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Crispy Skin Salmon with Hard Cider Pan Sauce

  • Fast
  • Easy
  • All Salmon
  • French
  • Test Kitchen
  • Active Time:25 min
  • Total Time:25 min
  • Servings:2
  • Difficulty:Easy
Photo by Julia Gartland

The crisp, slightly bitter cider adds depth and fruitiness to this simple pan sauce which is a perfect balance to the rich salmon. One caveat: cook with cider you want to drink.


  • 1 portion king, coho, or sockeye salmon (10 to 12 ounces), pin bones removed, Available in Our Seafood Subscription Box

  • Kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

  • 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, divided

  • ¼ cup finely minced shallot

  • 1 large garlic clove, minced

  • ½ cup hard apple cider

  • ½ cup low-sodium chicken stock

  • 1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs

  • 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives or flat-leaf parsley, chopped


Sauté the Salmon

Season the salmon with salt and let sit for 10 minutes. In a large nonstick or cast-iron skillet, heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat until the butter is melted and starts to foam.

Pat the salmon dry. Add the salmon skin-side down and cook until the skin is crisp and deeply golden brown, about 3 minutes. Adjust the heat to keep the butter from burning. Flip the fish and cook until flesh is firm but flakes easily around the edges, 1 to 2 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillet. Transfer the cooked salmon to a plate and season lightly with salt.

Make the Pan Sauce

Reduce the heat to medium-low. Carefully wipe out the skillet and add 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the shallot and garlic to the skillet and cook, stirring, until fragrant and soft, about 30 seconds. Season lightly with salt.

Increase the heat to high and add the cider. Cook, stirring frequently and scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan, until reduced roughly by half, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock, mustard, pepper, and thyme sprigs and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and gently simmer until the sauce is reduced roughly by half, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the chopped herbs and remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Swirl the pan to melt the butter.

Finish and Serve

To serve, cut the salmon into 2 pieces. Spoon the pan sauce into shallow bowls and nestle the salmon on top, skin-side up.

Premium Seafood Subscription Box delivery of halibut and sockeye portions
Premium Seafood Subscription Box delivery of halibut and sockeye portions

Premium Seafood Subscription Box

$159 / box 4.5 lbs

Pro Tips

Pair it Up

Always cook with the wine you’d want to drink. The same goes with cider. A dry cider works well here.

Level It Up

For an elegant, luxurious upgrade, stir a few tablespoons of crème fraîche into the pan sauce just before serving.


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