Salmon Skillet with Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce is the ultimate 30 minute weeknight dinner. Serve over your grain of choice for a restaurant-quality meal the whole family will love.
Crispy Salmon Skillet Dinner:
Crispy salmon, sun-dried tomatoes, and a garlicky cream sauce = the holy trinity. This single skillet recipe tastes like something out of swanky seafood restaurant, yet you won’t believe how simple it is. Plus, it comes together in just 30 minutes, which means it’s 100% weeknight-approved. Or even date-night-in approved, if that’s on your agenda this week.
The sun-dried tomatoes add bright umami flavor to cut through the richness of the creamy sauce. Shallots and garlic add a layer of aromatic goodness, while sautéed spinach effortlessly ups the nutrient ante. One trick to infuse the salmon with extra flavor is to cook it in the oil from the sun-dried tomato jar. Most often, this is olive oil that has been infused for months with that bright, tomato flavor. And, sadly, it’s often discarded once the sun-dried tomatoes have been used up. In this recipe, however, it’s pure liquid gold!
What is the Best Salmon to Buy?
When it comes to seeking the right salmon, I recommend talking to your local fishmonger—or the person behind the fish counter at your local grocery store—to find out what’s best. Most often, this will depend on where you live and the time of year. Salmon is in season from May to October, so this is when you can expect to find the best selection. However, during summer and winter months, frozen wild salmon is usually the next best thing. My personal favorite is King salmon, also known as Chinook. This variety has a high fat content, which makes the flesh super buttery and rich. Coho salmon is also a good choice, which will have a more delicate texture than King, but similar flavor.
If you purchase farm-raised as opposed to wild, look for the phrase “sustainably-farmed” on the label. This is generally a more responsible and environmentally-sound way to control overfishing. And thankfully, there are plenty of sustainable Atlantic salmon varieties available, but it can take some research to identify them. You can seek up-to-date information on sustainability by checking the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program.
How to Pan Fry Salmon:
There are a couple tricks to cooking salmon that’s moist and flaky on the inside with a crisp exterior. One of which is to only cook it on ONE side for most of the time. Start the salmon skin-side down over medium-high heat and don’t flip it until it’s cooked about halfway through. (The skin should naturally release from the pan… if it sticks, it may need another minute or two.) After the salmon is flipped, let the residual heat help cook the remainder of the fish without aggressively cooking the tender flesh.
Since King salmon and most farm-raised varieties have a higher fat content, they may take about 8 to 9 minutes total. Leaner varieties like sockeye may only take 6 minutes for medium-rare.
What to Serve with Crispy Salmon:
I love to serve this salmon with orzo (small rice-shaped pasta), pearl couscous, or farro. Or, if you prefer a lower-carb option, zucchini noodles are always a good option. Since the skillet already contains spinach and sun-dried tomatoes, I usually forego the additional veggie side (unless it’s a simple side salad). You also can’t go wrong with some crusty bread to sop up any remaining sauce.
To finish the skillet, scatter fresh parsley overtop and an extra crack of black pepper!
Give this 30 minute recipe a try this week for a guaranteed weeknight win. And, as always, be sure to snap a pic and tag @dishingouthealth so I can see your beautiful creations! Also follow along on Pinterest and Facebook for the latest recipes, plus what I’m loving lately.
More Easy Fish Dinner Recipes:
- 4 (6-oz.) skin-on salmon fillets
- 1 tsp. kosher salt, divided
- ¾ tsp. black pepper, divided
- ½ cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes, plus 2 Tbsp. oil from jar
- ½ cup finely chopped shallots
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 cups packed fresh spinach
- ⅔ cup dry white wine
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Fresh parsley for garnish
- Cooked orzo or farro for serving (or grain of choice)
- Thoroughly dry salmon fillets with a paper towel. Season flesh with ½ tsp. of the salt and ¼ tsp. black pepper.
- Heat sun-dried tomato oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Cook salmon, skin-side down, until skin is crispy and easily pulls away from pan, about 5 to 6 minutes. Flip, and cook until flesh is golden, about 2 to 3 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm.
- Reduce heat to medium and add shallots. Cook 3 minutes, until softened. Add sun-dried tomatoes and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring often. Add spinach; cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until wilted. Season with remaining ½ tsp. salt and ½ tsp. black pepper.
- Add wine and cook 2 to 3 minutes, until most of the alcohol has evaporated. Stir in cream, and add salmon fillets back to skillet. Spoon sauce over fish, and garnish with fresh parsley. serve over grain of choice.