Salmon Puttanesca

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Just because a dish is healthy, does not mean it can’t be absolutely delicious. And this dish fits that bill perfectly.

If you’re like us, you’re not a big fan of seafood dishes that are really “fishy” tasting. When prepare properly, salmon is loaded with flavor (and nutrients) and is not only delicious, especially when paired with this iconic sauce, but it’s beautiful, too. Perfect for a busy weeknight meal or an elegant dinner party. Serve over homemade pasta for a special touch!

An overhead view of two shallow pasta bowls each filled with a bed of bucatini pasta topped with salmon and a puttanesca sauce.

How To Make Salmon Puttanesca

There are so many things to love about this dish. Taste, first and foremost. But, the ease and short amount to prepare it is a big plus, too.

And, it’s adaptable to your tastes, too. If you simply hate anchovies, then leave them out! (But, we promise, they really do add a depth of flavor that is not overpowering at all!).

 

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The Ingredients You Will Need

None of the components of this dish are exotic at all. In fact, they are very Mediterranean and easy to find at your local supermarket.

Here’s what you’ll need to have on hand

Oil – Olive or Extra-Virgin are best
Cloves – Minced
Anchovy fillets – In oil (don’t be afraid of them!)
Herbs – Fresh parsley and fresh basil
Red pepper flakes – For a little spice (but not too much)
White wine – Can be substituted with seafood (or vegetable) stock
Whole tomatoes – Canned, roughly chopped (San Marzano are best)
Clam juice – Usually found near where you’ll find canned tuna
Olives – Green and Kalamata are great, but choose your favorites, pitted
Salmon – Center cut, skinless
Salt and pepper – For seasoning

EXPERT TIP: Because the salmon will sear up and cook very quickly, you can prepare the sauce first. Bring it to a strong simmer and reduce down to slightly (only about 4 minutes). Then remove from heat and cover with a lid. It will say plenty warm while you sear up the salmon fillets.

A close-up view of a large stainless steal skillet filled with a puttanesca sauce with a wooden spatula inserted.

Tips For Perfect Salmon Puttanesca

Fresh is Best – For the sauce, we highly recommend going with fresh parsley and basil. Dried can be used in a pinch (use half the amount you would use for fresh), but this sauce is so vibrant, the fresh herbs really make the sauce sing. Remember, the anchovies add a depth of flavor, but if you absolutely don’t want to use them, simply omit them.

Salmon Selection – We recommend center-cut salmon, but if the quality looks good, then go with what feels best to you. You can leave the skin on, which is loaded with nutrients, but we personally prefer the skin off. Your fish mongor (or meat market butcher) can do this for you with no problem. You’ll want uniform sizes for each piece. Ask for fillets between 7 and 8 ounces each.

Coat the Pasta – When serving, you can certainly pour the sauce over the pasta and then top it with the seared salmon (as we do in the video). But, to get the pasta nicely coated, place it in a large bowl (or the skillet with the pasta), toss it thoroughly with the sauce, then plate, topping with the seared salmon.

EXPERT TIP: As the salmon sears, it is normal for it to pull apart a little, and possibly even split somewhat in the center. Don’t worry, this is normal. Just take care when flipping the salmon in the skillet. If the fillet breaks apart, again, no problem. Just serve in a couple of pieces. The inside of the fillet should be light pink with an internal temperature of 145°F.

Two thin strips of salmon fillets being seared in olive oil in a black non-stick skillet.

How To Serve

This dish is very versatile and can be served in various ways.

Our favorite is to serve the salmon and sauce over a bed of pasta, such as bucatini (tubular spaghetti), linguine, spaghetti, penne, or rigatoni.

This is so good, you can even skip the protein and serve it over pasta (or rice) for a spectacular vegetarian dish.

The sauce also pairs amazingly well with grilled (or baked) chicken, or other fish fillets such as tuna, halibut, swordfish, tilapia, or red snapper.

Salmon is not traditionally served with a puttanesca sauce, but we think the pairing is about as good as it gets.

A close-up view of a shallow white pasta bowl filled with salmon puttanesca sitting on a bed of pasta.

Other Italian/Mediterranean Seafood Recipes To Try

We love Italian cuisine and we love seafood. Here are some of our favorites that combine these two. We’ll think you’ll love them, too:

Mediterranean-Style Tuna Steaks
Seared Red Snapper with Olives, Tomatoes, and Pine Nuts
Shrimp Fra Diavolo
Classic Shrimp Scampi
Shrimp Marinara
Spaghetti Vongole (Clams Sauce)
Cioppino (Seafood Stew)
Seared Haddock with Mushroom Algrodolce
Parmesan-Crusted Cod

In the meantime, isn’t this amazing dish calling your name?

An overhead view of a bowl of salmon topped with sautéed tomatoes, olives, capers, and herbs all on a bed of pasta.

If you love classic Italian flavors, especially with a Mediterranean influence (olives, capers, anchovies, tomatoes), then you will love this dish.

Besides being easy to prepare and incredibly delicious, it is also very impressive in presentation. Making it perfect for serving to guests, but also easy enough for a quick weeknight meal at home.

This has become a seafood dish that we prepare on a regular basis. We’re certain after you try it, you’ll feel the same way. Every single bite is a taste sensation.

A close-up view of a salmon fillet that has been flaked apart with a fork on a bed of pasta with puttanesca sauce.

Ready to make the best Italian seafood dish this side of the Amalfi Coast? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo of it, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!

A shallow pasta bowl filled with a serving of salmon puttanesca sitting on a bed of bucatini.

Salmon Puttanesca

Salmon Puttanesca is vibrant with Italian flavors and could not be easier to prepare. The entire dish comes together in about 30 to 40 minutes. The sauce is great by itself over pasta, or, you can serve the dish without pasta. Healthy, yummy, and perfect for entertaining or a weeknight at home.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Entree / Seafood
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: how to make salmon puttanesca, seafood Italian recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 2
Calories: 562kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp olive oil divided
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 anchovy fillets in oil, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp parsley fresh, chopped, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 tbsp basil fresh, chopped
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes more, for more spice
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 1 28 oz can whole tomatoes drained, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup clam juice
  • ½ cup green olives pitted, halved
  • ½ cup kalamata olives pitted, halved
  • 2 tbsp capers drained
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 7 oz salmon fillets skinless
  • 12 oz bucatini or any long pasta, cooked

Instructions

  • Bring a pot of salted water (enough to boil the pasta in).
  • In a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp oil over medium-high heat.
    3 tbsp olive oil
  • Add the garlic and cook, stirring often, until soft and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the anchovies, parsley, basil, and red pepper flakes. Cook for another 3 minutes, stirring often until the anchovies are starting to dissolve.
    3 cloves garlic, 3 anchovy fillets, 1 tbsp parsley, 1 tbsp basil, ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • Carefully stir in the wine and bring it to a boil. Boil for about 2 minutes, or until has reduced about in half. Add the tomatoes, clam juice, olives, capers, ½ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer for about 4 minutes, until the sauce has reduced a little and slightly thickened. Cover with a lid and set aside.
    ¼ cup white wine, 1 28 oz can whole tomatoes, 1 cup clam juice, ½ cup green olives, ½ cup kalamata olives, 2 tbsp capers, Salt and pepper
  • Cook the pasta according to package instructions.
    12 oz bucatini
  • Sprinkle the salmon fillets all over with salt and pepper. Heat the remaining two tbsp of oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the salmon and cook it for about 3 minutes, until the underside is golden. Flip and cook until golden again and the middle is just barely pink, usually another 3 to 4 minutes.
    2 7 oz salmon fillets
  • Drain the pasta and portion it out into serving bowls. Spoon a cup or two of the sauce over the pasta. Place the salmon over the sauce and spoon more sauce over the top. Garnish with parsley and serve at once.

Notes

See the video near the top of the blog post for visual guidance. If you liked the video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel. 
The anchovies do not give an overpowering taste, however, if you do not like anchovies at all, you can reduce them to 1 or 2 fillets, or omit them completely (but they do add an amazing depth of flavor). 
Tuna, snapper, halibut, cod, swordfish, or trout can all be substituted for salmon. The internal temperature of the fish should be 145°F.  
Leftovers will keep covered in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days. Reheat in a skillet over medium heat. Add water or stock (seafood, chicken, or vegetable), to loosen the sauce. 

Nutrition

Calories: 562kcal | Carbohydrates: 146g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 782mg | Potassium: 609mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 830IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 110mg | Iron: 4mg
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8 Comments

  • 5 stars
    Wow! What a refreshing way to serve salmon! We love salmon and really enjoyed this tasty sauce. Cannot wait to serve it to my foodie son.
    Love your site. Thank you.

    • Hi Carol! We are thrilled you enjoyed the salmon puttanesca! That’s one of our favorite seafood dishes! Thank you so so much for sharing and for the great review. And we hope your foodie son enjoys it, too! Keep us posted! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    I made this dish last night….WONDERFUL as written. Didn’t use all the sauce, so plan to use the rest with shrimp and serve over rice…YUM.
    Just love your website!
    LauraAsheville NC
    PS: Making your spaghetti and meatballs for Thursday night, friends with kids coming, PERFECT…..

    • Hi Laura! Yay! We are so so happy you made the salmon puttanesca and had such great success with it! And thank you so much for letting us know! That means the world to us! Good luck with the spaghetti and meatballs! No doubt you’ll make it perfectly! Keep us posted!!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

    • Hi Noreen! It’s sooo yummy! If you go with 4 5 to 7 ounce fillets, the amount of sauce in the recipe as written will work. Don’t let the sauce reduce down too much when simmering. Hope this helps!! Let us know how it turns out! Best, Kris & Wesley

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