Pan-Roasted Salmon with Winter Fruit Salsa is a zesty, nutritious and quick recipe: seared salmon topped with a fresh pomegranate, cranberries and apple chopped salad. And it is ready in about 20 minutes, from prep to table! Quick supper, or even an easy festive main dish.
I know that many of you will be gearing up towards Thanksgiving Day. Or maybe you’ve already got your packed planner zeroed in on Christmas or Hanukkah. Menus are planned; the kids have made decorations; everyone’s dietary needs are accounted for. You are perhaps exhausted just thinking about the festive days ahead.
In the lead up to any food-focused holiday we can get so wrapped up in the prep – the running around, the lists, the phone calls and ordering – that we neglect ourselves a bit.
Does that ring true for you?
I’m not a lifestyle blogger. I don’t have soothing words or sage advice. My quotes game is most definitely not on point. For someone who, as a cancer health educator, dispenses advice for a living, I kind of shy away from a bigger platform to offer it. I prefer my advice to be bespoke. I need to know how to tailor it. To see the reaction in your eyes and body to know how to shape the next thought. So, you won’t get lifestyle or personal advice from me.
I do have food though. And I wish I could make that food for you. Coming over and watching you sink into your sofa while I potter away in your kitchen (kitchen elves on standby to tidy the mess) would be lovely for me, too. I get, “Kellie, can you just come and live with me?” quite a lot. Not because the meal I serve them at one of my Healthy Eating with Cancer workshops is especially amazing. I think rather that looking after yourself and others can be tiring. Very tiring. And it’s so nice to have a meal that is simple, nourishing and just makes you feel good.
But the next best thing to making your food, perhaps, is an unbelievably easy recipe. One that nourishes body and mind, and tastes fabulous. This Pan-Roasted Salmon with Winter Fruit Salsa is just that. And it is ready in about 20 minutes, too.
It is based on a simple but really excellent side dish idea that I got from my best friend, luxury neckware designer, Niki Fulton. It’s so easy that on first read it might not have much of an impact. But I want you to try it and see why I am so excited by this crunchy, zesty, flavour-packed idea of a recipe. I’ve blogged about it twice as a super side dish and relish idea (some images from these posts included here) before. This is a main dish version.
What’s in this Pan-Roasted Salmon and Winter Fruit Salsa?
A pomegranate – the seeds/arils from a small one, or save seeds from a larger one for nibbling on or tossing onto a warm salad (see this Instagram post for where you can sprinkle them)
An apple or pear – either is good
Fresh cranberries – we are keeping these raw. Yes, raw. Don’t be scared
Parsley – pop of colour and nice herbal taste
A shallot – it’s bringing the fire and bite
Pomegranate molasses – depth and flavour in spades
Clementine – sweet juice and citrus pop
Apple cider vinegar – more pop, and balance for the fatty fish
Dates – to add sweetness if you wish
Pepper and salt
Extra virgin olive oil
4 best-quality/provenance salmon fillets or small side of salmon
Notice that although I call this a salsa, there is no heat. You can add heat, but I like to keep the tastes as they are, not competing with fiery influence. Also, the cardamom, coriander, pepper and salt are for the fish. But if you don’t have cardamom, just season the fish with salt and pepper. The cardamom is, however, really delicious here, but subtle. And totally unexpected.
How to pan-roast salmon fillets
I won’t go into the whole recipe method as it is really easy. If you can make a salad and fry fish, you are good to go. My only advice is to account for how thick or thin your salmon fillets are.
In the recipe card below I give instructions for fillets that are about 150 grams in weight and four centimetres thick. To cook and get a crispy skin, I heat the oil over a medium flame and add the fillets skin-side down, letting them sizzle moderately (no high heat, please) for up to five minutes. Then I carefully flip to cook for a further two to three minutes.
Your fillets may need more or less time. For much thicker fillets (I’ve had some really lovely fat ones from Waitrose), consider searing in the pan then popping in a hot oven for five-six minutes. We like our salmon “just cooked” (about 5 minutes total cooking time), so I pull the fish out immediately I see, from looking at the sides, that the fish is uniformly opaque. If you want further advice on cooking fish, check this article from Spruce Eats (but knowing that in the UK at least that we get sides and half sides of salmon – more economical than individual filets).
And thinking about it, if you aren’t doing a turkey, or there is room for another easy, nutritious main dish, this might be a welcome addition to your festive menu. A larger side of salmon can be poached or oven-cooked the day ahead, with a doubled recipe of salsa coming together hours ahead on the day of serving.
Can I do a veggie version of Pan-Roasted Salmon with Winter Fruit Salsa?
Of course! Almost all of my non-vegetarian recipes will have a suitable alternative given. For this one, why not consider griddling or baking planks of both firm organic tofu and halloumi to pile in a messy haystack, covering in the complementing salsa? If you are vegan obviously make it all tofu, maybe adding a favourite vegan cheese. Whatever protein you use, adding a bit of seasoning to it is key to a balanced-in-flavour dish. And drizzle liberally with pomegranate syrup (pomegranate molasses), too.
More Festive Food Links
Chocolate Walnut Pie (blurry images – sorry!)
Chocolate Chestnut Truffle Cake (super easy and gluten-free)
Christmas Mince Slab Pie (vegetarian sweet)
So, what do you think? Will you make this with best-quality salmon, or will you opt for my vegetarian or vegan alternative? And, what do you think of this as a main dish for your festive table? Either way, this is really gorgeous with my recent Celeriac Parmentier.
Let me know in the comments below if you like this simple recipe. If you make it, consider rating it by clicking on the appropriate number of stars underneath the thumbnail image below. These ratings really help others to find the recipe. Thanks 🙂
Pan-Roasted Salmon with Winter Fruit Salsa
A fresh, zingy and quick recipe for seared salmon topped with a winter fruit salsa of pomegranate, cranberries and apple.
Winter Fruit Salsa
- 150 g fresh cranberries rinsed
- 1 shallot peeled and chopped
- 1 small pomegranate arils/seeds only
- 1 apple washed and chopped
- 1 clementine juice only
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar preferably "raw" and unfiltered
- 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses plus extra to drizzle on fish
- 4 raw dates stones removed and dates finely chopped
- handful of parsley chopped
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 skin-on salmon fillets organic or wild-caught
- salt just a little
- 1/8 tsp cardamom powder or crushed seeds from 2 pods
- 1/4 tsp coriander seeds crushed
- black pepper freshly ground
Winter Fruit Salsa
Add the cranberries to a small food processor and pulse until broken down a bit. Be careful or it will quickly go to an actual sauce. You want plenty of texture. Use a knife to chop, but they tend to scatter around too much for me to feel in control. Tip the pulsed cranberries into a bowl.
To the cranberries add the remaining salsa ingredients. Set aside for the flavours to meld while you cook the salmon.
Pat dry the salmon then season with salt and the pepper, cardamom and coriander. Sprinkle a little salt on the skin too, as this helps crisp it up.
Heat the oil in a wide frying pan over a medium flame. Add the salmon skin-side down and let cook, without moving it, for up to five minutes. Use a thin fish slice/spatula to turn the fillets over and continue to cook for a further two to three minutes, or until they are done to your liking. I am assuming a fillet thickness of 4 cm. If your fish is fatter, of course add more time. Or sear quickly on both side and pop in a hot over for five minutes. I do both, depending on the thickness of the fillets.
Serve the fish with a good couple of spoons of the winter fruit salsa and a drizzle of extra pomegranate molasses if you wish. This is really lovely with my Celeriac Parmentier.
For a vegetarian or vegan version: griddle-cook planks of firm organic tofu and halloumi cheese and "haystack" on each plate, topping with the salsa. For vegans, use all tofu (seasoning as directed) or tofu and favourite vegan cheese.
Get ahead: The salsa can be made earlier in the day, while the salmon can be pan-roasted, oven-baked or steamed and eaten cold or briefly re-warmed once.
Go large! For a crowd, consider getting a side of salmon and wrapping in parchment parcel or foil and roast bake in a 200C/400F oven on a baking tray for 15 minutes, depending on the thickness. Double, triple etc the winter fruit salsa to go with it.
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