Pan-seared salmon makes a perfect weeknight staple. No marinating or prep-work needed here. Simply pan-sear for 3-5 minutes on each side and this flavorful, omega-3 rich fish is ready.
Pan-seared salmon is on our dinner menu almost every week. We mix up the sides depending on the season and what we have on hand, but luckily it really goes with everything. From summer salads and grilled veggies, to cool weather roasted roots and sauteed leafy greens, to spring time new potatoes and fresh peas.
I’m excited that both my boys finally love this versatile dish (almost) as much as I do. A cool part about being a food blogger is that all those posts you write add up to a journal of sorts, and it was interesting to see an entry I wrote about this dish almost 4 years ago on my other site, CooksAid.com. At the time, my now 8-year old was not a fan.
This is a good reminder of how taste buds and food preferences can evolve over time. So even if you are reading this and think “my kid would never eat that,” just keep trying, you never know! You can’t force them to try it or like it, but with patience and persistence, eventually they may surprise you.
The key with this dish is starting out with good, fresh salmon and then cooking it until just done. Choose wild salmon or sustainably raised farmed salmon. All you really need to go with it is a little coarse salt, such as Kosher or sea salt. A little freshly ground pepper is nice too, as long as your kids don’t mind. Another simple touch is to add fresh squeezed lemon or serve a lemon wedge on the side.
Of course, where you go from there is up to you. You can keep it salt and pepper simple or you can serve it with a variety of sauces and toppings. Here are some delicious ideas:
- Scandinavian Creamy Dill Sauce: mix together plain Greek yogurt or skyr with chopped dill and/or parsley and lemon; mix in a little mayo to make it less tart
- Parsley Pesto Sauce: combine parsley, garlic, nuts, and olive oil in a blender to make sauce
- Nordic Fruit Salsa: mix together fresh berries, such as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and/or blueberries, add a little lemon juice and fresh parsley
- Fresh Herbs: simply chop one or more fresh herbs (such as parsley, dill, or chives) and sprinkle over the fish
- 1 tablespoon butter, olive, or canola
- 1.25 pounds salmon filet
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt (e.g., kosher or sea salt)
- Freshly ground pepper to taste (optional)
- ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley, chives, or dill (optional)
- ½ lemon, sliced into 4 wedges
- Heat butter or oil over medium-high heat in a 10-12 inch cast-iron or non-stick skillet.
- Add salmon, skin side down and sprinkle top side with half of salt and pepper. Turn heat down to medium and cook for 4 to 6 minutes.
- Use a large spatula to gently flip salmon. Carefully peel off skin with the help of a fork; it should come off easily. (Alternatively, you could leave the skin on). Sprinkle with the other half of salt and pepper. Cook for another 3 to 5 minutes, until just cooked through or almost cooked through.
- Transfer to serving platter. Sprinkle with fresh herbs and arrange lemon slices on the side
For filets that are thicker than 1 inch or greater than 1.25 pounds, cut into portion-sized pieces before cooking.