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Pan Fried Salmon in a Lemon Garlic Cream Sauce

I so love my husband! Last week we had a really busy day and I was feeling pretty overwhelmed with a lot of tough things going on (without any down time). We really needed some things from the store, so Eric offered to go there while I did what I needed to around the house. One of the things on the list was salmon, and when he came home, he handed me a beautiful package of wild salmon and said “The farmed salmon was way cheaper but I was pretty sure you would want wild so I paid more.” I threw my arms around his neck and actually shed a few tears, not just because he got me salmon, but because I was so tired and struggling to keep my head out of the “my life is so hard, poor me” stage (yes some things are hard right now but a lot of things are really good and those are what I want my attitude to be about) and to have him willingly spend more money because he was thinking of me, well it really meant a lot.

photo by Has-Petter Fjeld, Creative Commons

Thing is, wild salmon tastes better, is better for the environment, and better for your body (less PCBs). Here’s a great post from Veggie Revolution about farmed salmon. Unfortunately, it’s not always as easy as just reading a label and trusting that it really is wild salmon. In a NY Times article they shared their findings from testing salmon labeled “wild” from several different stores and found most of them were actually farmed. Stores gave a variety of reasons, from whoever stocked it in store grabbing it from the wrong pile, to their supplier duping them. I haven’t found any good tips on how to recognize wild salmon, a lot of times farmed salmon is made to look just like wild, but I can tell the difference by taste after eating it. The salmon Eric got was definitely wild and delicious! Although it is more expensive, that simply means portioning it out very small and having lots of sides or incorporating it into dishes with lots of other components. It’s worth eating less at a time in both taste and health benefits.

I was going to make a basic buerre blanc sauce to go with it, but then I remembered the incredible Seafood Capellini in a lemon garlic cream sauce I had the night before when Eric took me to a fancy dinner at HG Bistro. Yes, this post is turning into all about how great my husband is, because he’s really wonderful! He’d gotten a gift certificate to HG Bistro and didn’t tell me where it was, just that he was taking me to a fancy restaurant and I should dress up. When we arrived I immediately loved the atmosphere, we were dressed very nicely and felt right at home, but there were also people there in shorts and slippers who seemed at home too! It’s a small restaurant, there seemed to be one server for the whole main dining room, but things moved quickly.

My capellini was amazing, the pungent garlic, zing of lemon and richness of the cream perfectly brought out the incredible sweetness of the seafood. It was a symphony of flavors and textures that made me groan in delight at each bite I took. Everything we ate was delicious, and I would definitely like to go back there again. So, this recipe for salmon in a lemon garlic cream sauce is a thank you to my husband who knows how to make me happy, loves me so much, and inspires me to be a better person.
Recipe Pan Fried Salmon in a Lemon Garlic Cream Sauce
serves 2Ingredients


3 TBS butter
1 TBS finely minced shallot or red onion
1 finely minced garlic clove
1/4 cup white wine
1 TBS lemon juice
1/4 cup heavy cream
dash pepper

2 TBS olive oil
salt and pepper
2 small pieces salmon (each the size of a deck of cards)


Melt butter in a small saucepan on medium heat and saute onion and garlic until soft (about 4 min) if butter starts to brown, turn down the heat. Add wine and lemon juice. Let simmer slowly until reduced by half.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet on medium high. Season salmon with salt and pepper and place skin side up in the oil. Cook it for 3 minutes, then flip and cook another 3-5 minutes.

Once liquid for the sauce has reduced, and while salmon is cooking, add cream and pepper to sauce. Reduce heat to low and stir occaisionally while waiting for salmon to finish. Taste and add lemon juice, salt or pepper to your taste preference. Place salmon on a plate (I removed the skin first) and top with the sauce.

Approximate cost/serving: We buy a very large salmon filet and cut it into portions to freeze. Each portion is about $2, the sauce is around 50 cents total to make so $2.25 per serving

Gluten Free: the sauce is not thickened with anything and is gluten free

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Nutritional and cost information is for estimating purposes only, and subject to variations due to region, seasonality, and product availability.

9 thoughts on “Pan Fried Salmon in a Lemon Garlic Cream Sauce”

  1. You too are such a lovely couple! Your husband sounds like an amazing guy! I would love to meet him some day (soon?). Having a good partner for life is so importnat beyond words, to share the ups and downs of life.
    And I agree with your approach "It's worth eating less at a time in both taste and health benefits." eat less of the good stuff then eat more of the bad stuff. And we really don't need more then 4-6 oz. of animal protein anyway…

  2. Thank you for sharing this recipe. My husband and I were trying to recreate Pappadeaux’s Salmon Diablo dish. We cooked the salmon as you recommended and used your sauce as the base. We also added a little romano cheese, crabmeat, and crawfish to the sauce. We topped the salmon with the new sauce and some pico de gallo. It wasn’t exactly like the restaurant’s dish, but it was very good. I don’t think we could have gotten so close without your recipes. Thanks!

  3. In the NW wild salmon is a widely available, wonderful treat. This recipe complements the delicate flavor, without overpowering. It is truly wonderful. I can quickly prepare a perfect meal in a busy week night

  4. Yummy! I made this last night for the family and everyone (including my picky 10 year old) love it. We served it over angel hair pasta and the sauce was amazing with it. Thank you!

  5. Yummy! I made this last night and everyone (including my picky 10 year old) loved it! I served it over angel hair pasta and the sauce was amazing. Thank you!


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