Pan-Seared Salmon With Celery, Olives and Capers

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45 minutes
| Servings: Serves 4

The salsa that I spoon over the salmon here is an explosion of contrasting flavors – sweet, salty and sharp – common in Sicilian cooking. I like serving this with sautéed greens and some bread. – Yotam Ottolenghi for NY Times Cooking


  • ⅔ cup/100 grams currants
  • Generous pinch of saffron
  • 4 salmon fillets (about 1 pound/500 grams total), skin on
  • About 1/2 cup/100 milliliters olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 4 sticks celery (about 6 ounces/180 grams), cut into 1/2-inch/1-centimeter dice, leaves removed and reserved for garnish
  • ¼ cup/30 grams pine nuts, roughly chopped
  • Scant 1/4 cup/40 grams drained capers, plus 2 tablespoons of their brine
  • 8 large green olives, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch/1-centimeter dice
  • ⅓ cup/20 grams parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice


  1. Cover the currants with boiling water and set aside to soak for 20 minutes. In a separate small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of boiling water with the saffron and also leave for 20 minutes or longer.
  2. Gently rub the salmon fillets with 2 teaspoons of the oil, 1/3 teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Set aside while you make the relish.
  3. Add 1/3 cup/75 milliliters of olive oil to a large sauté pan over high heat. Add the celery and pine nuts and fry for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the nuts begin to brown (watch carefully as they can burn quickly). Turn off heat and stir in the capers and their brine, the olives, saffron and its water and a pinch of salt. Drain the currants and add them as well, along with the parsley, lemon zest and juice. Mix well and set aside.
  4. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add salmon fillets skin-side down and let cook for 3 minutes, until the skin is crisp. Reduce the heat to medium, flip the fillets over and cook 2 to 4 minutes more (depending on how much you like the salmon to be cooked).
  5. Divide the salmon on 4 plates and serve with the warm relish spooned on top. Scatter reserved celery leaves (if using) and serve immediately.

Plated and ready to serve, a great plate of salmon with celery, olives and capers.