Minced anchovies and garlic add a complex salinity to seared salmon, enriching and deepening its flavor. To get the most out of them, the anchovies and garlic are mashed into softened butter, which is used in two ways: as a cooking medium and as a sauce. Used to cook the salmon, the butter browns and the anchovies and garlic caramelize, turning sweet. When stirred into the pan sauce, the raw garlic and anchovies give an intense bite that’s mitigated by the creaminess of the butter. It’s a quickly made, weeknight-friendly dish that’s far more nuanced than the usual seared salmon — but no harder to prepare.
This recipe was reprinted with permission from NYT Cooking.
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 4 anchovy fillets, minced
- 1 fat garlic clove, minced (or 2 small ones)
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 (6- to 8-ounce) skin-on salmon fillets
- 2 tablespoons drained capers, patted dry
- 1/2 lemon
- Fresh chopped parsley, for serving
Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, mash together butter, anchovies, garlic, salt and pepper.
In a large ovenproof skillet, melt about half the anchovy butter. Add fish, skin side down. Cook for 3 minutes over high heat to brown the skin, spooning some pan drippings over the top of the fish as it cooks. Add capers to bottom of pan and transfer to oven. Roast until fish is just cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes.
Remove pan from oven and add remaining anchovy butter to pan to melt. Place salmon on plates and spoon buttery pan sauce over the top. Squeeze the lemon half over the salmon and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve.