Make Mediterranean Pan-Roasted Salmon for an Easy Dinner

Lori Lamothe

This skillet recipe is succulent, spicy, colorful and nutritious--not to mention easy. Aside from the complex mix of spices, the only ingredients you need are salmon, cherry tomatoes and fennel. While the cook time on this is listed as 25 minutes, that's a maximum number.

The best part: clean up involves just one pan.

The Mediterranean diet

You've probably read about the many health benefits of eating like the Europeans, so I'll keep this brief. If you follow traditional eating practices from Greece, Italy and other countries that border the Mediterranean, you'll eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies, as well as healthy fats, fish and whole grains.

Medical News Today lists these characteristics of the Mediterranean diet:

  • a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains
  • healthful fats, such as nuts, seeds, and olive oil
  • moderate amounts of dairy and fish
  • very little white meat and red meat
  • few eggs
  • red wine in moderation

According to Mayo Clinic, physicians started tracking the benefits of the diet decades ago:

Interest in the diet began in the 1950s when it was noted that heart disease was not as common in Mediterranean countries as it was in the U.S. Since then, numerous studies have confirmed that the Mediterranean diet helps prevent heart disease and stroke.

I'll admit my favorite part just might be the red wine. If you're interested in adding that part of the regimen to your meal, you can check out Flight Wine Bar's recommended vintages. While it's commonly believed it's not okay to pair red wine with salmon, that's not true. To stick to the Mediterranean plan, choose a good pinot noir:

The wine’s acidity will cut through the fat of the fish, while its light body won’t overpower the delicate flavour of the salmon. . .The satiny tannin structure and decadent notes of strawberry and raspberry in pinot noir bring out the savory elements of an herb-crusted salmon.
Other great red wines to pair with salmon include merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and syrah/shiraz. These full-bodied red wines have bolder flavors that can stand up to the rich, fatty flavor of salmon. Their higher tannin levels also help to cut through the fat and leave your palate refreshed. --Justin Curran,

I came across the recipe below in an old magazine about cast-iron cooking. It still appears on McCormick's site, along with other savory meal suggestions.

The basil, garlic and rosemary not only add some kick to the salmon, but they also are good for you, especially when it comes to boosting immunity. All three herbs are anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-bacterial. They may even help prevent cancer, as well as heart disease.

I grow some of my own herbs and my rosemary plant has proven remarkably hard to kill. For tips on how to create an herb garden, see Garden Know How's article.

Mediterranean Pan-Roasted Salmon


1 teaspoon basil

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon crushed rosemary

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

4 salmon fillets, skin on

1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided

2 tablespoons sugar

1 medium fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced

1 cup cherry tomatoes (yellow and red)

Lemon wedges


1. Mix basil, garlic powder, oregano, rosemary and salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons over the salmon. Reserve the remaining seasoning mixture in a bowl.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Place salmon, skin side up, in skillet. Cook 3 minutes.

3. Add sugar and remaining 2 tablespoons of the oil to the reserved seasoning mixture; mix well. Add fennel and tomatoes; toss to coat.

4. Turn salmon fillets. Place fennel mixture around salmon in skillet. Cook 6 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve with lemon wedges.

Serves 4

Total Time, start to finish: 25 minutes

Calories: 310 per serving; 24 G protein.

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Writer, assistant professor, former baker. I cover cold cases, history, recipes, and culture. If you have a story idea you'd like me to investigate, you can email me at


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