Go Back
+ servings

Pan-Seared Salmon With Concord Grape Sauce

This Pan-Seared Salmon With Concord Grape Sauce is easy enough for a weeknight meal, yet exquisite enough to serve at a swanky dinner party.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Pescetarian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2
Author Killing Thyme



  • 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)

Concord Grape Sauce

  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 2 TBSP minced shallots
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1-2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 cup halved concord grapes
  • 1 TBSP natural honey
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 TBSP balsamic vinegar


  • 1 oz toasted walnuts (approx. 2 heaping TBSP) See notes


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.

Concord Grape Sauce

  • In a small saucepan, melt 1 TBSP of butter over medium-low heat. Add the shallots, garlic, and thyme sprigs (thyme will be removed later). Saute until fragrant and shallots are slightly translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the grapes and saute for 3-5 minutes or until they start to soften and burst.
  • Add the red wine, balsamic vinegar, and honey; simmer over moderate heat until the wine is reduced by half, about 5-7 minutes. Taste, and season with a pinch of salt, to your preference.

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 concord grape 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.
Toasting walnuts: Heat a small pan over medium-low heat. Add the roughly chopped walnuts to the pan, and toast until fragrant/lightly golden. Keep a close eye on them and occasionally toss them around with a spoon. This should take between 5-7 minutes and may seem slow at first, but once they start to toast, they toast quickly. So it's important to watch them so they don't burn. Once nicely toasted, remove from heat and set aside.