Seared Salmon with Pine Nut, Caper and Fennel Topping

A simple but sophisticated topping on perfectly seared salmon makes this dinner as well-suited to serving for a celebration as it is on a busy weeknight.

Servings: 4 servings


  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 about 3 tablespoons shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 medium fennel bulb, cored, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon + 1/8 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 4 6-7 ounce skin-on salmon fillets
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and cook, shaking pan often, until lightly browned, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer the pine nuts to a medium bowl.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and fennel; cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, 3-4 minutes. Add the capers and cook 1 minute. Transfer to the bowl with the pine nuts. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and orange zest. Let cool 5 minutes before adding the basil and 1/8 teaspoon of the salt; reserve.
  3. Season the salmon with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Heat the skillet over medium heat until very hot. Add the salmon, flesh side down and cook until nicely browned, 5 minutes. Flip the salmon over and continue cooking until the skin is crisp and the salmon cooked through but still slightly translucent in the center, 4-5 minutes longer. Place a salmon fillet on each of 4 serving plates and top with the pine nut mixture. Serve immediately.