Seared Salmon with Bourbon-Blackberry Sauce


A piping hot cast-iron skillet makes all the difference when achieving perfectly cooked salmon complete with crispy skin.

Seared Salmon with Bourbon-Blackberry Sauce
Makes 4 servings
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries
  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 (16-ounce) skin-on side of salmon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • ½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • Garnish: fresh blackberries, fresh thyme
  1. In the work bowl of a food processor, pulse together blackberries, bourbon, and lime juice until smooth. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding solids. Reserve blackberry sauce.
  2. Heat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until hot (almost smoking). Sprinkle salt and pepper all over salmon. Add salmon, skin side’ down, to skillet. Cook until skin is crisp and sides of salmon begin to cook, 2 to 4 minutes. Turn salmon, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or to desired doneness. Remove salmon from skillet; keep warm.
  3. In same skillet, heat oil over medium-low heat. Add shallot; cook until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in garlic; cook for 1 minute. Stir in blackberry sauce, lime zest, and thyme; bring to a boil. Cook for 1 minute. Whisk in butter until melted. Return salmon to skillet; spoon sauce onto salmon. Garnish with blackberries and thyme, if desired.

This recipe also works with 4 (4-ounce) salmon fillets. Resist the urge to add oil to the skillet before adding the fish; it will simply smoke and burn. It’s important to leave the skin on for this recipe; it helps keep the fish from overcooking and from sticking to the skillet. Once the fish is in the skillet, leave it alone. It will easily loosen from the skillet when it’s ready to be turned.