Lemon Caper Salmon

I have always loved salmon. One of my favourite ways to serve it is lemon caper salmon. Such a distinct flavour that is both versatile, yet definite in its boundaries. As there are so many ways to prepare salmon, sometimes the simplest methods are the best. Less is more, as it were.

Having made up a fresh batch of balsamic vinegar reduction, my wife suggested I chef up a salmon dinner that could play well with it.

Now, I’m a bit of a traditionalist in that balsamic vinegar, being from Italy, should be an influence on my decision here. So entered the mighty unsung hero of Italian cuisine, the caper into the plan….

Generally, when just winging up a supper that doesn’t need to follow a certain recipe or theme, I look at what I have on hand in the house. It’s just supper, I’m not rolling all over hell’s half acre just to make one meal. I have lemons, shallots, and a jar of capers in the fridge; sounds like a good salmon dressing to me. Tack in a few fennel seeds and some roasted garlic to deepen it up? Finish it off with a drizzle of freshly reduced balsamic? Who’d argue, right?

I’ll be honest: it turned out way better than expected. I’d have to say the pan-searing made all the difference; baking it wouldn’t have brought out the richness of caramelized shallots and lemon zest. If I were to do it over again, I’d have A: used bigger filets (it tasted so good, it was over way too fast) and B: used skin-on salmon (when properly fried, it is brilliant!).

On a previous post, I had mentioned that now and then, you get into a creative zone and magic happens. You make something up by winging it and realize you need to remember how you did it when you finally taste it…. Yeah, this is one of those things. I “used the force” as my old mentor would say on this one. I’m glad I was writing it down as I was going.

Lemon Caper Salmon

Lemon Caper Salmon

Salmon marinated and pan seared in fresh lemon and minced capers
Prep Time 6 hrs 15 mins
Total Time 6 hrs 25 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian, Mediterranean, Universal
Servings 3 people


  • zester or microplane, glass dish for marinating, skillet


  • 3pcs 4-6oz salmon
  • 1 whole shallot fine diced
  • 2 Tbsp capers minced
  • 1 whole lemon zested and juiced
  • 4-6 cloves roasted garlic see Pro-tip #1 on the website.
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp Dill
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds


Preparing and marinating

  • Fine dice the shallot, press mince the capers and roast garlic cloves; place in a glass dish big enough to fit three 4-6oz salmon filets.
  • Zest and juice the lemon; add to the dish with the remainder of the ingredients.
  • Make sure the salmon filets are fully coated in the mixture. Cover and refrigerate for about 6 hours.

Cooking Time!

  • Heat up a medium-large size skillet on medium-high heat; add 1-2oz of oil
  • Drizzle some of the marinade into the pan; once it starts to sizzle, it's time to add the salmon.
  • Lay the salmon service side (not the skin side) down; add the remainder of the marinade.
  • After about 2-3 minutes, turn the salmon and let ride for another 3-4 minute.
  • Remove from heat and serve immediately, being sure to include the fully cooked marinade, capers, shallots and all.



Cooking time for the salmon will vary depending on how you like it. Myself, I’m a medium rare eater. 
Many people, when they hear lemon and capers instinctively reach for the white wine. That’s totally cool; I would have done the same if I had any in house at the moment.
Keyword dairy free, gluten free, salmon

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