Sautéed Salmon

Salmon or trout filets are fast and easy as a sauté.  If you want to get fancy you can dredge in flour and crisp.  If you’re looking for a path of least resistance between the stove and table here’s an idea that can be executed in 15 minutes.


Fish prepared this way cools quickly, so you want to put a serving plate in the oven to warm while setting up.  Also remember pat the fish dry with paper towel before adding it to the pan so that you cut down on froth forming in the pan.

Salmon Sautéed in Butter (serves 4)

  • 1 lb salmon filets
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • Parsley

Warm a frying pan over medium low heat.  Add ½ tbsp butter and the garlic, stirring to ensure that the garlic is evenly distributed.  Add salmon filets once the butter begins to bubble.

wait for the butter to bubble before adding fish


Cook filets for 3-6 minutes on each side.  A general rule is to give six minutes per inch of thickness measured at the middle of the filet.  Test for doneness by pressing the spatula lightly on one piece.  If the meat begins to separate it’s ready.  You can also cut into one of the thicker pieces and check the color, which should be a light pink and slightly translucent pink.

cook filets for 3-7 minutes on each side, depending on thickness.


My preferred testing method is smell.  For me the fish is done when the aroma goes from salty to sweet.  Remember that it’s all right to serve fish rare (sushi anyone?) but overcooked and dry is no fun.

Place filets on a warm plate.   Squeeze the juice from half the lemon into the frying pan, turn the heat up to medium high and add the remaining butter.  Stir constantly until the butter begins to bubble (being careful not to burn the garlic).  This will take about a minute.

add lemon juice and butter to make a sauce


Pour the butter sauce over the fish, dust with parsley, and cut garnishes with the remaining lemon half.  Serve immediately.

spoon on sauce, dust w/parsley & serve


For the health conscious, you can substitute olive oil for butter.  Just don’t tell me about it.

Pairings:  This goes well with a light green salad and rice.  If you want another veg try steamed carrot.

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Filed under Main Courses, Seafood

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