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You won’t believe how luscious this creamy Tuscan salmon recipe is — it’s one of my favorite fish recipes! The salmon is flaky and tender, the sauce creamy, silky, and cheesy, and the sun-dried tomatoes take it over the top. Crock Pot Tuscan chicken and creamy sun-dried tomato chicken also use similar sauces.
Best of all, this dish is made with simple ingredients and it’s ready in 20 minutes, so while it’s nice enough for guests, it’s easy enough for a simple, healthy dinner. Many creamy garlic sauce recipes use flour or cornstarch as thickeners, but I’ll show you how to make a luscious sauce without them.
Why You’ll Love This Tuscan Salmon Recipe
- Savory and rich dish
- Tender, flaky salmon in a cream sauce
- Common, simple ingredients found at any grocery store
- Ready in 20 minutes
- Delicious and healthy dinner
Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for creamy garlic Tuscan salmon, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Salmon Fillets – Get salmon with the skin on if you can, which makes the dish more flavorful (even if you prefer not to eat the skin). I always get wild-caught salmon, but any kind will work. Learn more about the different types of salmon and how to choose in my baked salmon recipe post.)
- Sea Salt & Black Pepper
- Olive Oil – For sauteing. Avocado oil is also fine to use. I don’t recommend using butter, as it’s not ideal for high-heat cooking.
- Garlic – Use fresh garlic cloves for best flavor, or jarred garlic for convenience.
- Sun-Dried Tomatoes – You can make your own homemade sun-dried tomatoes or buy them. If you buy store-bought, I recommend sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil for the best flavor. If you get dried tomatoes without oil, you’ll need to rehydrate them in oil before using.
- Baby Spinach – Fresh spinach works best here, but if all you have is frozen, you can drain it well and use that instead.
- Heavy Cream – This is the base of the creamy sauce. Full-fat coconut milk works as a substitute, but the dish will still have dairy due to the parmesan cheese.
- Chicken Broth – This adds depth to sauce. You could also use vegetable broth if you prefer, or bone broth for added nutrition.
- Parmesan Cheese – This gives the sauce a savory, rich flavor and also helps to thicken without any flour or cornstarch. (Cheese can be a cornstarch substitute for thickening cream sauces). Use grated cheese, so that it melts easily into the sauce. You can omit the cheese if you really want to, but the sauce will be more runny.
SWAP IDEA: Use fresh cherry tomatoes and basil in place of sun-dried tomatoes and spinach.
How To Make Tuscan Salmon
This section shows how to make creamy Tuscan garlic salmon, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Heat. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat, until shimmering and hot.
- Dry. Use a paper towel to pat the salmon completely dry. Removing moisture helps the salmon brown better and form a beautiful golden crust.
- Season. Season salmon with sea salt and black pepper right before adding to pan. (Doing it right before ensures that the salmon stays dry.
- Sear. Add the fish, skin side down, in a single layer. Use a fish spatula to press down on each fillet for about 10 seconds to prevent curling . Sear until 80-90% opaque. (This is the same method I use for classic pan fried salmon, where I explain this technique in more detail.)
- Finish salmon. Flip salmon fillets and cook until medium. Remove the salmon from the pan and transfer to a plate. Cover with foil to keep warm.
TIP: I recommend searing the salmon to medium, but you can choose how done you like it.
Cook to 125 degrees F (52 degrees C) for medium rare, 130 degrees F (54 degrees C) for medium, or 140 degrees F (60 degrees C) for well done. The best way to check doneness is with a meat thermometer, but you can also flake the fish with a fork to check.
- Cook garlic and tomatoes. To make the Tuscan salmon sauce, start by adding the minced garlic and sun-dried tomatoes to the pan. Saute until garlic is fragrant.
- Add liquids. Add chicken broth and heavy cream. Bring to a boil, then simmer until it starts to thicken.
- Add spinach. Stir spinach into sauce, reduce heat, and cook until wilted.
- Thicken sauce. Stir in parmesan cheese, until smooth and thick.
- Serve. Add the salmon back to the pan, skin side down, and spoon sauce over fish. You can garnish with fresh parsley if you like, but I don’t find it necessary since the spinach and tomatoes already provide a pop of color.
- Store: Keep Tuscan creamy salmon in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
- Reheat: Reheat leftover salmon gently in a hot skillet. Microwaving is not recommended, as the fish will overcook and the skin will become soft, but you can in a pinch.
- Freeze: Freezing is not recommended for this dish, as the dairy in the sauce will change texture during the freezing/thawing process.
What To Serve With Creamy Tuscan Salmon
More Easy Salmon Recipes
If you like this creamy garlic Tuscan salmon recipe, you might also like some of these other easy salmon ideas:
- Large Skillet – This one is a good size for this recipe, plus the hard anodized coating lasts.
- Fish Spatula – This spatula is especially helpful when preparing fish. It makes it easier to flip, plus the longer length is great for pressing over the fish to prevent curling.
- Meat Thermometer – Use a meat thermometer to ensure that your salmon is perfectly cooked each time.
Creamy Tuscan Salmon Recipe
Creamy Tuscan Salmon Recipe (20 Minutes!)
This creamy Tuscan salmon recipe is an impressive meal that takes just 20 minutes. Nice enough for entertaining, easy enough for weeknights!
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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Use paper towels to pat the salmon fillets completely dry – this will ensure even browning.
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed skillet over medium-high heat for 2 minutes, until shimmering and hot. (You can test that it’s hot enough by adding a drop of water to the pan; if it sizzles, the pan is ready.)
Once the pan is hot, right before you are ready to sear the salmon, season both sides with sea salt and black pepper.
Add the fish fillets to the pan in a single layer, skin side down. Use a fish spatula to press down on top of each fillet for the first 10 seconds immediately after adding it to the pan, to prevent curling. Sear, without moving, for 5-6 minutes, until the salmon is 80-90% opaque; only the top will be not quite done.
Use the fish spatula to flip the salmon fillets. Cook the salmon for about 1-2 minutes, until the salmon internal temperature reaches 130 degrees F (54 degrees C), which is done medium.
Remove the salmon to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
Reduce heat to medium. Add the minced garlic and sun-dried tomatoes to the pan. Saute for 1-2 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant.
Add the chicken broth and heavy cream. Bring the sauce to a gentle boil, then simmer for about 5 minutes, until the volume is reduced by 1/4.
Add the spinach and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently, until the spinach is just barely wilted.
Reduce heat to low. Stir in the grated parmesan cheese, stirring constantly, until smooth and melted. (You can add salt and pepper to taste here, but I didn’t find it necessary.)
Return the salmon to the pan, skin side down, and spoon the sauce over the fish. If you like it done more than medium, heat for a few more minutes, until done to your liking.
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Serving size: 1 salmon fillet with sauce
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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