This Creamy Tuscan Salmon recipe is totally restaurant quality, but super easy to make! Perfectly pan-seared salmon, drowning in a creamy parmesan sauce with garlic, cherry tomatoes, spinach, and fresh basil. It’s the perfect summer meal and is done in 30 minutes!

tuscan salmon recipe

The other day Eric removed the couch cushions and started investigating. I fled the room, because as a mother of 4, I have no desire to know what lies beneath, so to speak. That is just something that is better left unknown. Out of sight out of mind is my mantra when it comes to Stuff In The Couch. I have enough crap to worry about above ground, like the constant pile of shoes by the back door, or the state of the toilet.

creamy garlic butter tuscan salmon

Anyway, Eric decided to dive into the couch and from the other room, I heard him make repeated exclamations of surprise, and what sounded like counting. Counting? Oh dear. I didn’t ask, because as I said, ignorance is bliss when it comes to couch specimens, but then he shouted, “TWENTY-ONE!!” That was the number of Charlotte’s socks he pulled out of the armchair in our living room.

creamy tuscan salmon

Apparently every day after school (this habit predates Covid apparently) she cozies up in our big stuffy green armchair with a nice book, then she takes off her socks and drops them on the floor. Then at some point I yell at her to pick up her darn socks and put them in the hamper, do I look like a maid? So she eliminated such interruptions by stuffing the worn socks under the cushions of the chair. Voila.

tuscan salmon

The only reason I didn’t lose my cool completely was because I remember doing this sort of stuff as a kid. And my grievances were way worse than socks. Sh don’t tell her. At least now I know why Charlotte NEVER has any socks in the drawer, even when I’ve just done laundry.

creamy tuscan salmon

Maybe I’ll punish her by making her make me this Creamy Tuscan Salmon for dinner. It’s so easy, I bet she could do it on her own.

creamy garlic butter tuscan salmon

How to make Creamy Tuscan Salmon

What could be better than perfectly seared salmon, with a buttery soft interior, swimming in a creamy cheesy sauce? It’s really more than a cream sauce though, because of the cherry tomatoes and spinach and basil. I’m telling you guys, creamy tuscan salmon is the best way to use up that summer produce! Especially if you have your own garden.

tuscan salmon

First we start off by searing the salmon in a flaming hot pan. If you can never get those beautiful brown marks when you sear meat, it’s because your pan isn’t hot enough. I like to use my cast iron skillet to achieve Crisp Level Ultimate, but a regular pan will work fine too; just make sure to preheat it. Just like you would preheat the oven. Turn the burner on to medium high, and let the dry pan sit on the burner for at least 3 minutes, or up to 5. Don’t add your olive oil to a cold pan and then turn on the heat, it will just start smoking.

Add the olive oil and swirl to coat. It will shimmer immediately because your pan is super hot. Then add the salmon immediately, before the oil has a chance to smoke. Then DON’T TOUCH IT again until you are ready to flip it a couple minutes later. If you move it around it won’t have a chance to sear.

how to make tuscan salmon

Remove the salmon and make the creamy parmesan sauce. Fry some garlic in butter, add some cherry tomatoes, pour cream over the top, then let some spinach and basil wilt in the warm sauce. That’s IT. It’s so delicious, and it’s done in less than 30 minutes. Plus it’s healthy to boot. I mean, besides the cream. But eating healthy fish and healthy spinach totally cancels out the cream, right?? Right. At least that’s what the corona quarantine told me.

tuscan butter salmon

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Creamy Tuscan Salmon

Serves 4     adjust servings

This Creamy Tuscan Salmon recipe is totally restaurant quality, but super easy to make! Perfectly pan-seared salmon, drowning in a creamy parmesan sauce with garlic, cherry tomatoes, spinach, and fresh basil. It's the perfect summer meal and is done in 30 minutes!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 (4 ounce) salmon fillets
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, for the salmon (plus more)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus more
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
  • 18 ounces cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, for the sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 3-4 ounces spinach, chopped
  • half a bunch of fresh basil, roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. Begin by searing the salmon. Heat a 12 inch high-sided skillet over medium high heat. Let the pan sit on the burner for a couple minutes so that it gets super hot.
  2. Meanwhile, pat each salmon fillet dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the top of the salmon with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the hot pan and swirl to coat. It should shimmer immediately. Place each fillet of salmon into the hot pan. (If your salmon has the skin on, place the skin side down first.) Do not crowd the salmon together, make sure there is space in between so they don't steam each other. Sprinkle the other side of each fillet with a bit more salt and pepper. Let the salmon sear well over medium high heat for 1-3 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillet. Once you have a nice brown sear on the underside, flip the salmon to cook the other side for about 30 seconds to 1 minute before turning off the heat. Do not overcook your salmon.
  4. Remove the salmon to a plate and keep warm.
  5. Make the tuscan sauce. Over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons butter to whatever oil remains in the pan from making the salmon. When it is melted, add 6 cloves of minced garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 1 minute until fragrant.
  6. Chop half of the cherry tomatoes, and leave the other half whole. Add to the pan with the butter, and cook for 1 minute, or until some of the tomatoes are starting to split. 
  7. Pour in 1 cup heavy cream. Add 1 and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon dried basil, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and black pepper to taste.
  8. Let the cream mixture come to a light simmer, about 2-4 minutes.
  9. Add 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Add 3-4 ounces chopped spinach and stir it all in. 
  10. Continue cooking over medium heat until the cream has thickened somewhat and the spinach has wilted.
  11. Add in a half bunch of chopped fresh basil. Return the salmon to the pan. Heat through if necessary.
  12. Serve with pasta, roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes, rice, or cauliflower rice. Or just serve it on it's own with a big green salad!

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If you make this recipe, share it on Instagram using the hashtag #TheFoodCharlatan so I can see it!