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

david caricature

Why Our Testers Loved This

There’s a whole bunch of reasons our recipe testers enjoyed this healthy salmon and tomato recipe. They all agreed that it was “fast and easy to make” and “produced some of the best-tasting, moistest salmon” they’ve ever had.

Pat Francis joined in with her comment, “This is a quick and easy weeknight dish that bursts with flavor and looks beautiful on the plate.”

What You’ll Need to Make This

  • Wild salmon–Farmed salmon or arctic char will also both work well here. It’s important for the fillets to be equal in thickness so that they cook evenly. Aim for about 3/4-inch thick.
  • Cherry tomatoes–The multicolored variety is visually stunning, but regular red ones will work nicely, too. If you can’t get cherry tomatoes, cocktail or grape tomatoes could be substituted.

How to Make This Recipe

  1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Season the salmon with salt and pepper and sear in an oven-proof skillet, skin side down, for 2 minutes.
  2. Finish cooking the salmon. Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook to your desired degree of doneness. Remove from the oven and transfer the salmon to serving plates.
  3. Make the tomato mixture. While the salmon is roasting, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a cast-iron skillet. Brown the garlic lightly, then stir in the tomatoes and cook until blistered.
  4. Serve the salmon. Stir in the basil, shallots, and season with salt and pepper. Serve the tomato mixture alongside the salmon.

Common Questions

Can I make this with a different type of fish?

Yes. You can make this with salmon, arctic char, or wild bass, as indicated in the recipe. This technique could also be applied to other types of fish, such as cod, halibut, or trout, although you may need to adjust the cooking time slightly.

How can I tell when my fish is done?

Although you can enjoy salmon while still slightly translucent in the center, to be completely cooked through, the fish should flake easily when prodded with a fork and have an internal temperature of 140°F (60°C).

What should I serve this with?

A starchy side, such as steamed rice, couscous, crusty bread, or creamy mashed potatoes would make a great accompaniment to sop up any extra tomato juices.

Helpful Tips

  • If you don’t like the intensity and flavor of raw shallots, add them to the skillet along with the tomatoes.
  • Leftover salmon can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Rewarm in a skillet over medium heat or in a 350°F oven until heated through.
  • Leftover cooked salmon can be used to make salmon cakes, or mixed with a little mayo or Greek yogurt to make salmon salad.
  • This recipe is suitable for gluten-free or dairy-free diets.

More Great Salmon Recipes

Write a Review

If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

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

Salmon with Cherry Tomatoes

5 from 1 vote
This salmon with blistered cherry tomatoes is quick, easy to make, and healthy. In other words, perfect weeknight fare.
David Leite
Servings4 servings
Calories413 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Total Time20 minutes


  • 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.


  1. Cook the shallots–If you don’t like the intensity and flavor of raw shallots, add them to the skillet along with the tomatoes.
  2. Storage and reheating–Leftover salmon can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Rewarm in a skillet over medium heat or in a 350°F oven until heated through.
  3. Leftover ideas–Leftover cooked salmon can be used to make salmon cakes, or mixed with a little mayo or Greek yogurt to make salmon salad.
  4. Dietary–This recipe is suitable for gluten-free or dairy-free diets.
The New Way to Cook Light

Adapted From

The New Way to Cook Light

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 413 kcalCarbohydrates: 18 gProtein: 38 gFat: 22 gSaturated Fat: 3 gMonounsaturated Fat: 11 gCholesterol: 94 mgSodium: 552 mgFiber: 3 gSugar: 10 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2012 Cooking Light. Photo © 2012 John Autry. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

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.

This salmon with cherry tomatoes 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 salmon and tomato 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.

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 alongside 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.

Salmon and tomatoes 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 melting 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 salmon with cherry tomatoes 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, salmon with cherry tomatoes 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.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  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.