Pan-Seared Salmon with Maple Glaze and Pistachios

This healthy, pan-seared, crispy-yet-tender salmon is your perfect 30 minute quick-fix restaurant meal at home. The maple glaze is crazy you guys. Also, pistachios!!

Pan-Seared Salmon with Maple Glaze and Pistachios from The Food Charlatan

Years ago I got a text from my best friend Sarah about a recipe she had fallen in love with for Ahi Tuna. She raved about it so much that somehow it got lodged in my long-term memory.

Fast forward to last year when I went to visit her in Texas. She meticulously planned out our menu  of course, because what is there to do in a sleepy border town in Texas besides eat like kings. She asked if I had any requests and I said YES, I want to try that Ahi Tuna that you told me about once upon a time. I had never had Ahi Tuna, but if Sarah freaked out about it via text with 11 exclamation points, it had to be good.

Pan-Seared Salmon with Maple Glaze and Pistachios from The Food Charlatan

Pan-Seared Salmon with Maple Glaze and Pistachios from The Food Charlatan

So when I saw the tuna in the fridge, I thought, whoa, 27 dollars. That’s a lot of cash for one tuna. (I’m new to expensive seafood, okay. I grew up on chicken and ground beef.)

Pan-Seared Salmon with Maple Glaze and Pistachios from The Food Charlatan

Later she was instructing her husband on how to cook it on the grill. “Just cook it long enough to kill the bacteria, about 30 seconds per side.” And I started to get a little nervous.

They brought it in and sliced it. And it was red on the inside. Completely red.

When it was time to eat I put a few slices on my plate. I choked a few bites down. Then when no one was looking I stuck it in the microwave until it wasn’t red anymore.

That’s right. I MICROWAVED a 27 dollar piece of tuna.

Pan-Seared Salmon with Maple Glaze and Pistachios from The Food Charlatan

I don’t think the foodie in me has ever been more ashamed. (I feel like now is a good time for my sushi-hatred admission. Every time I stuff a too-big-roll in my mouth my brain starts screaming at me, THIS COULD HAVE BEEN PIZZA.)

But that’s not what my brain says when I stuff this Maple Salmon in my mouth. The reason I told the Ahi Tuna story is because I’m SO proud to report that this salmon is seared on the outside and kind of not so much cooked on the inside. AND IT’S AMAZING.

Pan-Seared Salmon with Maple Glaze and Pistachios from The Food Charlatan

You sear it over high heat for 1-2 minutes, flip, and then turn the heat off. It gives you the most tender, deliciously moist salmon you ever did see. As I was researching this recipe I read that salmon is NOT supposed to flake. If you fork it and it flakes then it’s overcooked. Who knew? I’ve been flaking for years.

I served this with polenta, which was an awesome choice if I do say so myself!

Pan-Seared Salmon with Maple Glaze and Pistachios

Yield: Serves 4

Recipe by The Food Charlatan


  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (about half a lemon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
  • dash crushed red pepper (up to 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • flour
  • 2 pounds fresh salmon filets, skin on
  • chopped pistachios, to garnish


  1. In a small saucepan, combine maple syrup, lemon juice, ginger, crushed red pepper, soy sauce, lemon zest, and corn syrup. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until it just starts to boil and thicken, then turn off the burner.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Pat salmon filets dry and sprinkle the skin side with salt and pepper. Dust each filet with about a half teaspoon flour. Drizzle each with about 1-2 teaspoons of the sauce in the pot.
  3. Place salmon filets skin side down in the hot skillet. (Don't crowd the pan, you don't want them to steam. Do it in batches if you don't have room.)
  4. Cook over high heat for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, or until there is a nice sear on the bottom. Sprinkle the top with salt and pepper, flour, and another drizzle of sauce, then flip. Cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute and then turn off the heat. Let sit in the pan for another couple minutes.
  5. Serve with the maple glaze. There may be extra glaze, it's great drizzled over vegetables!

Salmon for daaaays:

Honey Salmon with Browned Butter Lime Sauce <<this is a family fav!

Honey Salmon with Browned Butter Lime Sauce from


Caramelized Salmon << 4 ingredients. Unreal.

Caramelized Salmon from


Almond Crusted Honey Dijon Tilapia:

Almond-Crusted Honey Dijon Tilapia from The Food Charlatan

More skillet salmon!

Pan-Seared Salmon with Dill Butter from Tastes Lovely
Honey Garlic Salmon from The Cooking Jar
Cast Iron Skillet Seared Salmon from Foodness Gracious





  1. Paige says

    I want to yell at you for microwaving that tuna…. but I won’t since you’re sharing this amazing-looking recipe. ;-) I will have to try!

  2. says

    I’m not into raw seafood either, Karen. Funny enough, sushi is all the rage here in California but I can only eat shrimp tempura rolls :p I think it’s just what you’re accustomed to. I never grew up eating raw seafood so I haven’t acquired a taste for it. I will say though that I once had ahi tuna chips that were AMAZING. Totally not fishy, and I think the chips really helped balance it out. I couldn’t stop eating them. That said, my own cooking repertoire usually contains cooked fish…like this delicious pan-seared salmon!!! Wow! Look at that glaze….this looks so glorious. No one would be microwaving this! ;)

  3. says

    Oh my. Microwaving Ahi.. This salmon dish makes up for it though! And wow..I always flake my salmon. I remembering following a salmon recipe from a top chef once, I cooked it as long as it said to, and I thought it was undercooked! So I ended up cooking it twice as long, until it flaked! Oh the shame! If only I had known.
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  4. Kris says

    Ok, Karen, this is the deal: a friend from church and her family went on an Alaska fishing trip and brought home 450 lbs (yes, you read that right) of salmon and several other variaties of fish they caught! She brought me over a beautiful piece of salmon. Now I must decide: This recipe you just posted, which looks amazingly delicious, or the all time famous and favorite Honey Salmon with Browned Butter Lime Sauce? I can’t decided. Please help!!

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