Pan-Seared Pistachio Herb Salmon

Fresh, heart-healthy salmon filets, pan-seared and finished with the most delicious crunchy topping of pistachios, basil, and mint. You’ll be scraping the pan for every last spoonful! And, like all the best meals, this is lovely for entertaining, yet easy and fast enough to make on a weeknight.

Next try this reader favorite, mustard-crusted Panko salmon.

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Three salmon filets topped with a pistachio herb mixture in the cast-iron pan in which they were seared.

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Something you might not know about living in Europe, unless, I don’t know, maybe you do, is that there is very little residential air conditioning. For the most part, I really like this. On the rare occasions when I visit an office or store that’s kept very cold, I find it off-putting and shudder to remember that everywhere is going to be like that when we move back to the US. 

An exception to enjoying this lack of AC, however, would be the occasions when it’s sweltering and, for whatever reason, I had in mind making a recipe that requires pumping up the oven up to 400 degrees. (F, that is. Roughly 200 C!)

This, practical though it may be, is what spurred my early efforts to adapt this recipe from Christina, who blogs at The Whole Cook. If you haven’t read her blog yet, go do it now! She has an outstanding collection of recipes that manage to be both healthy – including lots of Whole30-compliant and dairy-free options – and absolutely mouth-watering at the same time. No small feat! 

So let’s summarize all that there is to love here. Salmon, every busy cook’s best friend. The MOST DELICIOUS EVER crust of finely-chopped pistachios, lemon juice, and herbs. And, well, that’s it! That’s literally all you need to make a restaurant-quality meal in less than half an hour.

Have a good stare at that topping. Doesn’t it look so bright and fresh and crunchy? And it’s so easy to put together. Chopped pistachios, basil, and mint. A drizzle of olive oil, lemon juice, and a sprinkle of salt. That’s it! You’ll want to put it on everything.

This, my friends, is weeknight dining done SO RIGHT. My husband, who is a very thankful recipient of my cooking all the time, but not always effusive in his descriptions, says it is “really gourmet,” and I think it is a great recipe for entertaining. It feels special; it can be our little secret that it only takes about 25 minutes and really just a few steps.

Close-up of pistachio herb salmon with a basil garnish.

Tips For Pan-Searing Salmon

You can, of course, bake the salmon, if you don’t mind turning on the oven, but if you want a change of pace or simply want to amp up the crusty, flaky effect, I highly recommend you give searing a try. If you haven’t pan-seared salmon before, here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Let the salmon rest at room temperature for a bit before you put it in the pan – 15 minutes or so is fine.
  • Be sure to pat the salmon dry before you start, to ensure a good crisp.
  • Use a really large pan! You’ll want plenty of room to flip each salmon filet without crowding or bumping the others.
  • Use only enough olive oil as is needed to coat the bottom of the pan; otherwise it WILL splatter everywhere.
  • In case there is some splatter anyway, wear an apron if you have one. Failing that, maybe at least have the foresight to change out of your favorite silk shirt that you wore to work that day. #speakingfromexperience
  • When it’s time to flip the filets, use a nice, big, sturdy spatula – metal if you have one. This basic one is on my list to buy, but it recently came to my attention that there is actually such a thing as a FISH spatula, and now I kind of want one!

Close-up of pistachio herb salmon being flaked with a fork.

What To Serve With Salmon

The beauty of salmon, this recipe but also most other ways of preparing it, too, is that it goes well with nearly anything! But a few of my favorites sides for this particular dish are:

If you try this salmon or any other recipe on the blog, please remember to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. I love hearing from you, and other readers will benefit from your experience!

Close-up of pistachio herb salmon with a basil garnish.

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Pan-Seared Pistachio Herb Salmon

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 3-4 servings

Fresh, heart-healthy salmon filets, pan-seared and finished with the most delicious crunchy topping of pistachios, basil, and mint. Lovely for entertaining, but easy and fast enough to make on a weeknight!

Ingredients

  • 3-4 fresh salmon filets, skin on (approximately 6 ounces each)
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for the pan
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • kosher salt
  • freshly-ground black pepper
  • extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. To prepare the topping, finely chop pistachios, basil, and mint. Combine in a small bowl with 2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and a few turns of freshly-ground black pepper; stir to blend.
  2. To sear the salmon, set a large cast-iron or stainless skillet over medium-high heat. Using a paper towel or clean dishcloth, pat the salmon dry, then season each filet with a light sprinkle of kosher salt. When the skillet is hot, add just enough olive oil to coat the bottom; allow the oil about 1 minute to warm up.
  3. Carefully place salmon filets in the skillet, skin-side down. Do not poke, prod, or touch them until they’re ready to flip! You will be able to see each filet change color, bottom to top, as it cooks. They’re ready to flip when cooked about 3/4 of the way to the top, likely 5-6 minutes, depending on the thickness. Using a large, sturdy spatula, and flipping away from you to avoid oil splatters, turn each filet to cook 2-3 minutes on the other side, just until cooked through and flaky.
  4. Remove salmon from skillet and let rest for 2-3 minutes on a paper-towel lined plate. Top each filet with generous spoonfuls of the pistachio-herb topping, and serve.

Notes

For best results, remove the salmon filets from the fridge 15-20 minutes before you start cooking; if they are very cold when they hit the hot skillet, they may cook unevenly and even shrink a bit.

If you prefer, you can also bake the salmon filets at 400 degrees F (200 C) for 15-20 minutes, just until cooked through and beginning to flake. Top as directed, and enjoy!

Adapted from The Whole Cook.

Courses main

Cuisine american

Before You Go…

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A great recipe for pan-seared salmon topped with the most delicious pistachio herb coating. Ready in less than 30 minutes! #salmon #pistachios #weeknightdinners

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    Mimi
    June 16, 2018 at 3:04 pm

    This is beautiful. I usually don’t mess with fish much, but if I do it’s salmon. This is a wonderful topping.

    • Reply
      Monica | Nourish and Fete
      June 19, 2018 at 11:20 pm

      Thanks so much, Mimi!

  • Reply
    Dana
    June 11, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    I am so in love with this recipe, Monica. Adding a crunch to flaky + silky salmon, with pistachios no less, is brilliant. I can’t wait to give this a go! Seems perfect for any season, too!

    • Reply
      Monica | Nourish and Fete
      June 19, 2018 at 11:24 pm

      Thank you, Dana! Yes, this is definitely going to be an all-season keeper in my house!

  • Reply
    Christine
    June 6, 2018 at 1:46 am

    That pistachio topping looks awesome! Thanks for the additional cooking tips as I rarely prepare salmon.

    • Reply
      Monica | Nourish and Fete
      June 19, 2018 at 11:25 pm

      Thank you, Christine, I hope they help!

  • Reply
    Lisa Huff
    June 6, 2018 at 12:21 am

    Love how easy this salmon looks to make! And OMG those pistachios, genius!

    • Reply
      Monica | Nourish and Fete
      June 19, 2018 at 11:25 pm

      Thank you, Lisa!

  • Reply
    Cindy Gordon
    June 6, 2018 at 12:13 am

    THIS is a perfect recipe for date night in! YUM

    • Reply
      Monica | Nourish and Fete
      June 19, 2018 at 11:26 pm

      Absolutely! Delicious and elegant but stress-free to make!

  • Reply
    Liz
    June 5, 2018 at 10:08 pm

    My husband loves salmon and this recipe looks easy enough that I could make it! This is definitely on our list!

    • Reply
      Monica | Nourish and Fete
      June 19, 2018 at 11:26 pm

      It really is simple – hope you enjoy it, Liz! 🙂

  • Reply
    Stephanie
    June 5, 2018 at 9:23 pm

    I’m loving the combination of pistachios and herbs used on this. Sounds yummy and so pretty to look at as well. Great for guests!

    • Reply
      Monica | Nourish and Fete
      June 19, 2018 at 11:27 pm

      Thanks so much, Stephanie!

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