Salmon with Tomato, Onions, and Capers


Every year in mid September, my friend Jim organizes a group of his friends to go salmon fishing off the coast of Marin, north of San Francisco. For the second year in a row, I didn’t a catch a fish; Jim however was luckier, and I lucky to be his friend as I got to take some gorgeous salmon home with me. Here is how we cooked it up today – poached in a tomato, onion, lemon, and caper sauce.

Salmon with Tomato, Onions, and Capers Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 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.

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Showing 4 of 9 Comments

  • Lisa

    This was great! I was looking for a last minute switch to salmon (from tri tip!) and of course checked here first! I had everything but the tomatoes so I used a can of diced and kept everything the same except didn’t add the water; excellent! Served with risotto in the pressure cooker and homemade bread and everyone raved! Thank you sooo much for all the raves I’ve been awarded since finding your site!

  • Vee

    Great and tasty meal will be cooking again.

  • Stephanie

    This was wonderful. I made it for my family and my picky grandma was here and I was convinced she wouldn’t like it, she loved it! Thanks for the recipe

  • Don'Avonne

    I really do love this recipe. I make it for all my guest.. I even made it once for one of my friends mother from Germany. and she loved it so much she begged me (hardly speaking English) for the recipe. she kept the left over tomato sauce from the salmon to put on a baguette the morning after. Thank you so much for this Recipe.

  • Holly

    I made this the other night and it was really good!

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