Whip up your own restaurant-quality sockeye salmon recipe at home with this Crispy Sockeye Salmon with Honey Lemon Butter Sauce! It's a delicious take on one of my favorite fish dishes in Reykjavik, Iceland and I can't wait for you to try it.
In the dead of winter, 2023, I ventured to Iceland in search of the Northern Lights. The aurora borealis never made an appearance. But this amazing fish dish entered my life and I've never been the same!
We visited a Reykjavik restaurant named Messinn, famous for their fresh fish skillets. This crispy fish with Honey Lemon Butter and Almonds is one of their most popular dishes. Messinn makes their version using Arctic Char, a popular and plentiful fish in the region. Arctic char is similar to salmon or steelhead trout, so sockeye salmon is a great way for us all to relive that Icelandic magic.
The sauce in this salmon recipe is so simple to make but distinctive and craveable. The honey adds the perfect touch of sweetness and the almonds contribute great texture.
More about Sockeye Salmon:
The pale peach type of salmon available in most grocery stores year round is Atlantic salmon. It is mild flavored and fatty and a great fit for almost any salmon recipe (including this one!)
Sockeye salmon, on the other hand, is mostly wild caught in Alaska. Sockeye salmon are smaller than their Atlantic cousins and boast a bright red color. They have a strong salmon-y flavor and the skin crisps up beautifully when cooked (especially in a cast iron pan!)
If you're already a salmon lover (or cooking for someone who is), wild-caught sockeye salmon is a great choice. It cooks quickly and brings rich flavor to a quick and healthy meal any night of the week.
What You'll Need to Make This Easy Sockeye Salmon Recipe:
Sockeye Salmon Fillets: Fresh fish is always a great option, but the season for these wild caught red salmon is limited, so frozen wild salmon works perfectly. If you're cooking with frozen salmon, thaw in the refrigerator overnight for best results.
Flour: Wondra flour is my favorite for dredging salmon, adding a super light and crisp texture to our sockeye salmon. Substitute all-purpose flour, if needed, or a gluten free flour.
Salt, Pepper: All the spices you need on your salmon!
Neutral Oil: I use a good amount of oil to sear off the salmon, but then drain it before building the sauce. The hot oil and the wondra flour combine to form an invisible but crispy crust over the salmon. It's magic.
Butter: You can't make a lemon honey butter sauce without butter! I use salted butter, but unsalted works, too. Just be sure to taste your sauce and adjust seasoning before serving.
Lemon Juice + Zest: The best way to add bright freshness and flavor to your seafood sauce is with citrus. The recipe calls for lemon, but lime is another good option. Start with a little less if using lime, as it can be more assertive and we want to keep a balanced flavor profile. Feel free to garnish this easy recipe with lemon wedges, too.
Honey: Just a touch of sweetness in the lemon butter sauce makes this a uniquely delicious recipe. Substitute a bit of maple syrup or brown sugar if you're out of honey.
Toasted Almonds: Sliced almonds, gently toasted, add the perfect crunch and toasty flavor to our wild Alaskan salmon recipe.
Fresh Parsley: Italian flat-leaf parsley is my go to herb for this recipe. But other fresh herbs like chives, fresh dill or basil would be lovely, or grab a green onion and dice finely.
Full measurements and ingredients included in the printable recipe card below.
Step by Step Instructions:
Dry sockeye salmon fillets well with a paper towel. Season on both sides with salt and pepper, then dredge lightly in Wondra fine flour. Shake off any excess flour. Set aside and allow salmon to come up to room temperature.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add about ¼ inch of neutral oil to the bottom of the pan. When hot, add salmon fillets. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side, until exterior is golden brown and the internal temperature is just short of your preferred doneness. (Sockeye salmon is generally thinner than Atlantic salmon, so monitor your heat level and your fish to ensure you don't overcook the salmon.) Remove salmon to a plate and tent with foil. Pour the oil out of the pan, then return the skillet to the stove.
Reduce heat to medium low and add 4 tablespoons of butter, lemon juice, lemon zest and honey. Swirl in the pan until combined and the butter is foaming.
Add fresh parsley and toasted almonds. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Add seared salmon fillets back to the pan and baste fish in the butter sauce. Serve with lemon slices.
FAQ's and Serving Suggestions for this Sockeye Salmon Recipe:
Yes, you can sear sockeye salmon in a non-stick pan. However, using a stainless steel or cast-iron pan can create a better crust on the salmon because these types of pains will retain and distribute heat more effectively. But use what you have!
Sockeye salmon is cooked when the outer flesh turns opaque and flakes when tested with a fork. I prefer a medium to medium well salmon, which is an internal temperature around 125-130℉. For well done salmon, the internal temperature of the thickest part of the fillet should reach 145°F. Be careful not to overcook the salmon, as it can become dry.
Seared sockeye salmon pairs well with a variety of side dishes. Consider garlic brown rice and quinoa and simple steamed broccoli with this salmon dish. Seasoned green beans or a crunchy Mediterranean tossed salad are also great options. Squeeze some lemon juice over the salmon before serving to enhance its flavors.
To store leftover sockeye salmon recipe, allow the salmon to cool completely, then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Reheat the leftovers gently in a pan or oven to maintain their texture and flavor.Print