Pan Seared Salmon with Horseradish Sauce

Salmon and I have a complicated relationship. Love and hate, I guess. I’ve always been a huge fan of smoked salmon, salmon rolls, and salmon sashimi. And when I was in high school I had a love affair with the weirdest salmon fillet sandwich at Amphora in Vienna, Virginia. My friend Kristin and I would pretty much go on date nights to Amphora just to get this sandwich. Why did we like it so much? What was on the sandwich other than salmon!? I don’t remember and I don’t think this sandwich is on the menu anymore – probably because we were the only two individuals to ever order it.

We often had salmon at home too while I was growing up. My dad would make a batch of Emeril’s creole remoulade to go with it and I enjoyed the dish for quite some time. But then, for whatever reason, I began to grow weary of salmon. I suppose I just overdid it. All of a sudden I was eating more remoulade than salmon and then it was just spoonfuls of remoulade, no salmon.

For at least the past 2-3 years I have simply said NO to salmon fillets. I even took fish oil supplements for an extended period of time so I didn’t feel guilty about avoiding this special, super healthy, anadromous species. Big fillets of salmon just seem so lame and bland to me. Boring. Ugh.

But there’s those things called spouses. The husband has been pushing me to cook more fish for quite some time now and I can only ignore him for so long. He even made me watch the Good Eats episode “Gills Gone Wild” as support for his cause. “Happy Wife, Happy Life” works both ways, so, salmon it is. Every once in a while.

At least with this horseradish sauce I can pretend the salmon is a rib-eye. But really, this horseradish sauce is the jam. It made this salmon enjoyable. Really. I recommend you make a batch and then just put it on everything for the next few days – crudité, sandwiches, EVERYTHING.

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Grocery List

Serves 2

12 oz. wild salmon fillet, skin on, rinsed and patted dry

2 tablespoons shallot, finely minced

2 tablespoons capers, drained

1 – 2 tablespoon prepared horseradish (the amount really depends on your preference)

6 oz. plain Greek yogurt

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

Parsley and chives for garnish

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

Half of a lemon, quartered for each serving (optional)

How To

For the sauce

Combine the yogurt, shallot, capers, horseradish, and red wine vinegar in a bowl. Whisk until combined. Add kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Place in the fridge and let the flavors meld for at least a half hour.

For the salmon

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Season both sides of the salmon fillet with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place the salmon, skin side down, in the sauté pan and cook until the skin is crisp and browned – roughly 3 to 4 minutes. Then, flip salmon and cook to desired doneness. I usually cook it for about 4 minutes more (2 – 3 minutes would be medium-rare).

For Serving

Halve and plate the salmon, top each half with a dollop of the horseradish sauce, and garnish with parsley and/or chives. And if you’re like me, you’ll also add a splash of lemon juice on top of it all. Suggested sides to serve with this salmon are roasted asparagus and farro.

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