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Garlic Basil Salmon

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Pan Seared Garlic Basil Salmon

This fish is best served with brown rice, wild rice blend or barley and a fancy green salad with raspberry vinaigrette dressing or simply Italian dressing.
It is also very good hot or cold right on top of a Caesar salad.
This recipe talks about skinning the fillet but you can skip the skinning and peel it off later after the fish is cooked if you'd rather. I prefer any size of King Salmon or a larger size Coho Salmon for this recipe. Sockeye salmon or Steelhead is also good.
You don't want to use Chum salmon often marketed as
"Keta Salmon" and I have never used Pink Salmon or farmed salmon for this dish.


  • Salmon fillet, skinned, 2 to 3 lbs.
  • Olive oil, 1/3 to 1/2 cup.
  • Fresh basil, 2 or 3 tablespoons chopped.
  • Garlic, 2 to 4 cloves crushed or chopped fine.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or 1 tablespoon soy sauce

  1. Mix the olive oil, basil, garlic and salt in a bowl and let it sit at room temp.
  2. There are usually some short bones just above the lateral line and in the forward or thicker half of the fish that are left in the fillet. It is best to remove these with clean tweezers or needle nose pliers. I usually leave them in and pick out any bones when the fish is done but for a truly professional product removing the bones is standard. It is easier to pull out those bones after the fillet is skinned. Skinning a fillet is tricky business and may be done by the fish market if requested. If you do need to skin it yourself you need to hold the skin from the big end of the fillet with pliers or vice grips and saw away from yourself with the other hand angling just slightly towards the skin of the fish on a cutting board.
  3. Slice the fillet into 1/2 inch slices perfect for pan searing.
  4. Lay the salmon slices flat in a large plate or glass pan and cover with 3/4 of your olive oil mixture. You will use the remaining oil mixture to actually cook the fish in.
  5. Let the fish marinate in the refrigerator for less than 1 hour
  6. Sear the fish in a Teflon pan on med-high heat in olive oil mixture for about 2 minutes per side. The pan should be hot enough to brown and sear the salmon before it gets soft or mushy. Fish will be firm but flaky when done.
  7. These thin pieces of fish cool fast so try to have everything else nearly done when you start the Salmon so that it won't have to sit long before being served. (unless of course you want to serve it chilled with a salad

ABOUT COOKING SALMON

Growing up in Seattle Washington, one gets exposed to a lot of Salmon and seafood. I have a special advantage to experiment with different ways to cook Salmon because salmon fishing is one of my favorite pastimes and now salmon fishing charters is my profession.  As a guest on one of my Seattle Salmon fishing charters you will have the opportunity to bring home and cook more Salmon than perhaps ever before. I have learned to cook Salmon so many different ways. I have not had the chance to list them all on this website yet.
One of the most common ways in the Northwest is to simply wrap the Salmon in some foil with lemon, onions, butter, salt and pepper and place it on the grill. It may also be cooked with Cajun spices, Thai peanut sauce, Teriyaki, Blackened or whatever the imagination desires. Seafood rubs such as
Tom Douglas' "Love Rubs" or McCormick's Grill Mates provide excellent pre-made spice mixes for "rub and go" seafood preparation. Exposing a simply salted Salmon fillet to smoke such as Alder or Cherry wood smoke is a classic way to prepare Salmon that everyone likes. I have even done it on a propane grill many times. I buy Alder chips at the hardware store or tackle store, soak them in water and with the grill on low place them on the heat shield or in a metal smoking box I bought at Home Depot. I place Salmon skin side down on the grill and check often that the chips don't catch fire. Keep a spray bottle handy and spray the chips once in a while so they don't dry out and catch fire. Smoking the Salmon might take 20 minutes to 40 minutes or more. It just depends on how cool you can keep the smoke.

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