Many moons ago, Patty and I had a salmon dish at a local Boston restaurant that was topped with a simple, creamy, avocado-based sauce. I tried to recreate a similar sauce later at home with several variations of avocado, cream, yogurt, and ranch dressing, but nothing was quite right. It tasted artificial and gross—so I shelved the idea.
Fast forward nearly two years later when I stumbled upon the perfect creamy avocado sauce for pasta. The sauce was made with avocado, garlic, basil, lemon, and olive oil. The dish was fantastic, but the creamy avocado sauce? It was the answer to the equation I was looking for.
Creamy Avocado Sauce
Avocado sauce is the perfect simple sauce for pan-seared salmon. It’s tastes like a combination of pesto and avocado sauce. The foundation of the sauce is fresh avocado, with added cream and olive oil to make the sauce a little thinner. The basil gives the sauce a pesto-like flare and carries a lot of freshness and flavor.
There are a few ways you can make the avocado sauce. I usually use a regular blender, but a Ninja single-serve blender or NutriBullet will do the trick in a pinch.
What’s the Best Way to Cook Salmon?
I recommend pan-searing the salmon (or grilling). Baking salmon is great, but pan-seared salmon delivers a crispier seared edge and better overall texture. I think it better complements the avocado sauce. A creamy sauce calls for a crispier salmon recipe.
Pan Searing Salmon
Cook salmon in a pan or cast iron skillet with a little olive oil on medium-high heat for about 5-6 minutes per side for medium. It’s as easy as that.
Now, for all of you who may be intimidated by cooking seafood. Fear not, salmon is one of the EASIEST entrees to cook. It’s good prepared medium-rare AND well done and flaky. I like a crispy outside and a medium center.
Can I Heat the Avocado Sauce Up?
Yes, you can. I would heat carefully in a microwave for 15-20 seconds so it’s just warm. I wouldn’t say it really needs to be heated as it will warm up on top of a hot piece of fish.
Can I Make Avocado Sauce Ahead of Time?
Yes, you can. Just seal it very tightly with plastic wrap actually touching the surface of the sauce so there is zero air exposure and keep refrigerated. Oxygen will start to brown the avocado in the sauce. I wouldn’t make it earlier than the morning of.
More Salmon Recipes You’ll Love
- Bourbon glazed salmon
- Grilled cedar plank salmon
- Salmon piccata
- Grilled salmon with basil butter
- Sesame ginger salmon in foil
- Blackened salmon with cilantro lime butter
- Cilantro lime salmon in foil
Simple pan-seared salmon topped with a creamy avocado and basil sauce.
- 4 6-8 ounce salmon filets, skin removed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Fresh minced basil, for garnish
- Lemon wedges, for serving
Creamy Avocado Sauce
- 1 ripe avocado, halved, seeded and peeled
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 clove garlic
- half a lemon, juice squeezed
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup light cream or half & half
- salt and pepper to taste
- Combine creamy avocado sauce ingredients in a blender, blend until smooth and creamy, set aside. If sauce is too thick you can add 1-2 tablespoons of water.
- Season salmon filets with salt and pepper on both sides. Coat the bottom of a skillet with olive oil, over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add salmon filets and sear for 5-6 minutes. Flip and sear for 5-6 additional minutes.
- Transfer salmon filets to a plate and top with creamy avocado sauce. Sprinkle with fresh basil and serve immediately with a lemon wedge.
If sauce is too thick you can add 1-2 tablespoons of water.
Keywords: pan seared salmon, salmon recipes, sauce for salmon
Adapted From: The Comfort of Cooking