In my salmon with green sauce, salmon fillets are sprinkled with a spice rub, pan-fried until crispy, and topped with a vibrant salsa verde for a quick, weeknight meal sure to be a hit with any salmon lovers out there!
In keeping with my new resolution to work more Mediterranean Diet recipes into my life and into my food blog, I have a great salmon recipe for you today! So far in my fish recipes I’ve been All About Cod and it’s time to branch out a bit. There are other fish in the sea after all. 😉
And I know my mom will be happy to see a salmon recipe here since that is her favorite. Only wild salmon though, like these lovely fillets I have here. (If you are interested in the difference between wild and farmed salmon, scroll down a bit. I’ve expanded on the issue there.)
Today’s salmon recipe has two very important parts: crispy skin and a yummy green sauce.
My crispy, pan-seared cooking method comes right from Serious Eats. As usual Kenji knows what he is talking about and his method makes a great starting point for my recipe, transforming my usual indifferent salmon skin (which was always best removed before eating) into a restaurant worthy presentation. Excellent!
As for the yummy green sauce, that’s from me! There are all sorts of green sauces in the world, a few I’ve shared here like chimichurri and green goddess dressing, but there is always room for another. This one I roughly based on Italian salsa verde, so I started with garlic, scallions, and parsley. Decided the sauce needed some basil. Then just enough olive oil to make a thick sauce and a little bit of tahini for creaminess. Finally, a couple of anchovies. Umami! A little anchovy makes everything meatier.
How to Make Salmon With Green Sauce
The first step is to make the green sauce. This is a great use of a food processor! (My current processor is the 14 cup Cuisinart and it’s been a workhorse.) Roughly chop your garlic, parsley, basil, and scallions and get them into the food processor. Add the tahini, lemon juice, anchovies, and a little salt and pepper and give it a whir. While the processor is running, drizzle in the oil and keep going until you have a smooth, green sauce.
With ingredients you aren’t sure about how much you want, add a little, make the sauce, give it a taste and add more if you want to. Garlic, tahini, and anchovies are all strong flavors, so feel free to add only part of what I recommend and see how you feel before you add the rest.
Once the green sauce is made, it’s time to focus on the salmon.
Start your pan heating (I use my cast iron skillet) and cut your salmon into four roughly equal pieces. Then sprinkle it on both sides with a little of the spice rub. Once the pan is hot, add the salmon, skin side down, and sear it until it’s almost done and the skin is crispy. Then turn and give the other side a quick sear before moving the salmon to the serving plate.
That’s it! Dinner is done. Serve the salmon along with the green sauce at the table.
Which is better? Farmed salmon or wild?
Like many of us, I have followed the debates on wild versus farmed seafood. And, from environmental effects to health benefits, I have found that wild seafood to be the better choice.
In the case of salmon the decision comes down to a few important points:
- Nutrition – When eating salmon there is a huge difference between farmed salmon (which basically sits in a pen its whole life) and wild salmon. Farmed salmon is significantly higher in fat and much of that fat is saturated fat. In fact, farmed salmon can have twice the fat content of the same amount of wild salmon. With that extra fat does come more omega 3 fatty acids though.
- Contaminants – Our oceans are polluted so no fish is completely safe from pollution. However, farmed salmon contain much higher levels than wild salmon. PCBs in particular are a concern here with farmed salmon having levels 5-10 times higher.
- Environment Impact – Salmon farming (and other aquaculture) is all too often a source of pollution to the surrounding waters.
With all that in mind, I choose wild salmon for my dinner and also try my best to buy that wild salmon from well managed fisheries. That way I can enjoy tasty, healthy salmon in moderation.
Especially when I pair it with a great sauce and sear that skin good and crispy. Yum!
Cod Recipes You Might Want to Try Next:
- Pan Seared Cod with a Caper, Parsley, and Lemon Sauce
- Mediterranean Cod with Mixed Vegetables
- Oven Fried Cod with Cara Cara Oranges
- Cod Baked with Lemons and Potatoes
If you try my recipe for salmon with green sauce, I would love to hear from you in the comments with your experience and rating! You can connect with me by subscribing to my emails (see the form in the sidebar or below the recipe card), liking my FACEBOOK page, or by following me on PINTEREST.
– Happy Searing, Annemarie
Need a food processor or a cast iron skillet? I own and recommend:
- 1 medium clove garlic, chopped
- 2 scallions, roughly chopped
- 2 cups packed parsley leaves
- 1/4 cup packed basil leaves
- 1-3 anchovy fillets
- 1-2 tbsp tahini paste
- 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 1 1/4 lb wild salmon fillet, approximately
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
Add the garlic, scallions, parsley, basil, 1 fillet of anchovy, lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon of tahini to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times until the ingredients are roughly chopped. Then turn on the processor and, with it running, slowly pour in the olive oil. Continue processing until the sauce is smooth and finely chopped.
Taste the sauce and add more anchovy and tahini as needed, and adjust the salt and pepper. Using a silicone spatula, scrape the sauce into a bowl.
Check the salmon for bones and remove any you find. Cut the salmon into four roughly equal portions and pat it dry with paper towel. Stir together all the spices for the salmon and sprinkle them over both sides of each portion.
In a large cast iron skillet heat the oil over medium high heat until the skillet is hot and the oil is shimmering. Then reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the fillets one at a time, pressing each one down with your spatula for a few seconds before adding the next.
Cook the fillets, skin side down for 5-7 minutes, depending on the thickness, or until the salmon reaches 110-120F. Then turn the fillets and cook them for about 30 seconds to 1 minute on the other side, depending on how well cooked you like your salmon and how browned you want the salmon to get.
Transfer the salmon to a serving plate and serve with the green sauce.
- When I make the salmon I usually am using fillets about 1 inch thick. These fillets are a perfect medium at 6 minutes skin side and 1 minute flesh side.
- For more information on the pan searing method see: How to Make Pan-Fried Salmon Fillets with Crispy Skin by Serious Eats. This recipe only cooks the flesh side for 15 seconds. I prefer a more golden and seared top so I have increased the time to 1 minute.
- Make sure you pack the parsley leaves firmly into the measuring cup. This will make a big difference in how thick and bright your sauce is when it's done.