Pan-seared salmon coated in a white wine and lemon sauce with herbs and shallots is a quick, easy, and delicious dinner that the whole family will love!
Original post June 2011; Photos and content updated April 2020 to improve reader experience.
I have long been a fan of salmon. I also happen to be quite enamoured with all things lemon. So naturally, when the two are paired together, the result is a knock-out. Not only is it quick and easy, it’s healthy and delicious!
It doesn’t hurt that the toddler is a big fan of salmon. And lemon. So, this is a meal that I know she will gobble up, everytime I make it. It makes life much easier.
As you all know, I aim for weeknight dinners to take 30 minutes or less to cook, and this one definitely fits the bill. You can have Pan-Seared Salmon with White Wine & Lemon Sauce, with sides, on your table in under 30 minutes. The flavor is outstanding, it’s healthy, and it’s good enough for a fancier meal to serve company, too!
What does Pan-Seared Salmon mean?
Pan-searing is when you cook in a small amount of oil, without moving the fish, so that the oil sears it and gives it a nice, browned crust. It can also be referred to as “pan-fried”, but this can sometimes confuse people, as it’s not submerged in oil like typical frying.
How do you Pan-Sear Salmon with the skin on?
I always buy salmon with the skin still on, so I have mastered cooking it that way. To pan-sear salmon with the skin on, you start cooking it skin-side down, then gently flip it and remove the skin with tongs and discard. After cooking the “top-side”, flip again to get a nice sear on the side where the skin was removed, until it’s cooked through. It doesn’t really take any longer, and you get that nice sear on both sides. You can always opt to leave the skin on and remove just before eating (I do this when I bake or roast in the oven), you just don’t get the sear on both sides that way.
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Salmon with White Wine and Lemon Sauce
- 4 Salmon Fillets
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 shallot, diced
- 1 cup white wine
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp fresh Italian parsley, chopped
- 1 lemon
- Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season salmon fillets with salt and pepper.
- When the skillet is very hot, add salmon, skin-side down* and cook for 2-3 minutes. Gently flip with tongs or a spatula, and use tongs to remove the seared skin and discard. Season this side of the salmon with salt and pepper and cook an additional 2 minutes to sear the bottom side. Flip one more time to sear the bottom side, until fish is cooked through. You will know salmon is done when it is slightly opaque and flaky. Remove salmon to a plate while you cook the sauce.
- In the same pan, heat second tablespon of olive oil over medium heat. Saute shallots until softened and beginning to color, about 1 minute. Add wine and bring to boil. Boil until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 3-5 minutes. Whisk in butter and parsley. Squeeze in lemon, and stir.
- Add salmon back into the pan and , spooning sauce over the salmon to coat and warm salmon. Serve with your favorite sides and more sauce spooned over the tops!