Salmon with Tomato, Onions, and Capers
One of the best ways to prepare salmon is to poach it, in just a little liquid. We often use this “shallow poaching” method with a little white wine and herbs.
You can also make a simple sauce and poach the salmon in it, which is what we are doing here with these fillets, cooking them in a sauce of onions, tomatoes, white wine, and capers. Preparing salmon this way perfect for a quick and and easy midweek meal, and elegant enough for company.
And, by the way, it tastes great! How could it not, with these ingredients, right?
The tomato onion caper sauce hits all the notes—sweet from the tomatoes and onions, salty from the capers, tang from the tomatoes, lemon juice, and wine, and a dash of bitter from the lemon zest.
You make the sauce first, then rest the fillets on top of it, partly submerged, simmer, cover and cook. The dish takes maybe 10 minutes to prep and only 25 to cook.
Recipe and photos updated, first published 2005
If fresh tomatoes aren't in season, use a 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes.
Don't use wine in cooking? Just sub with more water and an additional 2 teaspoons of lemon juice.
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
- 2 large fresh tomatoes, diced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp of capers, drained
- 1 teaspoon of chopped jalapeño peppers (no seeds, no stem, no ribs) either fresh or pickled
- 1/3 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup water
- Salt and pepper
- 2 fresh salmon fillets, 1/2 lb each
1 Sauté the onions and garlic: In a large, wide (at least 12 inches wide) saucepan (one that comes with a cover), heat olive oil on medium heat.
Add the onion and cook, stirring regularly, until just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
2 Add tomatoes, thyme, lemon zest and juice, capers, jalapeño, salt, pepper: Raise the heat to medium-high and add the tomatoes, thyme, lemon zest, lemon juice, capers, and jalapeño peppers.
Simmer for 10 minutes, adding a little water if needed to prevent the sauce from getting too dry. Salt and pepper to taste.
3 Add wine and water: Add 1/3 a cup of white wine - a simple Chardonnay will work. Add 1/4 cup of water. Bring to a simmer.
4 Add salmon fillets, cover and cook: Place the fillets in the pan on top of the sauce, skin side down, if the fillets are still in their skin. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low.
Cook for 4-7 minutes, depending on how thick the cuts of fish are. Poke the fish with a fork and look for doneness. The fish should still be a little rare in the middle, but not raw.
Serve immediately, with tomato sauce generously applied.