Salmon. What can you say about such an incredibly delicious fish? It’s silky. It’s loaded with those omega-3s you hear so much about. You can have it at breakfast (smoked salmon), lunch (salmon salad), and dinner (keep reading). And it’s very easy to cook. This cast-iron salmon recipe is made all in one pan, and is served with a creamy spinach and sun-dried tomato sauce that is also made in the same pan. How ’bout that? Need more convincing? This meal comes together in 30 minutes! What are you waiting for?
When cooking salmon, make sure to go with a high-quality cut, especially when the fish is the star of the dish. The best choice is any wild salmon. These exquisite salmon fillets are rich and full of flavor. They’re perfect the way they are, so all we’re doing to them is giving them a quick sear in a hot cast-iron skillet. Make sure to use regular olive oil, not extra virgin, as the latter has a very low smoke point.
The secret to cooking salmon is patience. Do not flip the fillets until they release from the pan; this ensures the skin stays on and becomes a nice golden brown — even crispy, if that is your preference. When you do flip the salmon, use a slotted offset spatula so the skin comes along for the ride. Then, cook the fish on the second side for slightly less time.
Once the salmon comes out of the pan, turn off the heat. The residual heat from the cast-iron skillet is enough to cook the sauce. Toss the sauce ingredients into the pan and simmer for a few minutes.
Now you have a really big choice to make: Serve this family style by bringing the skillet directly to the table or place each fillet on a plate with half the sauce poured over it.
Actually, you have one more decision to make: Which wine should I drink with this? We recommend a pinot noir.
Cast-Iron Salmon with Creamy Spinach Sauce
- 10-inch cast iron skillet
For the salmon
- 2 4- ounce wild caught salmon fillets
- ½ teaspoon salt (plus extra for seasoning)
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (plus extra for seasoning)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the sauce
- 2 garlic cloves (grated or minced)
- 2 cups fresh spinach leaves
- ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil)
- ¼ cup half-and-half or heavy cream
- ⅓ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
For the salmon
- Rinse the salmon fillets, then pat dry with paper towels.
- Rub salt and pepper on all sides of the salmon.
- Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet until nearly smoking hot.
- Lower the heat to medium, then add the salmon fillets, skin side down.
- Cook until the skin is golden brown or the fillets release easily from the pan.
- Using an offset spatula, flip the salmon and cook the second side for 3-4 minutes.
- Remove the salmon from the pan and place on a plate to rest. If you have a wire rack, that’s even better — the skin will continue to crisp instead of being steamed from the plate.
- Turn off the heat on the skillet.
For the sauce
- Using the microplane, grate the garlic into the skillet and stir for 30 seconds.
- Add the spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, and half-and-half to the skillet. Give it a stir and season with a big pinch of salt and pepper.
- Nestle the salmon back into the skillet and serve. Garnish with Parmesan cheese.