This Seared Paprika Salmon with Cranberry Chutney is a show-stopping seafood centerpiece. Both the salmon and chutney are ready, start-to-finish, in about 15 minutes.
I had a spicy Aha! moment recently. A ‘where have you been all my life?’ pepper revelation. About what? Paprika. Specifically, Spanish smoked paprika. If you’ve only used regular paprika– listen up! Stop what you’re doing, and go get some smoked paprika. Seriously, it’s that delicious. It’s like a little bit of ground-up heaven to sprinkle over your food. If you love chipotle peppers, and haven’t been using smoked paprika– your mind will be blown. (Or at least– mine was!) This smoky, woodsy spice has less heat than chipotle, but all the flavor, which means you can use as much as your little heart desires.
At the moment, my favorite way to use smoked paprika is to sprinkle it all over salmon, sear the fish, and cover it with cranberry chutney. In other words, I take three of my favorite things and throw them together in a pan. And it’s magical. This Seared Paprika Salmon with Cranberry Chutney is flavorful, gorgeous, and fast– making it perfect for both a dinner party centerpiece and for a quickly thrown-together weeknight meal.
To make this deliciously flavored seafood dinner, you need to get some Spanish smoked paprika, also known as pimentón de la Vera. You can probably find Smoked Paprika in the spice aisle at your grocery store. If you don’t find it at one of your normal food stops, you can find it online, at Whole Foods, or in spice shops. Next, get some salmon (skin on), cranberries, and a little orange juice.
Making Seared Paprika Salmon with Cranberry Chutney
Start by letting your salmon get to room temperature. (This should take about 20 minutes.) If you don’t have time for that, at least get it out of the fridge as soon as you start making the chutney. Next, heat cranberries, a little orange juice, and a little smoked paprika until the berries begin to burst. I do this in a covered dish in the microwave for about two minutes, but you can do it on the stovetop too. Set the berries aside.
Dry off your salmon, dust it with paprika, and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Next, heat butter in a pan on medium-high heat. Once the butter melts, but before it browns, add the salmon, skin-side down. The next part is important– Don’t Touch the Salmon! Don’t nudge it, don’t scoot it around, don’t prod it. Just let it cook. As your salmon cooks, the skin will turn into a crispy, delicious crust, and the translucent pink flesh will begin to lighten and turn opaque from the bottom up. When about 3/4 of the fish has cooked, flip it. If you want to set a timer– plan on it taking about 4 minutes per 1/2 inch thickness. Once you’ve flipped it, set a timer for one minute. When the minute is up– take the fish out of the pan, and cover it to keep it warm.
Finally, lower the heat to medium. Add the cranberry mixture, and let it simmer for a couple of minutes to boil off any extra liquid. Serve the salmon and cranberries together, and enjoy!
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.
Love pan-seared seafood? Try this:
Seared Paprika Salmon with Cranberry Chutney
Winter Seafood Dinner for Date Night
- 1 lb salmon, skin on
- 1 TB smoked paprika, plus 1 tsp
- pinch salt, pepper
- 1 TB butter
- 1 cup cranberries
- 1/2 cup orange juice
Heat cranberries, orange juice, and 1 tsp smoked paprika in a covered pot until berries begin to burst (or microwave covered for 2 minutes). Set aside.
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. Pour cranberries into the hot pan, and stir. Scrape up any bits of fish stuck to the pan, and stir them into the sauce. Stir sauce for 1-2 minutes, allowing excess juice to burn off.
Serve salmon immediately with cranberry chutney.
*Calorie Information was calculated per serving using My Fitness Pal.