Crispy pan seared salmon with fried caper vinaigrette is a restaurant quality dish that comes together in minutes! The fried caper vinaigrette takes this dish to the next level!
You will be sure to impress even the toughest critics with this impressive but easy salmon dish. The caper vinaigrette is so flavourful and comes together quick and easy! For more salmon recipes check out my Grilled Salmon with Spice Rub and Roasted Salmon with Pickle Sauce.
Here's what you will need to make this recipe. See recipe card for quantities and below for substitutions.
- salmon filets
- high smoke point oil such as avocado or grapeseed
- fresh lemon juice
- extra virgin olive oil
- fresh dill
- Mix together the vinaigrette ingredients except the drained and dried capers and olive oil. Set aside while you make the salmon.
- Pat the salmon dry wit paper towels. This is very important to achieve crispy skin. Season both sides of the fillets with salt and pepper.
- Heat the oil in a skillet until it is shimmering but not smoking. Turn the heat down to medium-low.
- Add one filet at a time carefully pressing each fillet gently but firmly with a spatula for 10 seconds before adding the next fillet. Don't overcrowd the pan. Cook in batches if necessary. Cook on the skin side for approximately 5 minutes for one inch thick fillets. If the skin is starting to get too dark lower the heat a bit more.
- Carefully flip the fillets and cook for one more minute. Use a spatula and a fork to help flip them carefully. To take the guesswork out of knowing if they are done use a quick read thermometer and cook to 120 degrees F. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and let rest while making the vinaigrette.
- For the Vinaigrette heat the olive oil in a small pan over medium-high heat. Add the capers being careful as they might spatter. Fry until they are starting to reach a golden brown colour. Remove from heat and whisk hot olive oil and capers into the lemon juice mixture. Pour warm vinaigrette over salmon fillets and serve.
Salmon - You can use any firm fleshed fish fillets such as trout, halibut or cod.
Capers - Substitute pitted and chopped green olives or dill pickles for capers.
Fresh Dill - If fresh dill isn't available you can substitute with 2 teaspoon dried dill.
- I recommend a cast iron or a high-quality stainless steel skillet for recipes where you are looking for even heat and superior searing and crisping.
- Don't skip the step of pressing down each fillet before you add the next one. This prevents the skin from curling which helps with even crisping.
- If not using a thermometer to test for doneness, gently squeeze the fillets with your thumb and forefinger. The flesh should flake and open easily. The inside should still be a bit darker pink then the outside. Keep in mind the salmon will continue to cook once you take it off the heat.
Here are my favourite tools for preparing this recipe. These are affiliate links which means I receive a small commission when a purchase has been made. I never recommend products I don't use and love.
Store leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 2-3 days.
Leftover salmon is ideal flaked onto salads the next day. Or you can reheat in a pan over medium heat. Skin side down for a few minutes then flip and heat the other side for one minute or less.
What to serve it with
- CREAMY FENNEL AND CUCUMBER SALAD
- CRISPY KALE AND AVOCADO CAESAR SALAD
- BRUSSELS SPROUTS, BACON AND APPLE SLAW
- CORN SALAD WITH CREAMY DILL DRESSING
- SUMMER SUCCOTASH
- EASY TABBOULEH SALAD WITH QUINOA
Crispy Pan Seared Salmon With Fried Caper Vinaigrette
- 4 salmon fillets, skin on, 1 inch thick
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoon avocado or grapeseed oil
Fried Caper Vinaigrette
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup capers, drained. Pat dry with a paper towel
- ¼ cup lemon juice, fresh sqeezed
- 1 ½ teaspoon honey
- 1 ½ teaspoon finely grated garlic, approximately 2 small cloves
- 2 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
Fried Caper Vinaigrette
- Mix together lemon juice, honey, garlic and dill. Reserve olive oil and capers separately. Set everything aside while you prepare the salmon.
- Pat the salmon fillets very dry with paper towels. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
- Add 2 tbsp. of oil to skillet. Heat oil over high heat until shimmering. Turn heat down to medium-low. Add one fillet at a time, carefully pressing each fillet gently but firmly with a spatula for 10 seconds before adding the next fillet. Don't overcrowd the pan. Cook in batches if necessary. Continue cooking for approximately 5 minutes for one-inch-thick fillets, or until salmon looks pink almost all the way through. Keep an eye on the skin and lower the heat if it's getting too dark.
- Carefully flip the fillets using a spatula and a fork and cook flesh side down for one minute. Cook until quick read thermometer reads 120 degrees F. or until flesh looks still moist and bright pink inside. Check by separating the flesh with 2 forks or by squeezing the sides with your fingers to check for flakiness. Remember the salmon will continue cooking as it rests.
- Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to absorb any excess oil. Repeat with any remaining fillets. Let salmon rest while you finish the vinaigrette.
- In a small frying pan heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add drained capers, careful as they may spatter. Fry until turning lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Add the fried capers plus all the oil to the lemon juice mixture. Stir to combine.
- Pour vinaigrette over salmon fillets or serve on the side.
Pam. Nick says
Amazing! It was really hard to eat just enough as the flavors including capers and the dressing really paired well with the crispy salmon.
Joanne Schleen says
I made this last night for dinner. It was delicious!!!!
As always...delicious combination of flavours! You never disappoint Andrea!💖
Excellent Andrea, definitely restaurant quality!!!
Decided to try this recipe after watching the cooking episode with you and Gina. Turned out perfectly thanks to your tips of when to turn the salmon over. Flavors where great and restaurant quality. Followed the recipe exactly.
Lynne N Enzweiler says
I have never been a fan of capers, but everytime I have ever used them has been straight from the jar. My initial attraction to this recipe was the technique for cooking the salmon--I love salmon but my preparation is generally hit or miss with the crispy skin and doneness. I decided to prepare the recipe complete with the sauce; at least for this first time. It really was delicious. The salmon and its skin was perfect with the actual salmon not too rare, but definitely not overcooked and crispy skin that stayed crispy even surrounded by sauce. Cooking the capers was a game-changer. I am having leftovers for breakfast this morning.
I'm so happy you enjoyed it! It makes for a delicious breakfast as well! Enjoy!
Linda McDonnell says
Andrea, I must say I have never had salmon tasting soooo good. Thank you 🙂
Diane Huysmans says
Can’t wait to try this! Can I use rainbow trout?
Yes absolutely! The cooking time will likely be less as trout fillets are usually thinner. Using a quick read thermometer will ensure cooking it perfectly 👌 Enjoy!