A simple “sauce” of parsley, lemon zest and juice, capers, scallions, garlic and olive oil delivers the promise of spring when spooned over pan-seared salmon. Recipe below.
Salmon seems to be our default fish for winter. The robust, fatty fish stands up nicely to winter’s cold as a satisfying meal. And salmon cooks up quick and easy. Here, our default is pan searing them with some salt and pepper and maybe a little tarragon—baking gets a little too fragrant when the windows are all closed. But the other night, facing salmon fillets yet again, I wanted to give them a hint of faraway spring. Fortunately, our fridge had just the ingredients to do that.
Fresh Italian parsley brings a light, peppery freshness to most any dish, and lemon delivers an unmistakable tartness as bright as its yellow skin. Add in chopped scallions, briny capers, a bit of minced garlic and some olive oil, and suddenly, it’s spring—with the promise of summer just around the corner. At least as long as dinner lasts.
Pan-seared Salmon with Parsley Lemon Sauce
3 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley
1 generous tablespoon capers, drained but not rinsed
1 tablespoon finely chopped scallion, both white and green parts
1 small clove of garlic, minced—a scant teaspoon
1 teaspoon finely chopped lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice
very good extra virgin olive oil
4 6-ounce salmon fillets, preferably skin-on
salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a bowl, combine parsley, capers, scallion, garlic, lemon zest and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Set aside.
Season salmon fillets generously with salt and pepper. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high flame. Add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan and let it get good and hot. Add salmon fillets to pan skin side up and sear until nicely browned on the flesh side, about 4 minutes (cook them in batches or use two pans, if needed, to avoid overcrowding ). Turn and cook until just cooked through, about 3 or 4 minutes—salmon may still be a little pink inside, which is a good thing.
Plate salmon fillets. Stir the lemon juice into the parsley lemon sauce and spoon over the fillets. Serve.