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Pan Roasted Salmon with Herbed-Garlicky Tahini and Saffron Onions

Pan Seared Salmon with Herbed Garlicky Tahini and Saffron Onions

I crave salmon and wait all winter long for the season to open. I love the versatility of this healthy wild fish and never even bother with farmed salmon. In this recipe, I paired wild Alaskan salmon with the flavors of the Middle East for a fun twist. 

Both the tahini and onions can be made ahead and the fish cooks super fast so you can get this on the table in no time. 

Once you master cooking fish, you will have the fastest cooking, most versatile and delicious, lean protein at your bidding.  Check out our FISH GUIDE and learn how to choose and cook fish to perfection.

  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 4Servings


Garlicky Tahini

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
  • 2 cups flat-leaf parsley 
  • 1 bunch of scallions, green stems only 
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves 
  • ¼ cup mint leaves 
  • Zest and juice of 3 large lemons 
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled 
  • ½ teaspoon toasted cumin seeds 
  • 1 cup good quality tahini 
  • 2-3 tablespoons water 
  • Kosher salt 
  • Freshly cracked black pepper

Saffron Onions

  • Extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 large Spanish onion, thinly sliced 
  • Pinch of saffron threads 
  • Kosher salt 
  • Freshly ground black pepper 


  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets, skin off and bones removed 
  • Kosher salt 
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 lemon, sliced 


Garlicky Tahini

1. Place a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add evoo, parsley, scallion greens, cilantro, and mint. Sear leaves for 20 seconds 

2. Transfer leaves to blender or food processor. Add lemon zest and juice, garlic, and cumin seeds. Process until a green puree forms. 

3. Strain mixture through a sieve, being sure to press on solids to get as much juice out as possible. 

4. Mix herb and garlic juice with tahini. If tahini gets thick and seizes, add a few teaspoons of water to thin it out. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. 

5. Store sauce, covered, in refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for 1 month. 

Saffron Onions

1. Place a sauté pan, lightly coated with evoo, over medium-high heat. Add onions and saffron, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 to 10 minutes until onions are medium brown and beginning to crisp up on edges. Season with salt and pepper. 


1. Place a medium sauté pan, lightly coated with evoo over medium heat. 

2. Pat dry salmon and season with salt and pepper. 

3. Place fillets, top side down (this is called presentation side because it is the side you see on the plate) and lemon in pan. DON’T TOUCH THE FISH! Let a crispy surface build up while the fish is browning. After about 3 to 5 minutes, gently lift a corner of one fillet. If it’s brown and crispy, flip the fillets over. Remove from the heat and cover. Allow to finish cooking off the heat for 3 minutes more. 

4. To serve, place a mound of onions on serving platter or individual plates. Nestle fish on top of onions and drizzle with tahini sauce. Top with cooked lemon slices.