Crispy Salmon with Steamed Bok Choy and Basil-Caper Relish

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Crispy Salmon with Steamed Bok Choy and Basil-Caper Relish
  • Yield:serves 4
  • Active time:30 minutes
  • Total time:30 minutes
  • Rated: 5.0
This recipe appears in:
The Food Lab: How to Pan-Fry Salmon Filets

[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.

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  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained, rinsed, and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pitted kalamata or taggiasche olives
  • 1 small shallot, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 thai bird or serrano pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 scallions, finely sliced
  • 3 anchovy filets, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 skin-on salmon filets, about 6 ounces each
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds baby bok choy, leaves cleaned and rinsed, but not dried


  1. 1.

    Combine capers, olives, shallots, peppers, basil, scallion, anchovy, honey, lemon juice, and vinegar in a medium bowl. Whisking constantly, add olive oil in a thin steady stream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside

  2. 2.

    Press salmon filets between paper towels to dry surfaces thoroughly. Season on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add salmon filets skin side-down. Immediately reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, pressing gently on back of filets to ensure good contact with skin, until skin is rendered and crisp, about 6 minutes. If skin shows resistance when attempting to lift with a spatula, allow it to continue to cook until it lifts easily.

  3. 3.

    Flip salmon and cook on second side until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 120°F for medium rare or 130°F for medium, about 1 minute longer. Transfer salmon to a paper towel-lined plate and allow to rest

  4. 4.

    Meanwhile, place bok choy on a large microwave-safe plate and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave on high power until just wilted, about 1 1/2 minutes. Carefully remove plastic (steam will burst out), season to taste with salt and pepper, then transfer to serving platter. Lay salmon on top skin side-up and spoon relish over the salmon. Serve immediately.

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