This easy to make Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Salmon is perfect for weeknights and fancy enough for a special occasion. It’s all made it one pan and on the table in 30 minutes!
Thanks to my friends at American Dairy Association Mideast for sponsoring this post. As always all opinions are my own.
Salmon is one of my favorite things to cook. When the weather is nice I love to grill it like I did with this chipotle maple grilled salmon. During the colder months I stick it in the oven and season it with salt and pepper or for something different make this baked salmon with lemon dill yogurt sauce.
For the most part when I make salmon I don’t cook it in any kind of sauce. However, I decided to change that when I made this Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Salmon.
The first time I made this recipe I was hesitant about pairing fish in a sauce made with dairy, but to my surprise it was delicious! The creamy sun dried tomato sauce is sweet, tart, rich and creamy. The Parmesan cheese adds a little nutty and salty flavor and the fresh basil rounds out the whole dish!
Ingredients for Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Salmon
- Wild caught sockeye salmon fillets
- Sun dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
- Italian seasoning, smoked paprika and red pepper flakes
- Dry white wine (optional)
- Low sodium vegetable broth
- cream or half and half
- Parmesan cheese
How to Make Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Salmon
If you’re new to cooking salmon, don’t let it intimidate you. It’s actually very easy. Be sure to read my tips below for success.
Start by seasoning the salmon fillets with salt and pepper and sautéing them in olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. If you’re using skin on salmon (that’s what I used) cook skin side down first. Depending on the thickness of the fillets it will take anywhere from 3-4 minutes on the skin side and a another 1-4 minutes on the flesh side.
Remove the salmon from the pan and onto a plate. Cover them with foil to keep them warm. Add a little more olive oil to the pan and then add in the shallots, sun dried tomatoes, salt, pepper and spices. Sauté for a minute and then add in the garlic.
Pour in the white wine or additional vegetable broth to deglaze the pan. Pour in the vegetable broth and bring it to a gentle simmer. Lower the heat and pour in the cream and Parmesan cheese stirring until a creamy sauce forms. Taste for seasoning and add the salmon back into the sauce. Finish the dish with fresh chopped basil.
How to Pan Sear Salmon
Start by heating olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Be sure the pan is hot, but not smoking before adding the salmon. A stainless steel pan or cast iron will give you the best crust on the exterior of the salmon.
Before adding the salmon to the pan make sure that it’s not ice cold. Let it rest on the counter for 15 minutes before adding it to the pan. Also be sure to pat the salmon dry with paper towels before seasoning and cooking it.
Add the salmon to the hot pan skin side down if using skin on fillets. Let the salmon cook without disturbing it for 3-4 minutes depending on how thick your fillets are. You’ll know it’s ready to flip when it’s opaque half way up the sides. The salmon should be nearly cooked at this point.
Flip the salmon and let it cook for another 1-3 minutes. Again this will vary depending on the thickness and whether you let it come to room temperature before adding it to the pan. Remove the salmon from the pan and let it rest for several minutes.
Cream, Half and Half, Milk, What’s the Difference?
Adding dairy to a sauce such as this sun dried tomato sauce is a great way to give it a creamy consistency and richer flavor. Depending on your preference, you can use cream, half and half or a mixture of cream and low fat milk.
The consistency and flavor will vary depending on what you choose. Cream will yield the richest and creamiest sauce because of the higher fat content. A mixture of cream and low fat milk will cut the fat and calories, but your sauce will likely not be as thick. Half and half will land somewhere in the middle.
When cooking with dairy keep in mind that your sauce can curdle if the heat is too high. This is unlikely to happen if you use cream, but can quickly happen with half and half or a lower fat milk. Lower the heat before adding in the milk and don’t add it to a boiling sauce. Never bring milk to a hard boil or it will likely curdle.
- Milk is naturally nutrient-rich like no other beverage. It has a unique combination of 13 essential nutrients, including vitamin A, vitamin D, zinc, selenium and protein which contribute to a healthy immune system and overall wellness.
- The protein in dairy –whey and casein– keeps you feeling full longer, provides you with energy and can help muscles recover.
- Dairy foods are one of the most affordable and accessible sources of high-quality proteins and often under-consumed nutrients like calcium, vitamin D and potassium.
- If you’re curious about all the various cow’s milk options you may see at the grocery store such as, A2, ultra-filtered, ultra-pasteurized and lactose-free you can read about them here. All are equally healthy, but offer different choices depending on your diet and lifestyles.
What to Serve with Salmon
Try serving the salmon over pasta, with crusty bread or with these Parmesan pesto roasted potatoes. For something lighter, this lemon Parmesan shaved brussels sprout salad, roasted vegetables, or cauliflower rice.
- 1 pound wild caught sockeye salmon fillets, skin-on or off
- 5 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 1/2 cup diced shallots
- 2 cloves grated garlic
- 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, drained of excess oil
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup dry white wine (optional), use vegetable broth as a replacement
- 3/4 cup low sodium vegetable broth
- 1/3 cup cream or half and half
- 3 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese
- Let the salmon sit out on the counter for 15 minutes. Pat dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
- Heat a large skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Swirl the oil to coat the bottom of the skillet and add the salmon in skin side down. Cook the salmon without moving it until it turns opaque halfway up the sides, about 3-5 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillets.
- Flip the salmon and cook another 2-4 minutes being careful not to overcook it. Remove the salmon from the pan and onto a plate covering it with foil.
- Turn the heat down to medium and add the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil to the pan along with the shallots, sun dried tomatoes, spices, salt and pepper. Sauté for 1-2 minutes then add in the garlic and sauté another minutes.
- Pour in the wine and scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour in the vegetable broth and bring it to a gently simmer. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, cream or half and half and cook just until the sauce starts to thicken. Taste for seasoning. Be careful not to boil the sauce once the cream or half and half is added in so it doesn't curdle.
- Add the salmon back into the pan, garnish with fresh chopped basil and serve.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 346Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 89mgSodium: 214mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 2gSugar: 5gProtein: 34g