Italian Salmon with Tomato Basil Salsa
Italian Salmon with Tomato Basil Salsa is crusted with a homemade spice rub, broiled until cooked perfectly, and then covered in tomatoes, fresh basil, and balsamic vinegar for a restaurant-worthy salmon dish that's ready in fifteen minutes.
This Baked Italian Salmon is one of those dishes that is shockingly simple but so full of flavor. It works for busy weeknights and dinner parties just the same. Serve it with Crispy Balsamic Brussels Sprouts, Creamy Ricotta Spaghetti Squash, or whole wheat pasta, and you have a healthy and tasty meal.
One of the things I love about this Italian Salmon is that it comes together in about 15 minutes. The salmon is coated with a homemade Italian-inspired spice blend and broiled in the oven until it's perfectly flaky.
While the salmon filets cook, make the tomato basil salsa. It's a combination of fresh tomatoes tossed with fresh basil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.
This salmon makes the perfect weeknight meal and can be paired with almost anything - roasted potatoes, salad, creamy polenta - it all works.
Plus the leftovers make the most delicious salads and grain bowls. This salmon piled over some cooked farro with arugula and tons of the tomato basil salsa is so so good. Add some fresh mozzarella cheese or feta and it's to die for.
Speaking of simple meals, consider prepping your side dishes ahead of time to make this a real fifteen minute meal. For me, that usually means making either quinoa, brown rice, farro, or spaghetti squash on the weekend so it's ready in the fridge.
Then I just roast a quick cooking veggie like asparagus or zucchini and cook it at the same time as the fish. Just place it on a baking sheet or foil, toss it with some olive oil, and cook it on a lower rack in the oven. It will cook in about the same amount of time.
This meal is also super healthy. Salmon is often called a superfood since it is packed with nutrients, lean protein, Omega 3 fatty acids, and more. Tomatoes are also winners when it comes to healthy packed with lycopene and antioxidants.
Here is everything you will need for this recipe and ideas for substitutions if needed.
- Salmon: Any type of salmon will work for this recipe. Use wild, Atlantic, farm-raised - it's up to you. You can cook it as fillets or as a whole piece. This recipe also works with other fish as well.
- Italian seasoning: Use the spice mixture in the recipe or swap for Italian seasoning.
- Tomatoes: Fresh tomatoes are best for this salsa. Use any tomato you like, but cherry tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, and grape tomatoes are especially delicious.
- Basil: To complement the Italian flavors, add basil to the tomato salsa. Fresh parsley, cilantro, chives, or oregano would all be tasty as well.
- Balsamic vinegar: Balsamic vinegar is the perfect complement to the salmon. If you don't have any on hand, swap in another acid like lemon juice or red wine vinegar.
- Optional additions: Kick things up a notch by adding some fresh minced garlic cloves or shallots to the salsa. Melt some butter on top of the salmon before serving for extra richness. Consider adding some fresh mozzarella to the salsa for a Caprese-inspired dish. Or add a few spoonfuls of pesto to the salmon or salsa.
How long do you cook salmon?
To cook the perfect salmon, it's important to consider three things - the thickness of the salmon, the temperature of the oven, and how well-done you like your salmon. Some people like salmon cooked medium rare and others want it cooked through, flaky, and opaque. Depending on your preferences, use the lower edge of the guidelines for more rare fish and the upper end of the guidelines for more flaky, opaque salmon. You also may need extra time if you have an especially thick piece of salmon.
- How long to cook salmon at 350 degrees? A standard size filet or a whole piece of salmon will take between 20-25 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees,
- How long to bake salmon at 400 degrees? If you kick the oven about to 400 degrees, salmon takes between 12-15 minutes to cook through.
- How long to cook salmon at 450 degrees? At 450 degrees, salmon will cook for 8-12 minutes.
- What about broiling salmon? Broiling is one of the fastest ways to cook salmon and it will take between 6-9 minutes in the broiler or in an oven at 550 degrees,
- How long do you grill salmon? If you opt to grill your salmon instead of baking it, it normally takes between 7-10 minutes to grill.
You can cook the salmon for this recipe as suggested in the broiler or use any of the cooking guidelines above depending on what else you are cooking and how quickly you want to cook dinner.
Leftover Ideas for Italian Salmon
As I mentioned above, I love the leftovers of this salmon and I almost always make a double batch so I can enjoy the leftovers for lunch all week. Here are some of my favorite ways to use the leftover salmon
- Salmon Farro Bowl: This may be my favorite way to serve this leftover salmon. I make a big batch of farro on the weekend and then double up the tomato salsa. Then I place the farro in the bottom of a glass container. Next, I add the tomatoes so the juice can flavor the farro. Then I add a piece of salmon, fresh mozzarella, and top everything with arugula and red onions. Keeping the greens on top ensures they won't wilt in the fridge.
- Salmon Scramble: For brunch, I love adding salmon to egg scrambles. Usually, I use smoked salmon, but this salmon works great as well. Make a scramble with eggs and fresh veggies like spinach, asparagus, zucchini, or broccoli. Then add the salmon to the pan in the last 1-2 minutes so it has a second to warm up but doesn't get overcooked.
- Chopped Salmon and Chickpea Salad: My cousins are obsessed with chopped salads and after spending a few weeks with them this summer, now I want all my salads to be of the chopped variety. For this option, I usually make this Chopped Chickpea Greek Salad and throw the salmon on top.
- Italian Salmon Quesadillas: I am usually not a big fan of fish and cheese, but it works in this recipe. Instead of using chicken, make a quesadilla with mozzarella, tomato basil salsa, and chopped salmon. I like to throw in some spinach as well for greens.
- Italian Style Salmon Tacos: I am always down for a good taco and these work surprisingly well. Heat up some corn tortillas and fill them with leftover salmon, tomato basil salsa, spinach, and a drizzle of pesto for an Italian spin on a fish taco.
- Pesto Salmon Pasta: Cook pasta according to the directions. Toss with homemade or store-bought pesto sauce, sliced cherry tomatoes (or canned diced tomatoes), and the leftover salmon. Top with Parmesan cheese. For a creamy version, add a couple of tablespoons of cream cheese to the sauce as well. If the sauce is too thick, add some pasta cooking water to thin it out.
Can I cook this Italian Salmon in Foil?
If you prefer to cook your salmon wrapped in aluminum foil on the grill or on the stove, you can make a few adjustments to this recipe to cook the salmon in foil. Start with a piece of foil large enough to hold the salmon filet. Spray it with cooking spray and place the salmon skin-side down on the foil.
Then top with the tomato salsa. Close the foil packets and cook in a 400 degree oven for 18-20 minutes. Carefully open the packets and serve. If you like, you can cook the salmon in foil on a bed of veggies. Just place the salmon on top of some quick-cooking veggies like asparagus, zucchini, summer squash, or green beans.
This recipe originally was posted in 2015 but has been updated with new photos, tips, and ideas.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to some of the most common questions about making this salmon recipe.
Can the salmon be cooked in a skillet?
This salmon recipe works great cooked on the stove. Pat the salmon with a paper towel to dry it. Coati the salmon with some olive oil and the spice rub. Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat with some oil. Place the salmon in the skillet, skin side up. Cook without moving the pan for 4-5 minutes until a golden exterior crust forms. Carefully flip the salmon and cook another 4-6 minutes until the fish is cooked to your liking. Remove the fish and set it aside. Let the fish rest for a couple of minutes and then top with tomatoes.
What can be used instead of tomatoes?
If you aren't a huge fan of tomatoes, swap in another vegetable or fruit instead. Some delicious options include peaches, strawberries, cucumbers, corn, or avocado. Or use a fresh green like arugula.
How do I get crispy skin on salmon?
If you want the skin on this salmon recipe to come out crispy, it is best to cook it in a skillet instead of broiling it in the oven. Make sure to use a heavy skillet and it should be sizzling when you add the salmon. Then let the salmon cook on the skin side until it is almost cooked. Only flip it for the last 1-2 minutes of cooking.
Italian Salmon with Tomato Basil Salsa
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- 24 oz. wild salmon (or any kind of salmon)
- 1/2 tsp. oregano
- 1/2 tsp. dried basil
- 1/4 tsp. rosemary
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 1/4 cup basil, chopped
- 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- Salt and pepper
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* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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