This Seared Paprika Salmon with Rosemary Grapes is ready in about 10 minutes, and is perfect for weeknight dinners, date nights, or as the seafood centerpiece at a dinner party.
This past winter, I had a love affair with hot smoked paprika. Ever since, I’ve been sprinkling it on fish obsessively. So far, my favorite fish and paprika combination is salmon covered in the earthy red spice, and seared to perfection. This easy and delicious dinner is ‘fancy-schmancy’ enough for dinner parties or date night, but is so quick to prepare and addictively flavorful that I make it for weeknight dinners too! This Seared Paprika Salmon is heavily dusted with paprika, quickly seared, and then topped with a delicious grape chutney.
Choosing Quality Salmon (When you’re landlocked)
It’s no secret that I’m landlocked– I live in Central Appalachia (near the Kentucky Bourbon Trail), and fresh fish is normally not available. Some of you live near the ocean, have easy access to fresh fish, can probably talk to fishmongers, and are confident that you know where your fish came from. What about the rest of us?
Obviously, I eat a lot of fish even though I don’t live near the sea. That means, as you probably already guessed, that I’m almost always cooking fish that has, at some point, been frozen.* Fish that’s been frozen can be just as delicious as fresh fish. Don’t let being landlocked stop you from cooking fish! What should you look for? With salmon, I like to look for fish that doesn’t have artificial red coloring added, from a company that gives me as much information about the fish as possible (such as Orca Bay, Trader Joe’s, or Whole Foods).**
Making Seared Paprika Salmon with Rosemary Grapes
To make this easy seafood dinner, you need two salmon fillets, a little Spanish smoked paprika, a pinch of salt, some red grapes, a few sprigs of fresh rosemary, balsamic vinegar, and a little olive oil. Start by rubbing the fish with paprika and salt, and then sear it, skin-side down, until the fish has cooked about 3/4 of the way through. (You’ll be able to see the translucent flesh turn opaque as it cooks.) Next, flip the salmon over, and sear it for about 30 seconds.
Take the fish out of the pan, and cover it to keep it warm. Lower the heat to medium, add the grapes, rosemary and a little more oil, and let the grapes sear for a couple minutes. While they cook, smash them down and burst them a little to release the juices. Serve the salmon with the grapes, and dig in while it’s all still hot!
TIPS FOR SEARING FISH
- If possible, let the fish come to room temperature before searing. Remove fish from the fridge about 20 minutes before you need to cook it, or at the very least take it out of the fridge before you start prepping all your ingredients.
- Dry the fish thoroughly– wet fish will stick to the pan.
- If your fish sticks when you try to flip it, wait and let it cook a little longer.
- Add the fish, skin-side down, and then don’t touch the fish until it’s time to flip– nudging it in the pan will cause the fish to tear.
*Note: If you, dear reader, are landlocked too, and think you’re buying fresh fish at your local supermarket– ASK THEM, don’t assume it’s fresh. Fairly often, that fish has been frozen, and then thawed in their counter for an unspecified amount of time. I prefer to buy my fish while it’s still frozen, so that I know exactly how long it’s been thawed.
**A Note on Wild vs Farmed Salmon: The general consensus seems to be that Pacific Wild Salmon is a healthier fish than most (or any) farmed Atlantic Salmon, but that both are good choices to include in your diet. Some companies, however– such as Whole Foods— are making real efforts to make their farmed salmon as healthy as wild salmon.
Looking for a side dish to go with your salmon? Try this:
Seared Paprika Salmon with Rosemary Grapes
- 1 TB butter OR olive oil
- 2 salmon fillets, skin on (about 1 pound)
- 1 TB smoked paprika
- pinch salt, pepper
- 1 cup red grapes, washed and stems removed
- 2-3 sprigs rosemary, removed from stems
Pat salmon dry. Pat dry again. (Wet fish will not sear). Rub fish on both sides with paprika, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Heat butter in a stainless steel or cast iron pan over medium-high heat, until butter is hot but not browned.
Set salmon, skin side down, in hot pan. Sear, without touching or trying to move salmon, for approximately 4 minutes per 1/2 inch thickness. Salmon will begin to cook from the bottom up- turning from pale pink to a whiter, less translucent hue. Salmon is ready to flip when the fish has cooked approximately 3/4 of the way through.
Use thin metal spatula to flip salmon. If salmon sticks to the pan, allow it to cook another 30 seconds and try again until it's loosened.
Once salmon is flipped, sear it for about 1 minute. Remove salmon from pan, and cover it with a paper towel to keep it hot.
Turn heat down to medium. Add grapes and rosemary and allow them to sear for about 2 minutes. While grapes sear, smash them with the back of a spoon to release juices.
Serve salmon immediately with rosemary grapes.
*Calorie Information was calculated per serving using My Fitness Pal.