Everyone loves to prepare recipes that are impressive and yet super easy! This Tuscan Salmon in Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce just bursts with flavor, is a one-pot wonder, and is on the table in no time (less than 30 minutes). Your family and guests will feel as if they are indulging at an elegant gourmet restaurant! I guarantee that they’ll just rave about this exquisite fish entree. And all because:
- the salmon is perfectly pan-seared, giving it a nice crispy, golden-orange crust and a delicate, flaky, tender, and moist center.
- the salmon is deliciously seasoned, juicy, succulent, and bursting with a delightful buttery flavor, and
- it has a luscious, garlic-butter cream sauce that’s studded with pancetta and tangy sun-dried tomatoes that’s ladled over the salmon.
And for you, the main cook/chef? You’ll be thrilled at how easy this is to make because:
- it’s made in one skillet
- which means you have less to clean up
- PLUS cooking everything in one skillet builds incredible layers of flavors from all of the ingredients
You’ll shout with joy because it’s so simple to make: SEASON, SEAR, SIMMER, and SERVE! SPECTACULAR!
My husband is one of the world’s most picky and demanding eaters and he’s obsessed with the sauce alone. It’s truly crazy-delicious! The amazing creamy, cheesy sauce is loaded with layers of flavor from garlic and Parmigiana cheese. But that’s not all . . . there’s more in this insanely rich and decadent sauce! Tangy sun-dried tomatoes, pancetta, and lots of comforting cream! Simply unforgettable!
Make sure that the salmon is smothered with this scrumptious sauce so that no one misses out on it. It would be a good idea to fill a serving bowl with whatever is left in the pan to pass around the table for appreciating guests!
I’m positive that this Tuscan Salmon will be a hit at anyone’s dining table. It’s bound to become a perennial family favorite that you’ll make over and over again. It’s simple enough for weeknight dinners and yet perfect for any special occasion and/or entertaining guests!
Let’s Talk About Salmon!
Have I ever said how much I adore salmon? I think I repeat myself the older I get! But I do, I just love, love, LOVE salmon . . . and always have! It just makes my taste buds sing! Salmon has the most incredible buttery soft interior and can be enjoyed whether it’s baked, seared, poached, roasted, grilled, or even smoked. Even raw, it’s great on bagels and in sushi. Salmon’s versatility is endless. Maybe that’s why it has so much global popularity.
Salmon is not only delicious, but it’s also a superfood that’s very good for us! Just to name few health benefits of salmon:
- it’s a great source of protein
- it contains Omega-3 fatty acids to help protect the health of our hearts
- it’s packed with B Vitamins.
- it’s KETO-friendly and LOW CARB! Actually, this entire recipe is great for those following the KETO principles of eating.
INGREDIENTS You’ll Need for Tuscan Salmon in Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce:
Salmon is the star of the show in this easy, fast, and delicious skillet recipe. Filets of fresh salmon are seared until a golden-orange color develops and then coated in the creamiest, dreamiest sun-dried tomato sauce. Are you ready to get cooking?
So go check out what you have in your pantry and then let’s go shopping for what you need of the following:
- Salmon fillets: Four 8 oz. skinless salmon fillets.
- Olive oil: A ‘no-brainer’ for preparing healthier Mediterranean recipes. Tuscany is located in the northern region of Italy where cooks use butter in recipes. My family is from Northern Italy (in Modena, Emilia-Romagna) and we cook with a combination of butter with olive oil. It just adds more richness and flavor to every dish! Butter also helps prevent the olive oil from burning, since it tends to do if the heat is too high. You don’t want either burnt olive oil or butter so that when you sauté the aromatics, their flavors won’t be bitter with a burnt taste.
- Garlic: Use 4 – 5 garlic cloves depending on how strong you want the garlic flavor to be, being careful on how large the cloves are. Remember too much garlic can ruin a recipe.
- Sun-dried tomatoes: I recommend purchasing freeze-dried imported sun-dried tomatoes. You can always use those that are oil-packed in a jar, but they’re messy to work with. The freeze-dried variety has a more intense, bold, and fresh flavor than the jarred variety.
- Italian pancetta: The gift from the Italian food gods! This is my favorite flavor ingredient . . . I can’t describe what adding pancetta does to savory recipes!
- Spinach: Tuscans, especially Florentines (from Florence) are known for using spinach in recipes. And since this is a Tuscan recipe, add this fresh veggie. Plus it adds such great color!
- Chicken broth: This is used to add more flavor than if you used water. If at all possible, use homemade chicken broth. That’s all I use because the boxed or canned variety contains far too much salt. But if you don’t have homemade chicken broth, then purchase low-sodium broth. You’ll get a pop of saltiness from the pancetta.
- Heavy cream: Not only is cream necessary for a great Northern Italian sauce, Italians also use it for tenderizing meats and fish. It’s delicious and functional!
- Parmigiana Reggiano Cheese: Preferably imported from Italy. Never use the pre-grated stuff from the ‘green container’ that’s usually old and has less flavor. Grind or grate fresh Parm for the absolute best flavor. You won’t regret it!
- Seasonings: I always season my savory recipes with Nature’s Seasons, Mrs. Dash Salt-Free Original Seasons, or for this recipe I use McCormick’s Tuscan Herb Seasoning (a blend of rosemary, sun-dried tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and garlic). A sprinkle of garlic powder is also used in this recipe. Crack some fresh black pepper on the top or pass it around at the table. I do not salt this dish due to the salt in the pancetta. My family is very anti-salt for a healthier diet, but that’s just our preference. Finally, I love sprinkling paprika on top for an added splash of color.
- Herbs: I either use fresh herbs from my garden when they are in season or from a good grocery store, but if I don’t have any fresh herbs, I use dried basil and oregano. As listed above, McCormick’s Tuscan Blend is very good too.
HOW TO MAKE Tuscan Salmon in Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce
OK, so you’ve got your ingredients! Let’s get cooking, shall we?
- First, pat dry the salmon filets.
- Season filets on both sides. Gently pat the seasonings onto the salmon filets so that they stick to the flesh better.
- Set the stove heat on high and get a large frying pan super hot, but not to the point of ‘smoking’.
- Add the olive oil to the hot pan.
- Place the salmon in the pan to sear it in the scorching hot pan — this is crucial to get a beautiful charred surface on the salmon. Now turn the heat down to medium-high and sear for 3 minutes on each side just until light pink-white in the center. (TIP: When the salmon is no longer bright pink and begins to turn to a white pinkish color . . . that’s the point when you turn the filets over to the other side to sear). Once the salmon has a beautiful light orange-brown color on the surface of both sides, remove it from the pan and set it aside on a plate. Keep any remaining oil in the pan.
- Reduce the heat to low and add the butter to the oil and melt.
- Add the garlic and pancetta and sauté for 1 minute and when a heavenly, fragrant aroma develops.
- Add the sun-dried tomatoes and sauté for another minute or two.
- Add the cream, chicken broth, herbs, and seasonings.
- When this is hot, add the Parmigiana cheese. Simmer until the cheese is melted and the sauce is thickened (about 2 minutes), stirring occasionally. If the sauce is too thick, add a little more broth or cream.
- Add the spinach and cook until it is wilted.
- Add the salmon back to the pan and let it warm up again and soak up some of the amazing sauce, for about 5 minutes or so.
- Plate the salmon and generously pour the sauce on top. Garnish with minced parsley and paprika for a pretty pop of color and fresh flavor.
- Enjoy! ❤️
- Select FRESH salmon directly from the seafood counter at the grocery store. If you have to, you can use frozen salmon, just make sure that it is wild-caught and completely thawed out when you begin cooking this recipe.
- Look for wild-caught salmon (preferably Alaskan) which includes king, coho, and sockeye salmon. King salmon is the richest tasting. Avoid farm-raised Atlantic salmon.
- Select salmon filets that are skinless and about the same size (6 – 8 oz. each) to achieve even cooking among the salmon. You can also buy one whole wild Alaskan salmon that you can slice into filets yourself.
- Don’t wait to cook salmon — It spoils quickly in the raw stage, so use it within 1 day of purchase.
- Bring salmon to room temperature (up to 20 minutes) before cooking to allow the salmon to cook more evenly.
- Use a large frying pan that holds all of the salmon filets at one time so you can serve them all at once.
- Make sure that the pan is piping hot before adding the salmon to achieve a beautiful sear.
- Use freshly-grated Parmesan for flavor that is beyond compare to the pre-shredded cheese. Imported Parmigiana is superior to domestic cheese.
- Scrape golden bits from the bottom of the pan while sautéing the salmon.
- Flip the salmon only once in order to give plenty of undisturbed time to properly sear it on both sides.
- Don’t overcook salmon which causes it to be very dry, hard, and less flavorful.
- Reduce the stove burner heat if the salmon browns too fast while searing.
- If the sauce is too thick, add a bit more chicken broth or cream, a little at a time, until you reach your desired consistency.
HOW TO PREPARE TUSCAN SALMON AHEAD OF TIME
Up to one day in advance:
- Prepare the aromatics: Dice the pancetta, mince the garlic, chop the sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, and Italian parsley and store them in covered containers in the refrigerator.
- Grate the fresh Parmesan and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
HOW TO STORE AND REHEAT TUSCAN SALMON LEFTOVERS
Leftovers for salmon will last up to 3 days in the fridge if stored in an airtight container. Although the results of freezing cream are not always desirable, this salmon can be frozen for up to 1 month in an airtight container. Make sure that you mark the date on the container so that you know when to re-heat it again.
To reheat, I recommend using either a mini countertop oven or a regular oven because microwave ovens change the texture of proteins to a rubbery-tough consistency and that’s just not good. If you have to though, program your microwave on ‘low’ or ‘reheat’. As you check on the ‘doneness’ of the salmon while it is reheating, add more cream and/or chicken broth if the sauce is too thick from being refrigerated.
WHAT ARE GOOD SIDE DISHES TO SERVE WITH TUSCAN SALMON?
Just like any entree, this Tuscan Salmon can be served with whatever side dish you prefer. Here are a few options:
- Green leafy lettuce salads
- Green vegetables: Broccoli, peas, asparagus,
- Carrots, cauliflower
- Mashed potatoes
- Fresh fruit
Whatever side dish you choose, make sure that you serve some crusty bread or rolls to sop up the sauce!
OTHER WAYS TO ENJOY TUSCAN SALMON
This recipe is so versatile. You can add more or less of any of the ingredients or exchange for any of the following. As long as you have that mouthwatering, to-die-for cream sauce, you’re good to go:
- Use a different protein such as chicken breasts or pork chops. My husband said that the sauce alone could be drizzled onto a filet mignon just like a bernaise sauce. Great idea!
- Add other veggies such as artichoke hearts, mushrooms, asparagus, and/or cherry tomatoes.
- Use different cheeses such as Fontina, Gruyere, Mozzarella, Gouda, or a blend of good cheese.
- Add a bit of lemon juice to the cream sauce, no more than a teaspoon at first. Then taste to see if you’d like to add more.
- Change some of the herbs. Try rosemary or basil.
USEFUL KITCHEN TOOLS FOR MAKING TUSCAN SALMON
- X-Large Wooden Cutting Board: Always use a cutting board and one that is wooden. It’s so kind on your sharpened knives and cutlery. And DO get a large size so you can do all of your prepping on one board. You can also take all of the scraps on the board to the trash or compost bin
- Non-Stick Frying Pan / Skillet – I don’t know what I’d do without a non-stick pan!
- Fish Spatula: This kitchen tool is essential for me whenever I prepare any fish recipe. You’ll LOVE this trusty gadget because your fish doesn’t fall apart when you flip it over. Plus, it’s by Sabatier, one of the first culinary brands that I’ve been loyal to since 1978! That’s a long time to love a brand!
- Garlic press: I could never do without a garlic press in my Italian cucina. Always buy the best garlic press because you will use this so much and cheapies just fall apart! Oh, and did I tell you that this is super easy to clean too? YUP!! Be still my heart!
- Good Knives: You DO NEED a darn good chef’s knife in your kitchen, my friends. Hands down, a must-have! As a young cook, I dreamed of having the best cutlery someday. And now I can give my recommendations to others after using what I consider to be the best on the market after 45 years in my cucina: Wusthof. But I know how tight things can be at different stages and situations in our lives. So when you can swing the cost, just buy one knife at a time, and remember that they will last forever if you take care of them. If you can’t purchase a Wusthof knife right now, there are many less expensive knives that receive great reviews such as this Chef’s Knife with over 10,000 (that’s a lot!) sales on Amazon alone by Victorinox
More Fish Recipes That You Will Enjoy:
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PHOTO CREDIT: EATWELL101.COM
- 4 8-oz. salmon filets
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 3 Tbsp. butter
- 4 - 5 garlic cloves, minced
- ⅓ cup diced pancetta
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 1 ½ cups chopped fresh spinach
- ½ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
- ½ cup freshly-grated Parmigiana cheese
- 1 tsp. Tuscan Herb Blend spice mixture
- Salt and Pepper
- Mrs. Dash Salt-Free Original Flavor Seasoning
- GARNISH: Minced Italian parsley
- GARNISH: Ground paprika for garnish
For the Salmon:
- Sprinkle on both sides of the salmon fillets: freshly cracked black pepper, Mrs. Dash, and any other seasonings that you prefer on fish (See ingredients list).
- Set the stove burner heat to high and get a large frying pan super hot, but not to the point of smoking.
- Add olive oil and allow it to heat up.
- Add the salmon fillets to the skillet and cook for about 3 - 5 minutes. I turn the burner heat down at this point so the fish doesn't cook too fast. When the salmon is no longer a dark pink and becomes more of a white-pink, that's the time to flip the fish over. Then turn the salmon over and cook for another 3 - 5 minutes again until the salmon has a pink center.
- Remove the salmon fillets from the skillet and set them aside, leaving the olive oil and cooked salmon 'bits' in the pan.
For the Sauce:
- Turn the stovoe burner heat down to medium-low and add the butter to melt.
- Then add the garlic and pancetta to the frying pan/skillet to saute' for a few minutes (do not burn).
- Add the sun-dried tomatoes and saute for another minute or two.
- Next add the cream, chicken broth, herbs and seasonings and bring to a gentle bubbling stage.
- Add the Parmigiana cheese and simmer until melted and the sauce is thickened. If the sauce is too thick, add some more broth or cream, a little bit at a time.
- Add the spinach and cook until it has just started to wilt.
- Add the salmon fillets back into the pan and cook for a 3 - 5 more minutes until nice and warmed all the way through.
- Serve on individual plates, pour some sauce onto each salmon fillet,
- Garnish with paprika and minced Italian Parsley,
- SERVE and ENJOY!
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WÜSTHOF Classic 8 Inch Chef’s Knife,Black,8-Inch
XL Bamboo Cutting Board - Lifetime Replacement Wood Cutting Board - 18 x 12.5" - Organic Chopping Board for Meat and Vegetables - Extra Large Cutting Board Wood - Wooden Cutting Boards for Kitchen
Sabatier, Black Flex Turner, Triple Rivet Stainless Steel Angled Fish
Cuisinart 622-30G Chef's Classic Nonstick Hard-Anodized 12-Inch Skillet with Glass Cover, Black
Victorinox Fibrox Pro Knife, 8-Inch Chef's FFP, 8 Inch, Black
Serving Size:1 Salmon Fillet
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 775Total Fat: 57gSaturated Fat: 23gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 30gCholesterol: 230mgSodium: 785mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 54g
If you tried this recipe, I’d love to hear from you!
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