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Quick, easy, healthy! Salmon fillets poached in a tomato onion caper sauce with white wine.
Photography Credit:Elise Bauer
One of the best ways to prepare salmon is to poach it, in just a little liquid. We often use this “shallow poaching” method with a little white wine and herbs.
You can also make a simple sauce and poach the salmon in it, which is what we are doing here with these fillets, cooking them in a sauce of onions, tomatoes, white wine, and capers. Preparing salmon this way perfect for a quick and and easy midweek meal, and elegant enough for company.
And, by the way, it tastes great! How could it not, with these ingredients, right?
The tomato onion caper sauce hits all the notes—sweet from the tomatoes and onions, salty from the capers, tang from the tomatoes, lemon juice, and wine, and a dash of bitter from the lemon zest.
You make the sauce first, then rest the fillets on top of it, partly submerged, simmer, cover and cook. The dish takes maybe 10 minutes to prep and only 25 to cook.
Salmon with Tomato, Onions, and Capers Recipe
If fresh tomatoes aren't in season, use a 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes.
Don't use wine in cooking? Just sub with more water and an additional 2 teaspoons of lemon juice.
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
- 2 large fresh tomatoes, diced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons of capers, drained
- 1 teaspoon of chopped jalapeño peppers (no seeds, no stem, no ribs) either fresh or pickled
- 1/3 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup water
- Salt and pepper
- 2 fresh salmon fillets, 1/2 pound each
1 Sauté the onions and garlic: In a large, wide (at least 12 inches wide) saucepan (one that comes with a cover), heat olive oil on medium heat.
Add the onion and cook, stirring regularly, until just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
2 Add tomatoes, thyme, lemon zest and juice, capers, jalapeño, salt, pepper: Raise the heat to medium-high and add the tomatoes, thyme, lemon zest, lemon juice, capers, and jalapeño peppers.
Simmer for 10 minutes, adding a little water if needed to prevent the sauce from getting too dry. Salt and pepper to taste.
3 Add wine and water: Add 1/3 a cup of white wine - a simple Chardonnay will work. Add 1/4 cup of water. Bring to a simmer.
4 Add salmon fillets, cover and cook: Place the fillets in the pan on top of the sauce, skin side down, if the fillets are still in their skin. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low.
Cook for 4-7 minutes, depending on how thick the cuts of fish are. Poke the fish with a fork and look for doneness. The fish should still be a little rare in the middle, but not raw.
Serve immediately, with tomato sauce generously applied.
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Mediterranean Baked Salmon with Tomatoes, Olives, & Capers
This is one of those reliable family recipes that doesn’t have an official name, and it changes just a little every time we make it. Does your family have any recipes like that? Other examples that spring to mind: my mom’s “meat and sour cream” dish (sounds gross, but it’s so good), my mother-in-law’s “cranberry dish,” our “family snack board,” and Adam’s “rocco’s pasta” (long story.) We call this one “the salmon with tomatoes and capers,” and it’s also been made with halibut and mahi with great success. We love it so much that I decided it was way past time to actually write down the recipe and give my Mediterranean Baked Salmon a name. Oh, and this time I actually measured ingredients to get the amounts just right for you guys.
This healthy one-dish wonder is perfect for a busy weeknight or a Saturday night with friends. Baking the salmon with the vegetables and lemon slices yields a perfectly tender and flavorful fish every time, since the veggies release their juices to create their own flavorful sauce.
Scroll on for your new favorite dinner that comes together in a flash.
The easiest salmon recipes start at the grocery store. For this Mediterranean Baked Salmon recipe, I usually have the fishmonger remove the skin for me since I don’t want it in the final oven-to-table dish (I just don’t love that slime factor.) Alternatively, I frequently buy frozen salmon filets that already have the skin removed, and thaw them overnight in the fridge.
This is controversial, but I don’t always buy wild salmon (which is usually what you hear recommended from a nutrition standpoint.) I prefer the more mild flavor of farmed Atlantic salmon, plus it’s more affordable and easily accessible. And according to SeafoodWatch.org, Atlantic salmon farmed in indoor tanks with wastewater treatment is considered a “Best Choice” when it comes to sustainability. 2 of 5
The rest of the ingredients are bright, zesty, and super summery! Cherry tomatoes add gorgeous color (I’ve also used chopped heirloom tomatoes here), plus whatever good briny olives you have on hand, salty capers, lots of crushed garlic, and the brightness of lemon slices and chopped parsley – eating this transports me to this little open air seaside restaurant that Adam and I loved on our trip to Sicily a few years ago. And did I mention that you only have one pan to wash at the end of the night? Doesn’t get much better than that.
Keep scrolling for the recipe card and video at the very bottom of this post. And don’t forget to leave us a comment (and a rating!) if you give this one a try.
Mediterranean Baked Salmon with Tomatoes, Capers, & Olives
My mediterranean baked salmon recipe is an easy one-pan dinner that is healthy, summery, and only calls for a few flavor-packed ingredients.
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 pounds plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced
- 1/3 cup drained capers
- 1/3 cup sliced pickled jalapeños
- Four center-cut salmon fillets with skin (about 7 ounces each)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 375°. In a large saucepan, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, oregano and bay leaves and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are just beginning to break down, about 5 minutes. Stir in the olives, capers and jalapeños and simmer for 2 minutes longer. Discard the bay leaves.
In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil until shimmering. Season the salmon with salt and pepper and add to the skillet, skin side down. Cook over high heat until the skin begins to brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the fish for about 10 minutes, until slightly rare on the inside. Transfer the fish to plates, spoon the sauce all around and serve.
Always Order Dessert
This smoky rustic tomato sauce is one of my FAVORITE easy fish dinner recipes. The Mediterranean ingredients of tomato, capers, garlic, onion, sherry, herbs, and chorizo come together quickly on the stovetop, then can be served over a variety of firm white fishes. I usually serve this with perch, red snapper, or halibut, but choose your favorite! (If you prefer, it's also wonderful with shrimp or salmon.)
I like to broil my fish fillets because it's a quick way, low-fuss way to cook them, though occasionally I'll pan-fry my fillets when I'm craving something a little bit crispier.
This recipe is incredibly easy to adapt--even the sauce ingredients can be swapped or tweaked according to your tastes or whatever happens to be in your pantry. I love to use cherry or grape tomatoes for this, but you can also dice up whole tomatoes or use canned ones if fresh tomatoes aren't in season.
A smoky cured meat like chorizo, bacon or speck adds amazing flavor, but you can also skip it if you don't eat pork. Same goes for the capers! (Though they really do add a wonderful salty bite!) Or swap in green or kalamata olives instead.
This easy fish recipe is wonderful and filling on its own, but a crusty baguette and a crisp salad would definitely turn it into a perfect anytime feast!
If you're entertaining guests, I recommend doubling the sauce recipe and making it a day or two in advance. It reheats really well, then all you have to do is quickly cook the fish and serve with the reheated sauce!
Broiled Fish with Rustic Mediterranean Tomato, Onion & Caper Sauce
2 pounds boneless white fish fillets such as perch, snapper, cod, halibut, or mahi mahi
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 large red onion, diced
1/4 pound Spanish chorizo, speck, pancetta, or smoked bacon, finely chopped (optional)
4 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved (substitute 2 14oz cans of diced tomatoes)
4 large garlic cloves, crushed
Zest of 1 lemon, cut into large strips
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon smoked spanish paprika
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup water
1 cup dry sherry, white wine, or cognac (substitute broth, if preferred)
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup capers, drained
1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Lemon wedges, for serving.
Prep the fish: Line a baking sheet with foil. Drizzle foil generously with oil and use a brush to spread. Pat fish fillets very dry and arrange skin-side down on oiled foil. Season tops of fillets with salt and pepper. Chill, uncovered, in refrigerator while you make the sauce.
Make the sauce: Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute 5 minutes or until translucent. Add the chopped chorizo (or other meat), if using, and saute 2-3 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, crushed garlic, lemon zest, and crushed red pepper. Season with a generous pinch of kosher salt and a crack or two of black pepper. Saute 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until tomatoes start to soften and burst.
Add the spanish paprika, oregano, tomato paste, water, and sherry. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened and reduced (about 10 minutes). Stir in the butter and simmer 3 more minutes or until melted.
Remove from heat, and stir in the capers and parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning with additional salt as needed.
Remove fish from the refrigerator. Pat the fillets dry again with a paper towel and drizzle generously with olive oil. Broil 7-12 minutes, or until fully cooked, opaque and flaky. (If you don't have a broiler, bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees.)
Serve fillets topped with large spoonfuls of the sauce and broth, and lemon wedges.
- 1 pint grape tomatoes (halved)
- 1 medium shallot (thinly sliced)
- 1 tablespoon drained capers
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 center-cut salmon fillets with skin (about 7 ounces each)
- Freshly ground pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 tablespoon minced parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped basil
Preheat the oven to 425°. In a bowl, toss the tomatoes with the shallot, capers, vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
In a medium ovenproof skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season the salmon with salt and pepper and add it to the skillet, skin side up. Cook over moderately high heat until well-browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Carefully flip the fillets. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until the salmon is cooked through, about 7 minutes. Transfer the fish to plates and pour off any fat in the skillet.
Place the skillet over moderate heat and add the tomato mixture along with the cumin, canola oil and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook, scraping up any bits stuck to the skillet, until the tomatoes just soften, about 2 minutes. Pour the sauce over the salmon, sprinkle with the parsley and basil and serve right away.
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup chopped shallots
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
- 1 3/4 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 medium English hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, diced
- 1 12-ounce basket small cherry tomatoes, each quartered
- 1 large yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1/4 cup drained capers
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- 1 2 1/2- to 2 3/4-pound salmon fillet with skin (1 whole side)
Salmon and Tomatoes in Foil
Linda Xiao for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.
Here is a simple recipe for salmon prepared en papillote (a fancy name for “in paper,” though like most everyone else these days, you will use aluminum foil). Layer salmon, tomato and basil on lightly oiled foil and wrap it all up — you can even do it a night before cooking. When the time for dinner comes, you can steam, grill, roast or pan-grill the packages — though our testing shows roasting is easiest. You can substitute almost anything comparable for each of the ingredients: salmon can be replaced by any fish steak or fillet, or by boneless, skinless chicken breast. The herb and vegetable can also be varied at will, as long as the vegetable will finish cooking at the same time as the protein: if you were cooking broccoli, for example, you would have to cut it into small pieces if carrots, you'd have to parboil them.
Pan-seared Salmon Recipe from Disneyland’s Blue Bayou
As a special treat, our friends at Disney Editions have served up three of delightful recipes for us from their cookbook, Delicious Disney: The Fresh Edition. So while you wait for your next Disney excursion—after all author Pam Brandon’s book is on-sale as an exclusive souvenir only available at the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts—feast your eyes on these delicious dishes, Disney-style. This week, we have the perfect entrée for your next soiree.
Click here for the starter recipe.
Pan-seared Salmon, with Tomato Caper Relish, Sautéed Spinach, and Basil Beurre Blanc
BLUE BAYOU RESTAURANT
Crickets chirp, frogs croak, and it’s always twilight at the Blue Bayou Restaurant, a Disneyland Park favorite. Cajun- and Creole-inspired cuisine is on the menu, and luxurious beurre blanc sauce adds New Orleans flair to this dish. The sauce works well with all types of fish.
TOMATO CAPER RELISH:
1 small tomato, diced
1 small onion, diced 2 tablespoons capers
1/4 cup olive oil
5 basil leaves, chiffonade
Coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper, to taste
BASIL BEURRE BLANC:
4 cups loosely packed fresh basil
1/2 cup chopped fresh chives
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup Chardonnay
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon water
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
Coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper, to taste
GOAT CHEESE MASHED POTATOES:
2 pounds red potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets, skin removed
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cups spinach
Coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 tablespoons microgreens, optional
- Combine tomato, onion, capers, olive oil, and basil leaves in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
- Set aside until ready to serve.
- Combine basil, chives, garlic, and lemon juice in a blender or food processor. Blend until herbs and garlic are finely chopped. Add oil and blend until smooth. Set aside.
- Heat Chardonnay over medium heat in a medium saucepan for 5 minutes, until reduced by half. Add in heavy cream and continue cooking for 7 minutes, until reduced by another quarter. Add reserved basil mixture and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly until fully mixed.
- Whisk cornstarch and water together in a small bowl. Return heavy cream mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Whisk in cornstarch mixture and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until sauce begins to thicken.
- Pour sauce through a fine-mesh strainer and whisk in room temperature butter.
- Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm until ready to serve.
FOR GOAT CHEESE MASHED POTATOES:
- Place potatoes in a large stockpot and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
- Drain potatoes and place in a large bowl. Mash with butter, heavy cream, and salt.
- Fold in goat cheese. Keep warm until ready to serve.
- Season salmon with salt and pepper.
- Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium heat for 5 minutes, until hot. Cook salmon for 3 minutes on each side, until desired doneness. Keep warm until ready to serve.
- Heat oil until shimmering in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add spinach and sauté just until spinach begins to wilt.
- Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and keep warm until ready to serve.
Evenly divide potatoes on 4 serving plates. Drizzle 1/4 cup of basil beurre blanc around the edge of the potatoes. Top with spinach, then salmon. Spoon tomato caper relish on top of salmon and garnish with 1 tablespoon of microgreens, if desired.
Yield: 2 to 4 | Total time: 10 min Print Recipe Print This! -->
Dreaming up pasta dishes always transports me to Italy where I’ve had the good fortune of spending countless hours cooking and eating. Summer al fresco lunches are my favorite when everyone gathers at a large outdoor table. The meal usually starts with a few antipasti—maybe melon and prosciutto or figs and mascarpone some good tomatoes with spicy garden basil and glugs of thick green olive oil, unsalted bread. And always a pasta, sometimes freshly made, followed by grilled fish or roasted meat, a green salad and fresh Pecorino with cracked pepper and honey or ricotta with fruit. Maybe a thick and jammy crostata. Wine, of course.
Of everything I’ve learned from Italian chefs and home cooks alike about the diverse regional cuisines, they all share a passion and reverence for the noodle and have impressed upon me that the timing of pasta is most crucial and the sauce is not a thick, heavy slathering—think of it more as a dressing, as you would a salad, adequately coating the leaves without weighing them down.
How to time it all? I find it’s best to get a large pot of water heating add a generous amount of salt and let it come to a gentle boil while you get started on a quick sauce. (For a long-simmered winter-style ragu you’d make ahead of time, let it heat up while getting the pasta ready.) And while your sauce is simmering, cook the pasta in boiling water, stirring it to keep from clumping and checking it a few times to make sure it’s al dente and not overcooked. Also, there’s no need to drain and rinse, just add the pasta to the sauce directly from the boiling water, using a large open kitchen “spider”or slotted spoon. It’s fine and even preferable for some of the cooking water to be added to the sauce, which, along with cheese—if appropriate for your sauce—helps bring it all together and adhere better to the noodles.
The beauty of pasta is that you can dress it up or down, depending on the seasons and your cravings. If you prefer to not make fresh pasta, we have excellent local fresh options. This past weekend, I bought some fresh fat spaghettiat the South Anchorage Farmer’s Market and tossed it with leftover cooked first-of-the-season salmon, chiles, currants, and fried capers for some punch and crunch.
Grilled Salmon With Tomatoes, Spinach, and Capers
This simple, elegant, and delicious dish gives you a healthy dose of heart-protective omega-3s from the salmon. The tomatoes provide the carotenoid lycopene, and the spinach delivers plenty of beta-carotene and folate. Grill extra and use for a salmon salad the next day.
Heat the oven to broil. Lightly coat a large heat-resistant baking dish with cooking spray.
Place salmon, flesh side up, in the baking dish, lightly season with salt and pepper, and broil without turning until salmon is cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, spinach, and capers cook for 2 minutes longer. Remove the pan from the heat.
Remove salmon from broiler and transfer to 4 serving plates. Spoon tomato mixture over salmon, squeeze lemon wedges over the top, and serve warm.
Reprinted from: THE SOUTH BEACH DIET SUPERCHARGED by Arthur Agatston, MD with Joseph Signorile, PhD. © 2008 by Arthur Agatston, MD. Permission granted by Rodale, Inc., Emmaus, PA 18098. Available wherever books are sold or directly from the publisher by calling (800) 848-4735.
Calories 386 , Fat 22g , Cholesterol - , Sodium 273mg , Saturated Fat 4g , Protein 36g , Fiber 3g , Carbohydrates 10g
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- How to make oven-baked salmon in a baking dish: Add the butter, garlic, and capers to a baking dish. Slide into the oven and cook until the butter is melted and bubbling, about 2 minutes. Take the dish out of the oven then add the salmon fillets and spoon the butter mixture on top. Bake, covered, as directed in the method above.
- How to tell when salmon is cooked: Your best bet for checking if salmon is cooked, is a thermometer — we cook salmon to 125 degrees F, which means it will be soft, tender and slightly pink in the center. For a visual cue, look for the flesh to be somewhat opaque. Also, when inserting a knife into the salmon, it should slide through easily.
- Cook time: Depending on the type and thickness of the salmon you are baking, cook time will vary. The cook times suggested above are for middle cut fillets, about 1-inch thick. For thinner fillets or end pieces, check the salmon a bit earlier. For thicker fillets, you may need an additional 5 to 10 minutes of bake time.
- Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.
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