Lemon Pepper Salmon (seared salmon with a lemon & pepper sauce)

February 28, 2021

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Fish with lemon pepper seasoning was a staple of my childhood. Growing up in Idaho, all summer long we’d dine on fresh-caught river trout, cooked in a pan with that familiar shaker of McCormmick lemon pepper (still one of my favorite things to have for breakfast). But year round, the same would be applied to fish of every kind, especially salmon.

I love taking something so familiar, and making it new – and this dish is one of those. The sauce is tangy, rich, and sweet. Salmon, perfectly cooked. Served atop a creamy cauliflower & potato puree, this is a combo that’ll make you see all your previous favorites in a whole new light.

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Lemon Pepper Salmon (salmon with lemon & pepper sauce)

A take on the classic, made new and even more delicious.
Course: Main Course
Servings: 4


For the salmon

  • 4 portions uncooked salmon
  • TT salt
  • TT black pepper
  • olive oil

For the puree

  • 2 cups diced russet potatoes peeled
  • 3 cups diced cauliflower
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1 large garlic clove smashed, stem cut off and discarded
  • 1/4 cup mayo or vegan mayo to make it egg/dairy free
  • 2 tbsp melted butter or vegan butter to make it dairy free
  • reserved cooking liquid

For the sauce

  • 1 cup roasted red peppers roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice fresh squeezed
  • 1 clove garlic mashed, stem cut off and discarded
  • 1/3 cup olive oil extra virgin
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp coarse black pepper
  • TT salt

To garnish

  • pea shoots
  • sauteed mushrooms


For the puree

  • Add 4 quarts of water to a large pot with the salt and bring to a boil. Add the garlic clove, potatoes, and cauliflower. Reduce heat to a gentle boil, and cook for 20 minutes. Strain the water out, reserving about 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
  • Add the cooked ingredients, along with the melted butter and mayo, to a blender. Blitz until smooth - if it's too thick, add some of the cooking liquid 1 tbsp at a time until proper consistency is reached. Should be thinner than mashed potatoes, but not watery in any way. Taste and season with salt if needed.

For the sauce

  • In a pan on low heat, warm the olive oil with the smashed garlic clove until it just starts to sizzle. Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Add all the ingrdients to a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.

For the salmon

  • Season the salmon generously with salt and pepper on all sides. Heat a pan on the stove over medium heat. Add the olive oil, then the salmon skin-side down and cook for about 10 minutes. Watch the sides of the salmon - when it looks cooked a little more than halfway up the side, flip and finish for a couple minutes.


  • On a plate, add a scoop of the puree and spread it out in a circle. Lay the salmon on top, skin-side up. Add the sauce (if you plan to eat the salmon skin, add the sauce around the salmon instead to keep the skin crisp) and finish with pea shoots and sauteed mushrooms. Serve warm.

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What do you think?

  1. Merideth says:

    5 stars
    This was great! Even my picky kids liked it! I used an Emerson blender to cut down on dishes and it worked great! Also learned how to roast my own peppers since my store was out.

  2. Dianne says:

    I’m printing this now to try ASAP. Can you clarify the TT salt and TT pepper measurement in the sauce please? Is that 1 Tablespoon of each or 1 teaspoon????


  3. Hannah says:

    Yummm! Waited all of last week for this! I want to try making this today. Did you post the video from Instagram anywhere?
    Can I sub red peppers for orange and yellow? Or are they too sweet in comparison to the red?

    • Chris says:

      You can use any pepper you’d like! If it doesn’t end up sweet enough, just add a little more honey. Would love to know what you think!

  4. Jill says:

    Yes please!
    This may be my favorite recipe you have posted, after your steak tacos, of course.
    I’m on it.
    Thanks so much!

  5. Sarah says:

    Quick question. When making the sauce do you heat all the ingredients in the pan first with olive oil and garlic then add to blender? Or do I add the raw ingredients to the blender then added the heated oil and garlic. I feel a little silly but I don’t think I understood that part completely…
    Thanks you for taking the time to clarify this for me.
    Super excited to try this recipe!

    • Chris says:

      I only warm up the garlic in the oil – to get rid of the harshness. Everything else goes in as-is (the peppers I usually buy pre-roasted and peeled, in the jar).

  6. Ellen says:

    Looks so delicious! Do you have any recommendations for a mayo alternative?

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