Pan-Seared King Salmon with Tarragon Butter


Pan-seared king salmon is an easy, delicious, near fool-proof way to enjoy one of the prime fish of the Pacific Northwest. Tarragon butter adds an extra fall-flavored flavor burst.

Pan-Seared King Salmon
Pan-Seared King Salmon

Heat a medium non-stick cast-iron frying over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter.

Place your salmon fillet skin side up. Sear for about two to three minutes.

Flip the fillet and let it cook for eight or so minutes. Then add a splash of chicken stock, wine or water and cover with another inverted pan to steam. Let it steam for another minute or so.

Invert a second frying pan
Invert a second frying pan

Remove the lid, add a tablespoon or so of tarragon butter (butter with tarragon mashed into it) and replace the lid. Let this cook for another minute or so, with the heat off.

The salmon’s done when it’s pink and the flesh starts to separate. Be sure not to let it cook too long!

Salmon's Done!
Salmon’s Done!

We enjoyed ours with kabocha risotto with tarragon and leeks (recipe coming soon!)

Pan-Seared King Salmon with Tarragon Butter
Pan-Seared King Salmon with Tarragon Butter


  • fillet of salmon (approx. 8 oz), skin on
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • splash of chicken stock, white wine or water
  • fresh tarragon leaves


Published by

Seattle Foodshed

Gardening, foraging, exploring and cooking. Time for a delicious adventure.

6 thoughts on “Pan-Seared King Salmon with Tarragon Butter”

  1. Sounds delish! I love tarragon and salmon but never had it so imply and quickly prepared. Although living in Scotland we mainly get Atlantic salmon I do lookout for Pacific as it is known to have less PCBs and dioxin. The tinned wild Pacific salmon is also a great pantry staple of ours.

    1. This is why I love blogs! It’s so interesting to hear what folks around the world are doing with similar dishes. I’ve never had Atlantic salmon – does it taste similar to Pacific, do you know? And this technique is so handy for many types of fish. Plus you feel like a real chef when you invert one frying pan on top of another. 🙂

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