Salmon With Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce

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Salmon is one of my all-time favorite foods to prepare. When the weather is nice, I enjoy grilling it, which is exactly what I did with this chipotle maple grilled salmon. During the colder months, I bake it and season it with salt and pepper, or I make this baked salmon with lemon dill yogurt sauce for a change.

Generally, when I cook salmon, I do not use any kind of sauce. However, when I made this Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Salmon, I decided to change that.

When I first made this recipe, I was hesitant about pairing fish with a dairy-based sauce, but it turned out to be delicious! Sweet, tart, rich, and creamy, the creamy sun-dried tomato sauce. The Parmesan cheese imparts a nutty, salty flavor, and the fresh basil completes the dish!

On a sheet pan, combine the ingredients for Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Salmon.

Salmon with sun-dried tomato sauce - Photo by Danae Halliday
Salmon with sun-dried tomato sauce – Photo by Danae Halliday

HOW TO MAKE SALMON WITH CREAMY SUN-DRIED TOMATOES

If this is your first time cooking salmon, do not be intimidated. It’s actually quite simple. Make certain to read my success tips below.

Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper and sauté them in a skillet over medium-high heat in olive oil. If you’re cooking salmon with the skin on (as I did), cook it skin-side down first. It will take between 3-4 minutes on the skin side and another 1-4 minutes on the flesh side, depending on the thickness of the fillets.

Transfer the salmon to a plate from the pan. To keep them warm, wrap them in foil. Add a drizzle of additional olive oil to the pan, followed by the shallots, sun-dried tomatoes, salt, pepper, and spices. After a minute, add the garlic.

Deglaze the pan with white wine or additional vegetable broth. Bring the vegetable broth to a gentle simmer and add it. Reduce the heat to low and gradually add the cream and Parmesan cheese, stirring constantly until a creamy sauce forms. Season to taste and reintroduce the salmon to the sauce. Garnish the dish with fresh basil leaves.

Salmon with sun-dried tomato sauce - Photo by Danae Halliday
Salmon with sun-dried tomato sauce – Photo by Danae Halliday

PAN SEAR SALMON

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Before adding the salmon, ensure that the pan is hot but not smoking. Stainless steel or cast iron pan will produce the best crust on the salmon’s exterior.

Ensure that the salmon is not ice cold before adding it to the pan. Allow 15 minutes for it to rest on the counter before adding it to the pan. Additionally, pat dry the salmon with paper towels prior to the seasoning and cooking it.

Add the salmon skin-side down to the hot pan if using skin-on fillets. Allow the salmon to cook for 3-4 minutes without disturbing it, depending on the thickness of your fillets. When it is opaque halfway up the sides, it is ready to flip. At this point, the salmon should be nearly cooked.

Cook for an additional 1-3 minutes on the other side. Again, this will vary according to the thickness and whether or not you allow the meat to come to room temperature before adding it to the pan. Take the salmon out of the pan and set it aside for several minutes to rest.

Salmon with sun-dried tomato sauce - Photo by Danae Halliday
Salmon with sun-dried tomato sauce – Photo by Danae Halliday

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CREAM, HALF AND HALF, AND MILK?

Adding dairy to a sauce, such as this sun-dried tomato sauce, creates a creamy texture and enhances the flavor. You can use cream, half and half, or a combination of cream and low-fat milk, depending on your preference.

The consistency and flavor will vary according to the ingredients you select. Due to the higher fat content of the cream, it produces the richest and creamiest sauce. While using a combination of cream and low-fat milk will reduce fat and calories, your sauce will likely be less thick. Half and half will end up in the center.

When cooking with dairy, keep in mind that if the heat is turned up too high, the sauce will curdle. This is unlikely if you use cream, but it can happen quickly if you use half and half or low-fat milk. Reduce the heat to a low setting before adding the milk and avoid adding it to a boiling sauce. Never bring milk to a rolling boil; otherwise, it will curdle.

Salmon with sun-dried tomato sauce - Photo by Danae Halliday
Salmon with sun-dried tomato sauce – Photo by Danae Halliday

CREAMY SUN-DRIED TOMATO SALMON INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound wild-caught sockeye salmon fillets, skin-on or off
  • 1/2 cup diced shallots
  • 5 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 cloves grated garlic
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained of excess oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (optional), use vegetable broth as a replacement
  • 1/3 cup cream or half and half
  • 3/4 cup low sodium vegetable broth
  • 3 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese
  • Basil
Salmon with sun-dried tomato sauce - Photo by Danae Halliday
Salmon with sun-dried tomato sauce – Photo by Danae Halliday

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Allow 15 minutes for the salmon to sit on the counter. Using paper towels, pat dry and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat with a tablespoon of olive oil. Swirl the oil in the skillet to coat the bottom and add the salmon skin side down. Cook the salmon without moving it for approximately 3-5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets.
  3. Cook for an additional 2-4 minutes, being careful not to overcook the salmon. Remove the salmon from the pan and place it on a plate, foil-wrapped.
  4. Reduce to a medium heat and add the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil, shallots, sun-dried tomatoes, spices, salt, and pepper to the pan. Sauté for 1-2 minutes before adding the garlic and sautéing for an additional minute.
  5. Pour in the wine and scrape up any brown bits that have accumulated on the bottom of the pan. Bring the vegetable broth to a gentle simmer and add it. Cook, stirring constantly, until the Parmesan cheese, cream, or half and half begins to thicken. Season to taste. Take care not to bring the sauce to a boil after adding the cream or half and half to avoid curdling.
  6. Reintroduce the salmon to the pan and serve garnished with fresh chopped basil.
Salmon with sun-dried tomato sauce - Photo by Danae Halliday
Salmon with sun-dried tomato sauce – Photo by Danae Halliday

ADVANCED DAIRY NUTRITION

Milk, unlike any other beverage, is naturally nutrient-dense. It contains a proprietary blend of 13 essential nutrients, including vitamin A, vitamin D, zinc, selenium, and protein, all of which support a healthy immune system and overall wellness.

The protein found in dairy – whey and casein – helps you feel fuller for longer, provides energy, and may aid in muscle recovery.

Dairy foods are an affordable and readily available source of high-quality protein and frequently underutilized nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D, and potassium.

If you’re curious about the various types of cow’s milk available at your local grocery store, including A2, ultra-filtered, ultra-pasteurized, and lactose-free, you can learn more about them here. Each is equally healthy, but offers unique options based on your diet and lifestyle.

Salmon with sun-dried tomato sauce - Photo by Danae Halliday
Salmon with sun-dried tomato sauce – Photo by Danae Halliday

HOW TO SERVE SALMON

Serve the salmon over pasta, with crusty bread, or with these roasted potatoes with parmesan pesto. For a lighter option, try this shaved Brussels sprout salad with lemon Parmesan, roasted vegetables, or cauliflower rice.