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If I could describe this melt-in-your-mouth King salmon in one word, it would be ‘euphoric’. The texture is silky and buttery, the color is a bright coral hue with distinct marbleization, the flavor is clean, and it’s got omega-3 fatty acids like whoa.

King salmon all day, every day!

It pains my little pescetarian heart that people tend to limit fish consumption to the warmer months. I fully understand the excitement that comes with grilling and throwing salmon fillets onto a cedar plank or impaling shrimp and scallops with skewers — but fall flavors and fish get along swimmingly, too!

This recipe smothers your King salmon fillets with warming spices and a savory blend of apples, onions, and dried cranberries, and it’s quite possibly the best thing ever.

How did I think of this? And why did I think throwing apples and cranberries onto salmon would be okay? Welp, before my pescetarian days, I’d slather this saucy medley over pork chops. And whenever I find myself searching for new ways to jazz up my fish, I think about meaty recipes I used to enjoy and try to bring the essence of those dishes to the pesce world. Fish is versatile, and it usually works out nicely.

This experiment-turned-success is no exception.

Regal New Zealand King salmon is sustainable!

Regal New Zealand King Salmon has earned the Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification from The Global Aquaculture Alliance and, to top that off, the New Zealand King salmon industry received the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Green/Best Choice rating in 2015.

With that said, Regal New Zealand King Salmon is a smart choice!

The word “farmed” seems to have a negative connotation, but “farmed” shouldn’t be a bad word. Both farming *and* fishing methods have good and dreadful practices. This is why it’s important to know where your food is coming from.

In Marlborough Sounds, salmon production is optimal.

Regal King salmon is raised in protected isolation before being transferred to sea farms in the clear, deep, and cool waters of the Marlborough Sounds where the environment for salmon production is optimal. With stocking rates resulting in only 2% of the sea farm volume being occupied by salmon, the salmon in this vicinity have ample room to swim around and be. Additionally, the absence of disease in the fish means that New Zealand farmers don’t have to use antibiotics or vaccines to maintain the health of their stocks. The salmon are fed food pellets of fish meal specially formulated for King salmon and do not contain steroids or growth enhancers.

What does this all mean for you?

This means you can dig into Regal’s King salmon and feel GOOD about it.

Really good.

What’s different about King salmon?

King salmon, also referred to as Chinook salmon, is the belle of the Pacific ball. Not only is it the largest salmon species of the Pacific, but it also harbors the highest oil and heart-healthy omega-3 content. If you eat a lot of salmon, you’ll be quick to notice how buttery the flavor and texture of these fillets are. Because of this, King salmon is the priciest of the species, but for good reason. (It’s a fabulous date night salmon!)

Not sure if Regal New Zealand King Salmon is available near you? Find out here!
Making this recipe? Snap a pic and tag me on Instagram: @Killing__Thyme /#killingthyme. For more delish eats, follow me on INSTAGRAM + PINTEREST.
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Pan-Seared Salmon With Apple Cranberry Sauce

This Pan-Seared Salmon With Apple Cranberry Sauce is delicious proof that fish has a place at the dinner table throughout the cooler months, too.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2
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  • 2 7 oz Regal New Zealand King Salmon fillets, skin on, if using other salmon, see notes
  • Kosher salt
  • Neutral oil, like vegetable or grapeseed oil (enough to generously cover the bottom of your skillet)

Apple Cranberry Sauce

  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 1 thinly sliced shallot (approx. 1 oz)
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 apple, diced, I used Gala apples
  • 1/2 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup apple juice, You can use apple cider
  • 2 TBSP pure maple syrup, You can use pure honey
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 TBSP dried cranberries


Preparing the Salmon

  • Remove the fillets from the fridge and, with a paper towel, pat the entire fillets dry — skin included. Sprinkle a little salt over the flesh of the fillets and let them sit on the counter for about 15-20 minutes to come to room temperature. In the meantime you can prep your ingredients for the sauce.

Apple Cranberry Sauce

  • Melt the butter in a pan over moderate heat. Add the sliced shallots and cook until lightly browned — about 5 minutes. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
  • While the onions cook, place all of the ingredients from the diced apple to the ground allspice in a medium-sized bowl; stir well to thoroughly mix the ingredients.
  • Add the apple mixture to the pan with the onions and stir well. Bring the heat down to low and let the sauce to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes or until the mixture becomes a little thicker. (In the meantime, cook your salmon.) Once thickened, remove from heat, cover, and set aside.

Pan-Searing Salmon With Crispy Skin

  • Add a generous amount of neutral oil, like vegetable oil or grapeseed oil, to your skillet — enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Heat over high heat until the oil starts to smoke.
  • Carefully place one salmon fillet into the hot pan, skin-side down. As soon as the fillet hits the pan, press down on it with a spatula until the fillet flattens out (this only takes seconds) while bringing the heat down to medium. Pressing the fillet keeps the skin firm against the pan and will give you crisp results without curling your fillet upward. Let your salmon cook for about six minutes, or until you can see a nice golden brown color on the edge of the skin. DO NOT touch, push, or try to budge your salmon beforehand, or you'll tear the skin. Once you see the golden edges, carefully slide your spatula underneath the fillet and turn it over. (If it doesn't release, give it another 30 seconds and try again.)
  • Once you've flipped your salmon, it's likely a little over halfway cooked so it only needs another 2-3 minutes of cooking. If you have a meat thermometer, remove the salmon once it's reached an internal temperature of 140-145 degrees F. If you don't have a meat thermometer, cook the fish until it's opaque, and then go order a meat thermometer ;)
  • Once the fillet is cooked, carefully remove it from the pan and set it on a plate; cover with tin foil so it stays warm. Repeat the same process for the other fillet.
  • Once the fillets are done, plate, and spoon the apple cranberry sauce evenly over each fillet.


King salmon is thicker and fattier than other cuts of salmon, so if you're using a different type of salmon, cooking times may vary. It's always best to use the 8-10 minute rule when cooking fish; measure the thickest part of the fillet, and cook the fillet 8-10 minutes per inch of thickness, flipping 3/4 of the way through cooking time. 
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Pan-Seared Salmon With Apple Cranberry Sauce | Killing Thyme

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    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed this, Cathy! It’s definitely one of my faves. Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and let me know :)

  1. What a beautiful color and texture for that King salmon! I’m used to eating fish all year round, and this looks so good with that apple cranberry sauce!

    1. Thanks, Nicoletta! I never get tired of salmon, and I eat it pretty regularly. This is definitely mu current favorite way to eat it, though ;)

  2. I read you article with such delight as I am really conscious about fresh fish and the way it is raised. I am now convinced Regal King salmon is the way to go. I clicked on the link and Europe is missing ! Nooo!

    1. Hi Laura! Thanks so much for the wonderful comment. I’m also sad to hear Europe is missing from the options! Hopefully it becomes an option. Might be worth sending them an e-mail – maybe they could suggest a great salmon accessible to you? Here’s hoping!

  3. Sounds delicious, I’m more than happy to eat fish all year round here, sadly sea fish is a rarity in land locked Hungary though… That sauce sounds fantastic.

    1. Thanks, Brian! I’m with you. Fish all day, every day. That’s too bad about your fish selection, though :( I hope you can find some good fillets and give this sauce a whirl sooner than later.

  4. Your Apple Cranberry Sauce couldn’t be more perfect. I could see using this on many things. Perfect for the Regal New Zealand King Salmon especially.

    1. Thanks, Ginny! The sauce really is versatile and perfect for fall. It was great with the pork chops and would work wonderfully with chicken I’m sure. But the King salmon is the winner in my books ;)

  5. This looks delicious! Love the crispiness of pan searing the salmon! Sounds great with the apple cranberry sauce!