Salmon with Blistered Cherry Tomatoes

This salmon with blistered cherry tomatoes is quick, easy to make, and healthy. In other words, perfect weeknight fare.

A white plate topped with a piece of cooked salmon with blistered cherry tomatoes, shallots, and fresh basil.

The fish is seared to create a beautiful browned crust, then finished in the oven. You can substitute arctic char from the northern seas, available only for a few weeks in late summer, when the ice has melted enough for fishermen to reach them. Fresh arctic char is a sought-after delicacy, one that will cost you. If you can find it, it’s worth the splurge.–The Editors of Cooking Light

LC Details, Details, Details Note

The original recipe, dear readers, called expressly for arctic char, which is, indeed, a lovely delicacy. Although to make this recipe more weeknight friendly the year through, we did a little experiment and tried it with salmon as well and were quite, quite content. Do as you please. As to the inevitable question of exactly how long the fish needs to be in the oven, hmmm. If you’ve already read the instructions in this recipe, then you know they are, admittedly, a little noncommittal, although there’s a reason for that. A lot of variables contribute to just how long is perfect when cooking something as delicate as fish, including the type of fish (arctic char and salmon do not need to be cooked through whereas striped bass and other white fish do) and the thickness of your fillets (we recommend fillets that are consistent in size—about 1 inch thick—so they all cook at the same pace). If using arctic char or salmon, natch, another variable is exactly how you prefer your fish cooked (whether squishy pink in the center or firm and opaque throughout). It may take a little educated guesswork, a little peeping inside your fillet with the tip of a knife, evan a little coaxing based on help from our recipe testers’ comments and experiences, which you’ll find beneath the recipe. We think it’ll turn out just fine. Let us know how it goes.

Salmon with Cherry Tomatoes

A white plate topped with a piece of cooked salmon with blistered cherry tomatoes, shallots, and fresh basil.
This salmon with blistered cherry tomatoes is quick, easy to make, and healthy. In other words, perfect weeknight fare.
The Editors of Cooking Light

Prep 15 mins
Cook 5 mins
Total 20 mins
4 servings
413 kcal
5 from 1 vote
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  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 24 oz wild salmon fillets (or substitute arctic char or striped bass)
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves peeled and halved
  • 3 pints multicolored cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced basil leaves
  • 2 shallots thinly sliced


  • Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C).
  • Heat a large ovenproof skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet and swirl to coat. Sprinkle the fillets with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the fillets, skin-side down, to the skillet and sauté for 2 minutes. Place the skillet in the oven until the salmon is the desired degree of doneness, about 3 minutes for medium-rare and up to 8 minutes for well-done, depending on the thickness of your salmon fillets.
  • Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the skillet and swirl to coat. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Increase the heat to medium-high. Add the tomatoes to the skillet and sauté for 2 minutes or until the skins blister, stirring frequently. Remove the skillet from the heat. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, basil, and shallots over the tomato mixture and toss to combine. Spoon the tomato mixture over or alongside the salmon.
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Show Nutrition

Calories: 413kcal (21%)Carbohydrates: 18g (6%)Protein: 38g (76%)Fat: 22g (34%)Saturated Fat: 3g (19%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 6gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 94mg (31%)Sodium: 552mg (24%)Potassium: 1673mg (48%)Fiber: 3g (13%)Sugar: 10g (11%)Vitamin A: 1964IU (39%)Vitamin C: 83mg (101%)Calcium: 76mg (8%)Iron: 4mg (22%)

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This was a simple, delicious recipe that I will certainly make again. Next time I’ll try to make it even more of a one-pan supper by roasting the tomatoes in the oven instead of on the stovetop. I did add a couple more minutes to the cooking time since I wanted my salmon a little more done. (My salmon fillets were about 3/4 inch thick.) The next day I flaked the leftover salmon, mixed in a dollop of mayonnaise, and had a delicious salmon salad.

This recipe produced some of the best-tasting, moistest salmon I’ve ever had, and the tomatoes were wonderful little explosions of sweet tartness. It’s a great weeknight meal as it’s fast and easy. Things do move quickly, so you need to have everything prepped and ready to go, including preheating the skillet for the tomatoes so it’s ready as soon as you put the salmon in the oven. I used salmon fillets that were about ¾ inch thick and it took them about 5 minutes in the oven to be just cooked through.

This is a quick and easy weeknight dish that bursts with flavor and looks beautiful on the plate. I served the fish and multicolored tomatoes over plain white rice, which enhanced the appearance even more. My salmon fillets were about 1/2-inch thick. I wouldn’t change the cooking time for the fish. They were in the oven for the 3 minutes specified and were what I consider cooked through (not rare or medium-rare). It took 7 minutes for the tomatoes to be cooked enough, though, and they could have gone a wee bit longer. My initial inclination was to start them before the salmon, but I followed the recipe. My hunch was right, and I think this would work better in reverse order. I only made 2 salmon fillets but made the entire amount of tomatoes, thinking the tomatoes would be a good accompaniment to other dishes. The proportions for them are correct, and seeing the amount left over, the recipe would be right for 4 fillets total.

When it comes to certain things, I am a purist. Salmon is one of those things. We only eat wild salmon, and when we do, we don’t gild the lily. We had a piece of Copper River salmon which we used for this recipe. Our fillet was 1 1/4-inches thick. We started it skin side down. After 3 minutes we flipped it over for just 1 to 1 1/2 minutes more, because we like our salmon cooked medium rare. The finished product was flaky and very moist. The blistered tomato mixture was wonderful. I took the garlic halves out of the pan after they had flavored the oil. I had questioned whether or not I would care for what I thought would be raw slices of shallot. However, the residual heat from the tomatoes made the shallots soft and sweet. The combination of all of the flavors was wonderful. For the most part, we used this as a side dish for the salmon, since we wanted to taste the salmon on its own also. This dish was great with some nutty orzo served along side it. Not only will I serve the tomato mixture with salmon again, I am thinking of other uses for the blistered cherry tomato mixture. It can be thrown together so easily and so quickly. No recipe really required.

Tomatoes and salmon are a wonderful combination. I loved how the blistered tomatoes were both warm and firm at the same time with a little bit of smokiness from the cast-iron skillet. The salmon I used was a beautiful wild Alaskan salmon, nice firm fillets, with skin on, and about 2-inches thick. I would start it on the stove next time with the skin side down, crisp that up, flip it to the flesh side down for just a little bit, then finish in the oven. It took about 10 minutes in the oven for my fillets to reach medium rare (still quite pink in the middle, which is my favorite way). Now a little note of caution here, don’t grab that pan handle after it comes out of the oven! We are all so used to seeing a skillet on the stove and taking hold of that handle, but once it has come from the oven it is very, very hot. I have a little silicone cuff that fits my skillet that I use just to insure that I don’t do just that. Now onto those yummy tomatoes. I got my skillet quite hot and really blistered the tomatoes. They were really yummy, but I do think next time I’ll add the shallots when I add the garlic for a little longer sauté, and then add the rest of the ingredients. All-in-all, a delicious meal that the whole family devoured.

I made this for my daughter and myself, and I’ll be preparing this again. This is an easy and delicious way to make salmon. It looks great on the plate, too. I’d never thought of serving salmon with tomatoes, garlic, shallots, and basil, but it was fantastic together. I was skeptical about not turning the salmon, but it turned out perfectly browned, moist, and delicious. My salmon was about an inch thick and was perfectly cooked to medium-well after the suggested 3 minutes in the oven. I couldn’t find multicolored tomatoes, but I know a little stand where they grow their own multicolored ones and I’ll be making this again when they are in season.

This was a lovely entree that didn’t taste like it came together quickly. I had 1 inch salmon fillets, which needed almost 4 minutes to sear. Although the recipe didn’t mention it, I flipped the fish over before placing the skillet in the oven. I roasted the salmon for another 4 minutes so that it was mostly cooked but still a bit pink in the center. I added the garlic to the pan as per the recipe but it got too brown while the tomatoes cooked, so I fished the garlic out. After the tomatoes were softened, I added fresh, chopped garlic to the pan and sautéed it for about 30 seconds. I also added the shallots at the same time to gently wilt them, as I dislike them when they’re raw. The tomatoes left a nice fond in the pan, which I would have loved to have deglazed with a splash of wine.

Delicious and simple, this is a perfect meal for a weeknight. I loved the bite of the shallots. My salmon fillet was just over an inch thick and took about 8 minutes in the oven to cook through.

The blistered tomato mixture combined with the salmon filets was delicious. This recipe is very easy and can be made in about 15 minutes. I used salmon filets that were 1 1/4-inches thick. I seared them for 2 minutes and finished them in the oven for another 3 minutes to get them to an internal temperature of 135°F (57°C). With another 5 degrees of carryover cooking while the fillets rested, they were perfectly cooked to medium doneness. I was surprised that the recipe did not say to turn the filets over before putting them in the oven, and as a result, the skin side of filets was a bit less crisp than I like. I didn’t think my taster would like the raw shallots in the garnish and so I took the liberty of adding them to the tomatoes for the last minute of cooking. This gave them more of a caramelized finish rather than a raw “oniony” flavor, which I think was an improvement to an already great recipe.

Salmon with Blistered Cherry Tomatoes was a fast and delicious dish that could easily be used for company. I served this with oven-fried new potatoes on the side. The basil added color and an herbal tone to the side tomatoes. My fillets were 3/4-inch thick at the widest part, and I cooked them to a flakey yet not totally set center (just the way we like salmon). The first side we seared for 2 minutes, then we flipped it and cooked it for 3 1/2 to 4 minutes on the second side. I used a cast-iron skillet for the tomatoes and it did a fantastic job blistering them. We loved the combination of flavors, but I think I’ll add olives to the blistered tomatoes next time. I think that salty tang of the olives would be great with each bite.

Simple to prepare and bursting with flavor. I suggest fillets from the center portion of a side of salmon and are consistent in thickness. Mine were 1/2-inch thick.

This recipe makes a quick, light meal for any day of the week. I chose to use Arctic char instead of salmon. The fish fillets were about 1/2-inch thick and took a total of 8 minutes to cook through until almost opaque in the center (3 minutes to sear the fish before I put it in the oven for another 5 minutes). It was done but not overdone. The assorted mini heirloom tomatoes and the basil make a bright complement. You can taste the garlic without it being overpowering. This is fast, tasty, healthy and something I would make again anytime. This might also be nice if the fish were done in a grill pan and if the tomatoes were finished in the oven while the fish cooked.

This was quick, easy, and tasty. I used one piece of salmon, about an inch thick at the thickest point, and cooked it in a cast iron skillet. I seared it for 2 minutes, transferred it to the oven for 3 minutes, and let it rest in the pan, uncovered, while I cooked the tomatoes. There was some residual cooking in the hot pan. It was perfectly cooked for us. I added the shallots to the tomatoes on the heat for a couple of minutes at the end so they would not taste so raw.

Very easy recipe. Since there are not many ingredients involved, the quality of the fish should be top notch. I used wild King salmon fillets, which worked very well. I was not able to get really good tomatoes, but even with the greenhouse grown variety, this dish turned out to be very nice. The fillet I got was about 1 inch thick. Though I like it glassy—almost rare—in the middle, I had to cook the fish for 7 minutes in the oven as after 3 minutes it was still raw.The tomatoes needed a little bit more time, too. By the time, they were blistered, the garlic was almost burned. Next time, I would add the garlic just seconds before I add the tomatoes. Oh, and I will wait until summer to try the recipe again, when I can get good tomatoes. But it’s a good, easy, straightforward recipe.

Originally published August 06, 2013


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  1. Keep in mind this comment is from the Pacific Northwest Coast, i.e., WA/OR. The fish in this recipe picture is waaaaaay over done. Perhaps it’s Atlantic salmon? In that case, why bother (regional snobbery). If it’s wild-caught, leave it a little pink inside and learn to tell if it’s done by pressing on it with your finger.

    1. Sheila, we were granted permission to use the photo by the book publisher, so we can’t say as to whether it’s Atlantic although we agree that it does miss that lovely orangish rosy hue of proper wild West Coast salmon. As for doneness, we respect how you like yours cooked, and we also respect that others prefer their salmon to flake. Fortunately we can each cook our own to our satisfaction! Thanks for the tip about pressing it with your finger. Hope you love this recipe!

  2. 5 stars
    Nice recipe! Made for a guick easy dinner full of bright flavors. Will make this again. After reading the testers comments, I felt free to follow some ideas so we could make this with the ingredients at home. We were short on tomatoes and fresh basil but it came out great, although we would have enjoyed the full amount of tomatoes and the fresh basil. My garlic browned quickly (guessing my oil was to hot) so I pulled it out of the pan before blistering the tomatoes. Tossed our tomato mixture with some blanched snow peas and served it with orzo. A healthy meal on the table in under 25 minutes from from when I turned the oven on to preheat.

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