Ina Garten's Salmon with Melting Cherry Tomatoes Is So Good, One Fan Says, "My Family Did Backflips Over This"
The more we learn about salmon the more we love it. In addition to being widely available and one of the healthiest fish to eat, salmon also packs anti-inflammatory benefits, can help your skin glow, boost brain health and even improve heart health.
Not to mention the fact that it's totally tasty! But if we're supposed to eat at least two servings per week, per the American Heart Association's dietary recommendations, it can be challenging to find new yet still nutritious ways to cook it each time.
Coming to the rescue this weekend, as she has for us many times before, is none other than Ina Garten. Her ultra-easy Salmon and Melting Cherry Tomatoes had us practically sprinting to the supermarket to round up the total of six ingredients required to bring it to life (and to the table).
In addition to being part of an episode of Barefoot Contessa: Modern Comfort Food that aired on Saturday morning on Food Network, this Ina Garten recipe is from her classic cookbook Barefoot Contessa Foolproof (buy it: $17.14, Amazon).
"Jeffrey [Ina's husband of 53 years] and I like salmon, so I'm always looking for new ways to do it," Garten says as she kicks off the demonstration on the episode. While brushing the tops of four 8-ounce salmon fillets with "good olive oil," she explains, "I'm going to cook salmon pretty much the way I cook steaks. I'm going to sear it, then finish it in the oven. It comes out perfectly every time."
Season the salmon with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then sear in a preheated cast-iron skillet (5 minutes over high heat should do the trick!) with the skin side facing up.
"Leave it, without moving it, for 3 minutes," Garten says.
While that cooks, it's time to focus on the ultra easy sauce. In a medium sauté pan over medium-low heat, sauté 1 cup of chopped Vidalia (or any other sweet) onion, for 5 minutes until tender but not quite golden brown. Add 2 minced garlic cloves—"mmm…that's a great way to start a sauce," Garten comments as she smells, smiles and stirs the mixture. Toss in 2 cups of halved cherry tomatoes, more salt and pepper and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Stir every so often until the liquid evaporates and "the tomatoes start to disintegrate and get really soft," Garten advises.
It's time for a skillet shift: After just 3 minutes of searing, flip the salmon. (The high temp of the preheated pan not only helps you score a crisp exterior, she explains, but also keeps the fish from sticking.) Now that the skin side is down, pop the skillet in the oven and roast at 425 degrees for 8 minutes.
Remove the skillet from the oven, then transfer the salmon to a platter. Cover it with foil and allow the fish to rest for 5 minutes. "Just like meat, all of the juices get back into the salmon," Garten says.
Hop back to the skillet of sauce, and at this point, the tomatoes should be living up to their "melting" moniker. Fold in julienned fresh basil leaves, remove the pan from the heat and finish with a splash of balsamic vinegar. Spoon the sweet-tart, five-ingredient, so-good-it-will-make-you-melt topping over the salmon and dinner is ready.
Five staple ingredients (tomatoes, onions, garlic, basil and balsamic) are all that's required to turn simple salmon into a dish that has fans claiming "my family did backflips over this," and "I'll be making this forever."
Whether you make it forever or just for tonight, score the Salmon and Melting Cherry Tomatoes recipe here. And if you'd rather reserve this for summer when fresh tomatoes are at their peak, try our springy Spice-Seared Salmon with Greek-Style Green Beans first for a similar finished product with pantry staple canned tomatoes. Craving more ways to spice up your seafood repertoire? Check out our 37 best salmon recipes to make for dinner.