I do a lot of baking, but even I have to take a break from sweets and eat a real meal every once in a while. And this maple-mustard cast iron skillet salmon pan-seared in a delicious sauce is just that -- a REAL meal! It's so easy to make and the flavors are SO perfect. Trust me, it is the perfect way to upgrade your dinnertime any night of the week!
I love to make salmon in lots of ways -- oven-baked, grilled, broiled, or poached. And it's all delicious! But this cast iron skillet salmon recipe is my new favorite way to cook salmon. It's quick and easy, it's gluten free, and that maple-dijon sauce is OUT OF THIS WORLD. And best of all, the salmon is pan-seared to get that crisp outer crust!
Pan-searing your salmon
When you have salmon in the fridge and are wondering what to do with it, allow me to recommend that you grab your cast-iron skillet (or nonstick pan) and sear that salmon! This maple mustard salmon recipe is the perfect example -- you just need to sear your salmon, then make the easy sauce, and then bring the two together! I love searing salmon because iftgives you that great seared texture and you can keep your eye on the salmon to make sure that it doesn't overcook.
I recommend using a cast-iron skillet to be sure that you get the sear nice and golden brown, but any pan that you like will work. I've also made this salmon using a nonstick sauté pan.
This simple maple mustard salmon recipe comes together with just a handful of ingredients! I love how easy it is to make, and you will too! Here's what you'll need:
- olive oil - this is what you'll use to sear your salmon. Just heat it up in your skillet while you season your salmon!
- salt and pepper - add to taste before you sear your salmon.
- salmon filets - I used 4-ounce skin on center-cut filets. If you use a different size or shape of salmon filet you may have to watch a little more closely and adjust the cook time accordingly.
- dijon mustard - the base for the sauce for our maple mustard salmon! Mustard adds so much flavor without adding any calories! It's so great to cook with to add a little zest to your recipes.
- fresh garlic - definitely use fresh garlic (as opposed to jarred minced garlic or garlic powder). To make it easier, I like to use a garlic press to avoid having to mince it myself, and to minimize touching the garlic with my hands.
- red pepper flakes - I add red pepper flakes to almost all my meals -- I love spicy food, and to me a dish doesn't taste right if it doesn't have at least a little spice. You can omit the chili flakes entirely, or add them to your preference!
- maple syrup - works with the dijon mustard to make our maple mustard salmon what it is meant to be! The flavors are perfect together, and I love that maple syrup is an unrefined sugar!
- water - we'll use a little water to thin our our sauce -- it'll reduce a bit in the pan, so adding extra water now keeps it from getting too thick.
- butter - I like adding a little butter when I'm making a sauce to give it a little richness and create a silky texture. It brings the sauce for this maple mustard salmon together so well!
As I've mentioned, the most important tool to get the most out of this salmon is a cast-iron skillet. Cast-iron will help you get your salmon pan seared with that brown, crispy crust that looks great and tastes amazing. Other than that, you'll only need a whisk to whip up your sauce and my favorite garlic press to make prep super quick!
Tips and Serving Ideas
Alternative pan options: If you don't have a cast-iron skillet, you can use a stainless steel pan or a nonstick frying pan. If you use stainless steel, just be sure to heat the pan fully before adding oil. The browning results with cast-iron will be better, but the salmon will still be delicious in whatever pan you use!
Pat your salmon dry: This is an important step to get that crispy seared crust on your salmon. make sure your salmon is fully dry before seasoning it so that the oil in the pan can brown it up nicely.
Atlantic (farm-raised) vs. Alaskan (wild-caught) salmon: I made this recipe using Atlantic salmon, which has a higher fat content than wild-caught salmon. If you make it with Alaskan salmon, you'll need to adjust the cook time and watch carefully that the salmon doesn't dry out.
Serving ideas: To let the flavors in this maple-dijon cast iron skillet salmon shine, I recommend serving it with a hearty rice or grains and sautéed veggies. I also love it with cooked lentils, quinoa, or mashed potatoes! Let me know how you served this delicious cast-iron skillet salmon in the comments below!
This maple dijon cast iron skillet salmon is a guaranteed hit, but if you're looking for another fantastic dinner option, check out my Lemon Shrimp Pasta with Kale. It's another easy, gluten free seafood main dish recipe that is bursting with flavor! I make it so much and I know you'll love it!
Another super-quick stovetop seafood dish that I LOVE is my New Orleans-Style BBQ Shrimp. It's based on the classic New-Orleans dish, which isn't barbecue in the typical sense -- instead, it's jumbo shrimp sautéed in a savory, buttery sauce with beer and fresh lemon juice. It's perfect with some crusty bread or over rice!
- Pat salmon dry and season liberally on both sides with salt and freshly cracked pepper.
- Preheat cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and allow oil to heat fully.
- Place salmon filets, skin side up, in hot oil. Allow to cook for about 3 min or flesh is crispy and a deep golden brown.
- In the meantime, whisk together garlic, dijon mustard, maple syrup, water, and red pepper flakes.
- Flip salmon and sauce to pan. Add butter, and baste salmon with a spoon another 3-4 minutes or until salmon flakes easily with a fork. Serve warm with sauce spooned over salmon.
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