Hello, there – casually coming to you on a Monday with this perfectly pan seared salmon that is swimming in a buttery, lemony, capery sauce that will make you feel like a master chef and leave you light and extremely satisfied…no big deal. Just regular Monday happenings.
JKK there is nothing regular or plain or ordinary about this salmon. This salmon…is…LIFFFEEEE. I can’t even here, you guys. I. Can’t. Even.
If this isn’t my all time favorite salmon recipe in the whole entire world, it is for sure top three. But right now I’m going to put it comfortably in first place with no qualms at all. The pan sear…the sauce…people, if you want good things for yourself, please just make this happen…like now…this week…tonight. You will not regret one second of this buttery, lemony deliciousness.
Let’s break it down…
First things first – the salmon. You season the non skin side with salt and pepper, heat several swirls of olive oil in a large pan (a cast iron for this is BAE [that sear, doe…]) over medium to medium high heat, wait for that baby to heat up and then pop those salmon fillets in skin side down and hear that perfect “tttsssssssss” sound. Let that salmon hang out skin side down until you see that it’s cooked about half way through. You can look at the front or side of the salmon fillet and watch as the flesh turns an opaque very pale pink/almost white color versus the raw darker pink. At that point, flip your salmon over. You’ve already cooked your skin, so it’ll be super easy to pull off with a pair of tongs right there in the pan. Once it’s cooked, it comes off easy breezy in one pull. My favorite salmon skin removal tip! I used to cut if off before cooking: NO BUENO. Way harder, and the salmon is juicier if you cook it with the skin on, IMO. Let the salmon cook for a bit until the flesh gets a nice golden brown sear. At this point, I like to throw some salt and pepper on the side I just removed the skin from and give that side a quick sear just to add some extra flava. Not long! Just a minute or two.
Second things second – the sauce. Ohhhh, GURL, let me just tell you ’bout this sauce. You remove the salmon from the pan and let it hang out on a plate nearby, and guess what is left over in the pan? The delicious residue and little bits from the salmon fillets that were just cooking in there, which makes our sauce approximately ten times more delicious. Turn that baby down to low heat and throw in your butter. Let it melt a little and then stir in some garlic. Swoon over the delicious smell momentarily before moving on and adding your lemon juice, broth, and capers. Let this simmer for about 3-5 minutes until everything has cooked together, and then throw your salmon back in, spoon sauce liberally over each fillet, and serve. Feel free to make all the appreciative noises while eating, because leeeeeeet’s be honest, it’s basically unavoidable in this situation.
I’m being a teensy bit vague in the cooking instructions for the actual salmon fillets because that is so highly up to preference. Some people love their salmon medium rare, some people love it with just a touch of transparent pink in the middle, and some people love it all the way done.
I prefer mine all the way done, just because that’s how I’ve always eaten it and the rawness weirds me out a little bit. Does it make sense that a salmon fillet being slightly underdone weirds me out yet I will go to TOWN on some salmon sashimi? Nope, but nevertheless, I have my preferences. I think part of it is that I live in Kansas and zero percent trust the salmon here to be high enough quality to eat rare. You can’t get more land locked than Kansas, people. We are nowhere near an ocean that would be providing freshly caught salmon.
If you prefer your salmon more on the rare side, just cook it for a shorter length of time – totally up to you.
There is a fine line between well done and DRY like a parched piece of overcooked chicken. The latter is very un-delicious, but when you hit that sweet spot of juicy, moist, and just cooked through? <<< My jam.
When it flakes easily with a fork, you have reached this delicious salmon moment. DEVOUR IMMEDIATELY.
It’s seafood dreams, people, and that’s all there is to say about that.Print
Salmon with Lemon Caper Sauce
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Cook Time: 15 mins
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings
- 4 salmon fillets
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (this was about 1 lemon for me)
- 2 tablespoons veggie stock
- 2 tablespoons capers, drained
- Heat a large skillet over medium – medium high heat (a cast iron works great here) with some olive oil
- Season the flesh side of the salmon with salt and pepper (we will remove the skin eventually, so there’s no need to season that side)
- When the pan is hot, add your salmon fillets skin side down and cook for several minutes, until you can see that about half the fillet has turned an opaque very light pink color (you can look at the front or the side of the salmon and see the progress)
- When they are about half way cooked, flip them. Using a pair of tongs, remove the skin from all 4 fillets and discard. The skin should come off very easily in one piece since you’ve cooked it. Season the flesh that was underneath the skin with salt and pepper
- When the salmon has developed a golden brown sear, flip again just to get a quick sear on the side that originally had the skin on it. Remove to a plate and turn the heat down to low
- Add your butter and let it melt about half way and then stir in your minced garlic. Let this cook for about a minute or two and then add your lemon juice, veggie stock, and capers. Stir to combine and let this simmer for about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally
- Add the salmon fillets back into the sauce, spoon the sauce liberally over the salmon, and serve!
If you prefer your salmon more medium rare, reduce the cook time and don’t wait until the opaque light pink color has moved so far up the salmon before flipping.
This is delicious served with angel hair pasta, rice, or veggies! Our favorite way to eat it is with angel hair that we’ve sauced with an olive oil, lemon, and parmesan combo.
- Serving Size: 1 salmon fillet
- Calories: 315
- Sugar: 0 g
- Sodium: 341 mg
- Fat: 24 g
- Carbohydrates: 1 g
- Fiber: 0 g
- Protein: 20 g
- Cholesterol: 85 mg
If you make this or any of my other recipes, be sure to Instagram it and hashtag #thegarlicdiaries!
In the mood for more yummy salmon recipes? Check these out: