This is one of the easiest recipes (yet still nutritious and delicious) I’ve made in a long time. Everything is cooked in a cast iron skillet in less than 30 minutes from start to finish (unless you take a very long time to cut the veggies). This would be a great week night meal.
I love my cast iron skillet (actually I have 3 – one big one and two individual sized), but it hasn’t always been that way. I’ve only been using cast iron for about 3-4 years. Cast iron has always intimidated me with the special cleaning (no soap to clean? I used to be convinced that since you didn’t wash it with soap, it contained bacteria) and getting it seasoned (it gets better over time) just perfectly.
This Cast Iron Skillet Salmon is so simple but truly showcases the flavor of the fish as well as being nutritionally dense. Salmon (preferably wild caught) is loaded with health benefits. It is a great source of protein, essential amino acids, vitamins A, D, B6 and E. It also has appreciable amounts of calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus and the two blockbuster omega 3s — DHA and EPA — that make us happy, smart and pain-free. Our bodies can’t make omega-3 fatty acids, so the best way to obtain them is through the food we eat. Salmon (along with sardines, mackerel, herring, halibut, black cod and Arctic char) is a sustainable source of omega-3 fish.
For this dish, I paired it with two healthy hitters ~ tomatoes and zucchini Both are known for their many health benefits. Tomatoes contain all four major carotenoids: alpha- and beta-carotene, luetin,, and lycopene. These carotenoids not only have individual benefits, they also interact to provide health benefits. Luetin help with free radical damage. Lycopene has be shown to slow the growth of prostate cancer.
Zucchini (also known as courgette) is very low in calorie with only 17 calories per 100 g. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol. Its peel is good source of dietary fiber that helps reduce constipation and offers some protection against colon cancers.
Zucchini is rich in antioxidants such as carotenes, lutein and zea-xanthin. It is also a good source of potassium which can help reduce blood pressure.
In addition to all of the health benefits, salmon, tomatoes and zucchini taste really good … really good!
- 2 fresh wild caught salmon fillets
- Kosher salt
- cracked black pepper
- 1½ Tablespoons high heat oil (either coconut or avocado oil
- 1 cup small tomatoes, halved (I used San Marzano plum tomatoes)
- 1 zucchini, cut into spears
- 2 Tablespoons fresh, chopped tarragon (or 2 teaspoons dried)
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- Maple-Thyme Vinaigrette:
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
- salt and pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Drizzle salmon with the avocado (or coconut) oil. Season with salt and black pepper.
- Heat large cast iron skillet enough to fit both pieces of salmon (or two individual pans) over a high heat for about 1 minute.
- Place 1 Tablespoon of avocado oil in the pan.
- Put salmon in pan skin side up and sear for about 1 minute. Using a spatula, carefully turn the salmon over onto the skin side.
- Add the tomatoes and zucchini around the fish and sprinkle with the chopped tarragon. Finally add the butter in two pieces to each side of the pan.
- Place the pan into the oven and roast for 7-8 minutes. You can usually tell it's ready by gently pressing the thickest part with a finger and it should feel slightly firm. It will keep cooking even after you take it out of the oven. It's always better to take to out early and not overcook it.
- Drizzle Maple-Thyme Vinaigrette and serve.
- NOTE: There will be leftover of the Maple-Thympe Vinaigrette which is wonderful to use on salads or other vegetables.
If you give this method for cast iron skillet salmon a try, please let me know how it turns out for you in the comments below.