This healthy seared salmon is simple to cook and easy to assemble, so it makes a great weeknight dinner. The salmon is served on a simple salad that is dressed with a grown-up take on honey-mustard, which I make with light-tasting agave instead of honey. The meal is also visually beautiful, which gives the impression that you put a lot more effort into it than you actually did!
Technique tips: Adjusting the heat to low or turning it off altogether when you flip the salmon from the skin side to the flesh side is crucial to getting a perfectly cooked piece of fish. Also, use a very sharp knife to cut the herbs to avoid bruising them.
Swap options: Any light protein, such as roast chicken, would work well with the salad.
Grown-up honey mustard
- 1/2 cup whole grain mustard
- 1/3 cup agave nectar
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons fresh tarragon leaves, finely sliced
- Four 6-ounce salmon filets
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 2 heads bibb lettuce
- 1/2 cup grown-up honey mustard (recipe above)
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced in rings
- 1 small watermelon radish, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 2 tablespoons sliced chives
For the grown-up honey mustard:
Place mustard, cider vinegar and agave nectar in a mixing bowl and whisk together. Slowly whisk in the olive oil, then stir in the tarragon. Set aside.
For the salmon:
1. Pat the salmon dry and season on both sides with salt and pepper.
2. In a sauté pan, over high heat, add the canola oil and heat until very hot and just smoking.
3. Carefully lay the salmon skin side down in the oil, positioning it so that any oil that splatters splashes away from you.
4. Lower the heat to medium-high and cook the salmon on the skin side until crisp, approximately 2-3 minutes.
5. Flip the salmon onto the flesh side and turn off the heat. Let the piece of fish sit in the hot oil for an additional 1-2 minutes for medium-rare. If you prefer your fish more well-done, instead of turning off the heat when you flip the fish onto the flesh side, lower the heat to low and continue to cook 1 minute more.
6. Take salmon out of the pan once it has reached the desired temperature and doneness and move to a plate.
For the salad:
1. Cut away the root from the lettuce and peel away the individual leaves. Wash them gently in cold water and lay them on paper towels to dry.
2. Arrange the leaves on a large platter, starting at the top and going clockwise to re-create a sprouting head of lettuce. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
3. Sprinkle the shaved red onion and the watermelon radish over the lettuce. Drizzle half of the dressing around the leaves and then top with the crumbled feta and chives.
4. Place the salmon skin-side up atop the salad, drizzle with additional dressing and serve.