Salmon with Chokecherry-Citrus Sauce

Salmon Nation refers to the land stretching along the Pacific coast from Alaska to Northern California. Coho salmon once populated the small creeks and large rivers that feed San Francisco Bay and braided a salmon tapestry along the riverine basins of the North Coast Mountains. Salmon is a precious fish relative, an integral part of Indigenous communities in this region, and its protection is an act of resistance. Melissa K. Nelson, chair of The Cultural Conservancy, a nonprofit based in California's Bay Area, shared this recipe featuring wild salmon paired with another food native to North America—chokecherries, a shrub belonging to the rose family. The astringent cherries are commonly made into jellies, preserves and syrups; the latter is used to glaze this salmon. This recipe is part of our spotlight, There's a Movement to Revitalize Indigenous Cuisines and Knowledge—Here's Why That Matters.

a recipe photo of the Chokecherry Salmon
Photo: Nate Lemuel
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
8 hrs 25 mins


  • 4 (6-ounce) skin-on wild salmon fillets

  • 4 lemons, sliced

  • 3 tablespoons chokecherry syrup (see Tip), divided

  • ½ teaspoon kosher or sea salt

  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper

  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil

  • 1 cup fresh orange juice, strained

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cubed

  • Sliced scallion greens or chives for garnish


  1. Place salmon on a baking sheet with 3 lemon slices under and 3 slices on top of each piece. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.

  2. Discard the lemon slices. Brush the flesh of each fillet with 1 teaspoon chokecherry syrup. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

  3. Heat oil in a large cast-iron grill pan or skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the salmon, skin-side up; cook until browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Using a fish spatula, flip the salmon and cook until opaque in the center, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.

  4. Combine orange juice, lemon juice and 2 teaspoons chokecherry syrup in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until reduced to about ⅓ cup, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add butter, whisking until it melts.

  5. Serve the salmon with the sauce. Decoratively dot each plate with a bit of the remaining 1 tablespoon chokecherry syrup. Garnish with scallion greens (or chives), if desired.


Buy chokecherry syrup at Native Harvest.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

438 Calories
26g Fat
16g Carbs
34g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Serving Size 5 oz. salmon & 2 Tbsp. sauce
Calories 438
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 16g 6%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 13g
Added Sugars 6g 12%
Protein 34g 68%
Total Fat 26g 33%
Saturated Fat 9g 45%
Cholesterol 124mg 41%
Vitamin A 549IU 11%
Vitamin C 41mg 46%
Folate 65mcg 16%
Vitamin K 2mcg 2%
Sodium 437mg 19%
Calcium 36mg 3%
Iron 2mg 11%
Magnesium 58mg 14%
Potassium 992mg 21%
Vitamin B12 5mcg 208%
Omega 3 4g

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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