Skip to content

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

salmon puttanesca



  • 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

Serves 4


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.

Share this

Share on FacebookShare on PinterestShare on TwitterEmail ThisPrint This