Pan-Seared Salmon “Puttanesca” with Tomatoes, Black Olives, Lemon, and Basil

Pan-Seared Salmon “Puttanesca” with Tomatoes, Black Olives, Lemon, and Basil

A fresh version of a robust Italian puttanesca sauce, infused with lemon and basil, is a bright complement to buttery-rich salmon. Pair with California Chardonnay or Pinot Noir.

Serves 4


2 cups (480ml) grape or cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon (15ml) extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons (30ml) dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
1/2 cup (60g) pitted California black olives, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon (15ml) capers, rinsed, coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon (1.25ml) crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon (15ml) chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon (2.5ml) finely grated lemon zest
Salt to taste

4 salmon fillets, each about 6 ounces (170g), with skin, pin-bones removed
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon (15ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon
Chopped basil for garnish


Prepare the sauce:
Heat a medium skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Add the tomatoes and oil and cook until the tomatoes begin to burst and release their juices, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the wine and simmer until the liquid reduces by about half, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the olives, garlic, capers, and crushed red pepper. Simmer until the tomatoes have released their juices and the sauce has a ragout consistency, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently and breaking up the tomatoes with a spoon.

Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the basil, lemon zest, and salt to taste; keep warm.

Prepare the salmon:
Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the salmon, skin-side down, and cook until the skin is golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes, then flip the fillets and continue to cook until golden brown and cooked to your desired doneness, 4 to 6 minutes for medium, depending on thickness of the fillets.

Transfer the salmon to a serving platter or individual serving plates. Lightly drizzle with a squeeze of the half lemon, then spoon the sauce over the centers of the filets. Garnish with the chopped basil and serve immediately.

/ Pairing Suggestions

Showing 1 - 10 of 31 results
  • Barbera

    Pair with smoked salmon, grilled mozzarella and prosciutto, and flatbread with fresh tomato, basil and roasted garlic. 

  • Cabernet Franc

    Pair with a classic beef stew, aged Gouda, and rosemary-rubbed pork tenderloin.

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

    Pair with grass-fed beef, whether grilled, roasted, braised or stir-fried.

  • Chardonnay

    Pair with white fish, shellfish and free-range chicken – especially with creamy, buttery sauces.

  • Chenin Blanc

    Pair with seared scallops, chicken in coconut curry, or sliced ripe pears with fresh or slightly aged sheep’s milk cheeses.

  • Dessert wines

    Pair with nuts—almonds and hazelnuts—as well as chocolate tortes, vanilla custard, peach cobbler and ricotta cheesecake. In general, aim to pair sweet dessert wines with sweet desserts, and light dessert wines with light desserts.

  • Gewürztraminer

    Pair with smoked white fish, spicy stir-fried dishes, or slightly sweet desserts.

  • Grenache

    Pair with any grilled shellfish as well as salami, sliced ham and other charcuterie.

  • Grenache Blanc

    Pair with crab, squid, or clams with garlic butter as well as grilled snapper with lemon zest.

  • Malbec

    Pair with classic rack of lamb, beef fajitas, and roasted root vegetables.

1   2   3   4  »