Perfectly tender pan roasted salmon is topped with a lucious, creamy, and flavorful sauce for an easy meal perfect for weeknight dinners or a special occasion.
- Love salmon recipes? Try my Cedar Plank Salmon on the grill for the ultimate in tender, flavorful salmon. So good!
- Love garlic sauces? Try my Garlic White Pizza Sauce …super fan favorite!
- This is a great recipe to serve with Perfect Mashed Cauliflower for a meal everyone will love!
Y’all, I can’t communicate LOUD enough or strong enough how utterly delicious this salmon recipe is. You will want to pick up your plate and lick all that sauce off without even caring how rude it looks. There are so many delicious ways you could use that sauce…on pasta, brown rice, veggies, or simply from the bowl ;).
And this easy recipe couldn’t be more simple, straight-forward, and utterly lovely. You truly need to try this one.
- Good quality salmon filets with the skin on. Use a sharp knife to divide into filets about 2-3 inches wide.
- fresh garlic
- parmesan cheese
- Fresh basil. Fresh parsley works also, if you prefer. Fresh herbs keep this dish from getting too heavy and rich.
Why use skin-on salmon?
First, crispy salmon skin is super tasty. Mmmmm.
Second, the skin helps protect the fresh fish from over-cooking and helps create a tender and juicy end result. Think of it as a heat shield.
Can I make this dairy-free?
I’m going to be honest (and y’all know I’m dairy-free and WANT to say yes)…no, not really. It’s that parm cheese that is super important for this sauce to be as tasty as it it.
That said, you could try subbing out the butter for oil, dairy milk for cashew milk and skipping the parm cheese altogether. You’ll need to cook it down for awhile to get it to thicken or use a cornstarch slurry. And give it a teaspoon of lemon juice to boost the flavor.
how to pan-roast the salmon:
- Let the salmon to come to room temperature for about 15 minutes. If you add cold salmon to a hot pan, it will seize up and will not be as tender and juicy. Also make sure the salmon filets you pat dry.
- Season salmon filets while you heat oil in a cast-iron skillet (or large oven-proof skillet) on medium high heat. Make sure you use a large skillet that doesn’t crowd your salmon.
- Add the salmon to the pan and sear the salmon skin-side down, for 4-5 minutes without moving the salmon so that it properly sears. Don’t be tempted to move the salmon :).
- Remove the pan from the burner and place salmon in the preheated oven (still on the skin side) until the salmon is just opaque in the center. Cooking time will depend on how done you want it and the thickness of the filet. Don’t be tempted to overcook it, it will continue to cook as it rests.
- Keep the salmon warm on a platter covered with a paper towel while you make the sauce.
Why sear AND roast the salmon?
Searing salmon gives you that lovely crispy skin and starts the salmon cooking so that when it hits the hot oven it takes only a few minutes to finish cooking the fish. This method gives you the best results every. single. time. Just sayin’.
Note: The salmon could also be fully pan seared on the stovetop, if you prefer. Simply cook 4-5 min on either side for medium rare or add 1-2 min per side for medium well. As with pan roasting in the oven, adjust the time according to the thickness of your salmon fillets and the desired doneness. The salmon should be opaque and flaky.
How do I know the salmon is done?
You can check in two different ways:
- Use a meat thermometer to check the thickest part of the fillet for an internal temperature of 145 degrees.
- Simply use a fork to see if that thickest part of the fillet is pink (not red), opaque on the edges and translucent in the middle, and the salmon flakes. If it is red, or fully translucent, or not flaky… it isn’t done.
How to make the sauce:
- Melt the butter, on medium heat, in the same skillet you to took the salmon out of to give it all of those yummy great flavors. Add the garlic and saute to release the flavor.
- Slowly whisk in the heavy cream to the pan.
- When the cream warms up, add the cheese and whisk- baby – whisk! Keep whisking until it’s warm, melty, and thick.
- Get it off the heat and stir in the fresh basil. Taste it to see if you need to add more salt or black pepper and you are done, girl!
- Plate the salmon and top with the sauce. If the salmon needs to be warmed, you can add it to the pan with the sauce then plate and top with additional sauce.
- Serve up with lemon wedges and additional fresh basil.
How to Store Leftovers:
Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Store the sauce and the salmon separately. Reheat the salmon on a sheet pan, with a little olive oil drizzled on top, in the oven on 250 degrees for about 15 minutes to be sure that it doesn’t dry out while being reheated.
Did you make this recipe? Be sure to let me know! I’m looking forward to hearing how you all are loving this sauce and salmon combo as much as I am. It has become a new fave and I just keep making it. So good!
Lucky for me, my fam loves salmon recipes.
Pan Roasted Salmon with Creamy Garlic Sauce
- 1 Pound Salmon Filets, with skin on
- 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- ½ Teaspoon Black Pepper
- 2 Tablespoons Butter
- 4 Cloves Garlic minced
- 1 Cup Heavy Cream
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- ½ Teaspoon Black Pepper
- ½ Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese don't use pre-shredded, shred it yourself.
- ½ Bunch Fresh Basil chopped
- Remove the salmon from the fridge and let it rest for 15 minutes before cooking. This will allow the salmon to come to room temperature. If you add cold salmon to a hot pan, it will seize up and will not be as tender and juicy. Also make sure the salmon filets are patted dry.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
- Preheat the cast iron skillet on medium high and add olive oil. Season the salmon filets with the salt and pepper while the oil heats. The oil should be hot (shimmery) when you add the salmon, but not smoky.
- Add the salmon to the pan and sear skin, side down, for 4-5 minutes without moving the salmon so that it properly sears.
- Remove the pan from the burner and put in the oven for 5-6 minutes (for medium rare) until the salmon is just opaque in the center. Time in the oven will depend on the desired doneness (medium rare, medium well, etc) and the thickness of the filet. The salmon should be opaque and flaky.
- Transfer the salmon to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
- To make the sauce, turn the cast iron pan (use the same pan!) to medium low and melt the butter in the skillet. Add the garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes to release the flavor.
- Slowly add the heavy cream to the pan while stirring with a whisk. Add the salt and pepper to the heavy cream to season.
- When the cream is warm, add the shredded parmesan and continue to whisk until the cheese is melted and the sauce thickens a bit.
- Take the sauce off the burner, add the fresh basil and stir.
- Plate the salmon and top with the sauce. If the salmon needs to be heated, you can add it to the pan with the hot sauce, then plate and top with additional sauce.