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Seared Salmon with Warm Escarole Salad

Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Dairy Free
  • Pescatarian
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Big Kids Plate
Toddler Plate

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Why we love it:

This salad is a bit like a warmer, faster, wintery Caesar salad. Even if you think you dislike anchovies, they melt into the dressing and just add saltiness. Escarole is underused we think, but it’s beautiful for lightly wilting and serving with these other rich flavors, giving you a simple yet very elegant meal


  • Crusty Bread (country style, ½ a loaf - about 8 ounces)
  • 7 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (divided)
  • 12 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 12 teaspoon Black Pepper (freshly ground)
  • 114 pounds Salmon (in 4 filets)
  • 1 teaspoon Unsalted Butter
  • 2 cloves Garlic (coarsely chopped)
  • Anchovy (1 – 2 filets packed in oil)
  • 14 Tablespoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 Tablespoons White Wine Vinegar (or more)
  • 1 head Escarole (large)

Cooking Instructions

  • 1. PREHEAT OVEN TO 350°F
  • 2. BREAD

    Remove crust, and tear bread into 1" pieces (go for about 5 cups. Save the crust and make breadcrumbs!).

    Toss bread and 3 Tablespoons oil on a large rimmed baking sheet, squeezing bread so it absorbs oil evenly; season with salt and pepper. Spread out bread pieces in an even layer and bake, tossing occasionally, until crisp on the outside but still chewy in the center, 10 – 15 minutes. Let croutons cool.

  • 3. SALMON

    Dry each filet and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Melt butter in a large heavy skillet, and sear top, rounded side down (unless you have skin, then see Culinary Skills section first). Cook over medium-high for about 5 minutes, then carefully flip and cook another 4 - 6 minutes or until the salmon is cooked medium - that is just barely opaque and it will be very flaky.


    Meanwhile, heat remaining 4 Tablespoons oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, until golden, about 2 minutes. Add anchovies and, using a spoon, mash into oil. Add red pepper flakes and remove skillet from heat. Add vinegar, scraping up any bits; season vinaigrette with salt and pepper.

  • 5. SERVING

    Just before serving, toss escarole, croutons and warm vinaigrette in a large bowl until escarole is slightly wilted; season with salt, pepper. Serve with a filet of salmon, extra vinaigrette spooned over top.

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    GF bread makes great croutons here! Or omit and use a roasted vegetable, something like squash or cauliflower would be nice
    it’s really key! But if you must, use 1 teaspoon soy sauce or oyster sauce and possibly more salt too
    any hearty bitter green that’s also good raw: try kale, collards, full grown spinach, radicchio
    any seared fish

Kid Friendly Version

Big Kids Plate
Toddler Plate

How to Tweak This Recipe for Kids:

  • Cook salmon then flake it into pieces. You can offer some escarole, but I’d have a back up veggie on the plate too - perhaps leftovers or something easy to steam or roast like broccoli, carrots, peas, or edamame

For Toddlers

  • Mash salmon a bit. If you have rice or noodles, consider adding them, to the plate
  • Add an easier vegetable though you can offer escarole, many kids struggle with the texture of leafy greens and a bit of the bitterness

For Choosy Eaters

  • Sear a piece of chicken, white fish, or some shrimp if salmon isn’t it a favorite, but do offer 1 small flake of it on their plate to normalize it
  • Make sure there’s a side veggie they’ll try, keep it easy with something you can steam or raw vegetables. Offer bread as a slice or a pile of crunchy croutons

Prep Ahead & Use It Up

  1. Croutons and vinaigrette can be made and escarole can be prepped 1 day ahead
  2. Store croutons wrapped airtight at room temperature
  3. Let vinaigrette cool; cover and chill. Gently reheat vinaigrette before using

Culinary Skills

If you have skin and want to serve it, sear salmon over high heat with the skin side down first. Cook until it fully crisps up, about 5 – 7 minutes, then carefully flip and cook the other side without browning, just until it’s cooked through. Serve on the plate with the skin side up.

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