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20 Minute Pan-Seared Salmon with Arugula Pesto

Serves Serves 4-6     adjust servings


  • 3 cups arugula, packed
  • top half of one bunch of green onions, roughly chopped*
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper, or more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • pinch red pepper flakes, use at least 1/8 teaspoon if you want a kick
  • 4-6 salmon filets
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon flour PER filet
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • fresh lemon wedges, for serving
  • more arugula, to serve with


  1. First make the pesto. Add arugula, green onions, lemon juice, water, sour cream, mayonnaise, garlic, pepper, salt, basil, and red pepper flakes to a food processor. Pulse until smooth. Taste it and see what you think!
  2. Pat salmon filets dry and sprinkle the skin side with salt and pepper. Dust each filet with about a half teaspoon flour.
  3. Spread each with about 1 teaspoon of the arugula pesto.
  4. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat.
  5. When the oil is very hot, place 2-3 salmon filets skin (and pesto) 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. I used a 12-inch skillet and only did 3 at a time.)
  6. 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 teaspoon of pesto, then flip.
  7. Cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute and then remove from heat. Let sit in the pan for another couple minutes.
  8. Serve on a bed of arugula, with a fresh squeeze of lemon and a few spoonfuls of the pesto.
  9. This is really great with a green salad, crusty bread, roasted potatoes, or even some simple pasta.