!

    1. SusieBrito says:

      Let me know how they turn out for you!

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