Seared Salmon with Balsamic Glaze and Watercress

January 22nd, 2009 by megan · 12 Comments

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Sometimes cooking dinner is like going to the gym. I know I should just get off the couch and do it, and I’ll feel so much better afterward. This is the perfect dish for when you’re in a I-know-I-should-cook-dinner-but-I-kinda-don’t-feel-like-it mood. It takes slightly less than 10 minutes. I got my hot little hands on some wild Alaskan salmon (really, don’t bother with farmed salmon. It’s yuck.) and the peppery bite of the watercress meshes well with the sweet balsamic glaze (arugula would be nice, too). Try to select fillets that are of even thickness so they cook evenly throughout.

This recipe is based on one in the Gourmet cookbook.

Seared Salmon with Balsamic Glaze and Watercress

Seared Salmon with Balsamic Glaze and Watercress


For the Salmon:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Four 4-ounce wild Alaskan salmon fillets with skin
Salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Watercress:
1 large bunch watercress, large stems removed, washed and dried well
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 of a lemon lemon or lime (use what you use in the balsamic glaze)
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Serves: 2-4 (one to two fillets per person)


For the Salmon:

  1. In a small bowl, mix the vinegar, water, brown sugar, and lemon or lime juice.
  2. Dry the salmon very, very well with paper towels (this is critical!). Salt and pepper the flesh side of the fillets. Don’t be afraid to season the fish well – I used a very generous pinch of kosher salt per fillet.
  3. In a large non-stick pan, heat the olive oil over high heat until it is very hot (but not smoking). Add the salmon fillets skin side up and sear 2-3 minutes for medium rare (this will depend on the thickness of your fish – my fillets were about an inch and a half thick), or longer for medium (even longer for well-done).
  4. Gently flip the fillets and sear on the skin-side for another 1-2 minutes (for medium rare).
  5. Remove the salmon fillets to a plate.
  6. Very carefully add the vinegar mixture to the pan – it will sputter and splatter, so be careful! Boil over high heat until the sauce has reduced to a medium-thick glaze (reduce by about 1/3).

For the Watercress:

  1. In a medium bowl, toss the watercress, the olive oil, the salt, and the pepper.
  2. Add a few squeezes of lemon or lime juice. Taste and correct for salt and acid.

To Plate:

  1. Place a piece (or two, if you’re hungry!) of salmon on a plate. Top with the balsamic glaze and a pile of the dressed watercress.


Hillary Jan 23, 2009 at 12:31 pm

Oh wowww. That glaze looks incredible. Definitely going to switch it up from my favorite salmon recipefor this one!

Carrie Jan 23, 2009 at 1:45 pm

This looks really great. The balsamic glaze seems like it would pair perfectly with salmon. Yum!

megan Jan 23, 2009 at 1:47 pm

that glaze is also super good with steak – esp. cuts like hangar

MsGourmet Jan 23, 2009 at 6:29 pm

great summer food – delicious!

The Duo Dishes Jan 23, 2009 at 9:03 pm

Very versatile glaze. We’d like to try it on tempeh.

Marc @ NoRecipes Jan 24, 2009 at 1:32 am

I used think I hated salmon because the farmed stuff is all my mom every bought. I’ve since been enlightened and love it now. I think it has to do with what they eat that gives the wild ones their nice color and flavour.

Seared Salmon with Balsamic Glaze and Watercress - Gossip Rocks Forum Jan 24, 2009 at 8:25 am

[...] hungry!) of salmon on a plate. Top with the balsamic glaze and a pile of the dressed watercress. Seared Salmon with Balsamic Glaze and Watercress | Brooklyn Farmhouse __________________ My choice early in life was either to be a piano-player in a [...]

Blogwatch: Seared Salmon with Balsamic Glaze : Easy Idiot - get better knowledge Feb 19, 2009 at 3:23 pm

[...] to admit that I’m in this mood just about every other day when I get home from work, so this seared salmon with balsamic glaze and watercress jumped out at me. Confession: Until recently, I hated salmon with a passion. It was on my death [...]

Mark’s Link Blog » links for 2009-02-19 Feb 20, 2009 at 1:03 am

[...] Seared Salmon with Balsamic Glaze and Watercress | Brooklyn Farmhouse (tags: recipes seafood vinegar) [...]

Katy Feb 24, 2009 at 10:23 am

I made this last night and it was SO EASY and absolutely DELICIOUS!!! Thanks for the post!

todonacho Oct 15, 2012 at 7:19 pm

Very nice simple recipe. My kids loved it.

Willeka Cox Dec 17, 2012 at 4:14 am

I have to say I found this recipe about a month ago and have used the glaze a couple of times since with Australian Tasmanian salmon and it is divine! Love, love, love it! Yum! With or without the watercress it is amazing. Thank you!

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