Seared Salmon with Sautéed Garlic Swiss Chard and Tarragon Pan Sauce

Salmon is one of my staples because it is easy to make, has a delicious flavor, and contains a multitude of nutrients and vitamins! This dish of seared salmon and garlic chard is a healthy and straightforward weeknight dinner that's all made in one pan! It's lovely in warm weather, as it's topped with a delicate and fresh tarragon sauce that just screams spring/summer:)
tarragon salmon on a plate ready to serve

Below are the ingredients

Salmon: Salmon and salmon skin has so many fantastic health benefits and nutrients; you’ll want to have this fish in your dinner line-up at least once a week!This fish has excellent essential omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins d and b. These nutrients help create healthy hair, skin, and nails. Salmon is also rich in protein, potassium, and selenium. Selenium is a rich antioxidant that is touted to prevent cancer and heart disease. Salmon also contains astaxanthin, which combats bad cholesterol and helps reduce inflammation. In this recipe, I used a luscious King Salmon. Even though this fish is more expensive than Atlantic, it has an amazingly rich and rounded taste. 

Swiss Chard: Swiss chard contains a multitude of antioxidants and fiber. I love this leafy green because it is so beautiful and so easy to sauté in seconds. In this recipe, I chose to separate the stems from the greens when cooking. I did this because the stems take longer to cook. However, if you are in a real hurry and don’t want to do this extra step, you can simply rough chop the vegetables and sauté them together. 

Garlic: In this recipe, I thinly slice garlic on a Japanese mandolin.As many of you know from my cooking style, this is one of my most favorite tools! Just be careful of your fingers. But thinly sliced garlic is lovely in this recipe because you can see it, and taste it in the greens when done. I also think it’s much easier to slice than mince. 

Lemon: Citrus is a definite must with seafood! It helps to brighten the sauce and add the perfect amount of acidity that cuts through the buttery salmon. 

White Wine: I use white wine in this recipe to deglaze the pan after cooking the salmon. The wine is used to lift the brown bits, in French, called “the sucs” or “fond” from the pan’s bottom when cooking the fish. These are little bits of caramelized sugar from the salmon. I add the white wine and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release these bits from the pan and into the sauce. 

Butter: An excellent quality butter will make all the difference to this dish. Very little butter is used, so I recommend using exceptional quality, to bring out the most desirable flavor into the salmon and sauce. For cooking, I always use unsalted butter. I like to have full control over the amount of salt I’m adding. I would use salted butter for things like topping toast, scones, pastries, etc. 

Tarragon:Tarragon is one of those herbs that I always forget to use, but when I do, I am thrilled that I did. It is delicate, floral, and provides an exquisite light licorice-like taste. It’s an herb that makes me feel like I’m in the French rolling countryside in the warmth of Spring or Summer. You don’t need much in the sauce to create a distinct flavor profile. 

ingredients for seared salmon: salmon, butter, chard, tarragon, garlic and white wine

Tips to achieving that perfect crispy salmon skin:

  • Make sure your pan is smoking hot.
  • When you coat it with oil, the oil should glisten and shimmer before adding the salmon.
  • The salmon should be properly seasoned on the skin and flesh with salt and pepper.
  • Add the salmon to the pan, skin-side down over moderately high heat.
  • DO NOT TOUCH THE SALMON! This is very important. The salmon skin will not achieve a golden brown if it is disengaged from the heat source. Thus, if you move the fish around, flip it, etc., you will be moving it from the heat source.
  • Also, a trick, when the salmon skin is cooking, add a pat of butter to the pan. Butter=browns! This will help you achieve the most beautiful skin.
  • So, when do you flip? The answer is…I don’t.
  • In the recipe below, I show you how to:
    • Sear the skin on high heat.
    • Once the skin is brown, reduce the heat to moderate-low to continue to cook the salmon. This is where you add the addition of wine and the 1/3 rd. of the sliced garlic to the pan.
    • Tilt the pan, having the hot liquid closest to the heat source, and use a spoon to continuously baste the garlic wine over the top of the salmon. This hot liquid will cook the top of the salmon and give it a fantastic flavor.
  • I like my salmon medium-rare, so I base it until the flesh is firm to the touch but tender on the inside.
  • If you are uncomfortable with this basting technique, you can always pop your salmon pan in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 6-8 minutes to finish cooking the inside of the salmon. You can choose your desired consistency for the salmon. Remember, the less time in the oven; the more tender your salmon flesh will be.
  • Finishing the pan sauce:
  • Once you achieve your desired temperature for the salmon, carefully remove it from the pan and reserve.
  • Allow the pan liquid to come to a boil, and then turn off the heat. Add one more additional pat of butter and stir until it melts into the sauce. This will help emulsify the sauce and give it a gloriously rounded finish. Add the chopped tarragon, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Remove the sauce from the pan, place it in the desired vessel, and reserve to top the salmon and greens.
  • Wipe the pan clean.
side shot of seared salmon with chard

Sautéing the Swiss chard:

  • As stated above, I separate the stems from the greens. I do this because the stems take slightly longer to cook. Separate your remaining sliced garlic into two piles.
  • Rough chop both the stems and the leafy greens and thinly slice the garlic.
  • Using the same sauté pan that was just wiped clean, place it over moderate heat and coat with olive oil.
  • Sauté the stems first half of the sliced garlic for 1-2 minutes and season to taste with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and toss the stems with two teaspoons of fresh lemon juice.
  • Coat the pan with about one tablespoon of olive oil and place again over moderate heat. Add in all the greens and the remaining sliced garlic and use tongs to continuously work them around the pan until they are wilted about 30-60 seconds. Season to taste with salt and pepper toss with one teaspoon fresh lemon juice.
  • Sear a couple of slices of lemon for an extra added garnish!
seared salmon on a plate on a bed of chard with lemon slices


  • Portion the salmon by carefully slicing. Plate each dish by laying down the Swiss chard stem, then the greens, and then adding the salmon skin-side up, and topping with the sauce. 
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Close- Up Plated Tarragon Salmon

Seared Salmon with Sautéed Garlic Swiss Chard and Tarragon Pan Sauce

Salmon has such an exquisite flavor, and I love crispy salmon skin! The skin holds so many fantastic health benefits and is oh so delicious when cooked right. This salmon is complemented by simple sautéed swiss chard with garlic and a tarragon pan sauce. The best part…you can make everything in one pan, in under 25 minutes!
Prep Time 8 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes
Course Dinner, Seafood
Cuisine Italian-Japanese
Servings 4 people
Calories 419 kcal



  • 1 ½ lbs salmon
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (divided into thirds)
  • ¼ cup fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Swiss Chard

  • 4 bunches rainbow swiss chard, stems and leaves separatedand roughly chopped
  • of the thinly sliced garlic, divided into two piles
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste



  • Season the salmon flesh and skin with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a large sauté pan over moderate heat and coat with oil.
  • Place the salmon into the pan, skin-side down, and cook the salmon for 2-3 minutes.
  • Check the salmon skin, add 1 tablespoon of butter, and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes until the skin is a beautiful brown color.
  • Reduce the heat to low, and add the white wine and 1/3rd of the sliced garlic.
  • Tilt the pan, so the salmon is slightly raised from the heat, and the liquid is in direct contact with heat. Use a spoon and continuously baste the hot garlic wine liquid over the top of the salmon to cook the flesh.
  • Continue this process for 4-5 minutes, until the salmon’s flesh is cooked, but still tender.
  • NOTE: if you are uncomfortable with this step, you can place the salmon into a 350-degree Fahrenheit oven for 4-5 minutes, after the skin has been browned, to finish cooking the salmon.
  • Remove the salmon from the pan and reserve.
  • Turn the heat back up to moderate, to have the liquid come to a boil. Turn off the heat, add 2 tablespoons of butter, and continuously stir until the butter has fully melted into the sauce.
  • Add the tarragon, lemon juice, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Remove the sauce from the pan to a vessel and wipe the pan clean. Reserve the sauce for the salmon.

Swiss Chard

  • Heat the cleaned sauté pan over moderate heat and coat with oil.
  • Add the stems and half of the garlic to the pan. Move the stems around with tongs and cook for 1-2 minutes, just until the stems are tender.
  • Add 1 teaspoon lemon juiceand season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Transfer to a plate andwipe the pan clean.
  • Heat the pan again over moderate heat and coat with oil.
  • Add the greens and the remaining garlic to the pan. Constantly move the greens around with your tongs until they have wilted about 1 minute.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To Plate

  • Place a spoonful of stemsonto a plate and top with greens.
  • Place a portion of salmon over the greens and top with a heaping spoonful of sauce.


Calories: 419kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 40gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 116mgSodium: 720mgPotassium: 2123mgFiber: 5gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 18813IUVitamin C: 96mgCalcium: 227mgIron: 8mg
Keyword salmon recipes, seared salmon, seared salmon recipe
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About Sarah
Sarah blair

Adding a generous dose of enthusiasm, excitement, and creativity to the culinary world, Sarah began her career at the French Culinary Institute in NYC. Sarah has worked for the past decade as a Culinary Producer and Food Stylist.

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