Take a close look at the versatility of salmon and see the various palette combinations and cuisines that you can serve with salmon from fruits to bread and protein.
- Salmon is one of the most versatile fish that you get, and can be prepared in multiple ways
- It is paired well with a number of different flavors, whether served as a main or as part of a dish
Salmon comes in many forms, from smoked to canned and raw to grilled. One of the most widely consumed and versatile fish, salmon can be served in many ways with different sides that complement its form. We’ll go through some of the most popular and interesting combinations of what to serve with salmon.
What are the different forms of salmon?
Salmon is one of the easiest fish to cook with. Not only because of the myriad ways in which it can be prepared, including boiling, frying, grilling, poaching, or curing, but also its flavor and texture.
Salmon does not have a particularly fishy taste and so appeals to a wide group of people. It has both enough flavor to stand on its own, as well as lending itself to marinade and rubs that can further add flavor to the fish. It’s a firm fish that is unlikely to be flaky and break in your pan or require delicate handling skills but is fatty and robust.
Salmon can be cooked seared or well-cooked and tastes good either way, so it is not very easy to mess up. Now that we’ve left you with no excuses not to serve this fish, the only question is which side to serve it with!
What are the best sides to serve with salmon?
Asparagus is one of the most popular vegetables to serve with salmon, and lemon is always served with fish. But what else is there? There are many other sides that pair excellently with this fish, in whichever form it comes, and it’s hard to find something that really does not work with this fish.
However, on the whole, because it is a slightly sweeter and fattier fish, it works to pair it with a more tart side dish (think citrus or vinegar).
While not usually as popular as its companion, canned tuna, salmon can be eaten alone or added to a number of dishes for a delicious salmon flavor. Served with macaroni cheese or added to mashed potato or a potato salad, for example, adds a fishy flair to the dish without being overpowering.
As a sandwich filling, or spread onto crackers or pita bread with any number of vegetables or lettuce can also make for a mouthwatering snack. It’s also an easy source of protein to add to your regular salad. Canned salmon is ideal for making fishcakes from too. Similar to smoked salmon, it can be served with pasta or in a tart or frittata too.
Salmon is a favorite in sushi or sashimi. It can also be sued in variations, such as sushi salads or poke bowls, and goes well with rice, soy sauce, edamame, ginger, mango, cucumber, and nori. Popular amongst chefs and patrons alike, sushi-grade fish can also be briefly seared and enjoyed almost raw with several sides (see below).
Whether made into a smoked salmon pâté and eaten as a snack or enjoyed with eggs for breakfast, the delicious flavor that is added to salmon through smoking is tough to beat. An easy item to keep on hand in your fridge, this is a crowd-pleaser when added to any number of boards or spreads, paired with bread, crackers, and cream cheeses. It can also feature really well in dishes, and not just as an accompaniment.
Smoked salmon risotto is an elegant and decadent dish that goes down a treat on winter evenings. Added to potatoes to make a smoked salmon au gratin is also a wonderful way to add some more flavor to a tried and tested potato staple. A smoked salmon tart, quiche, or pasta are also good dishes to serve with salmon.
For example, substituting bacon for salmon in a carbonara is good for non-pork eaters. Topping soups with some slivers of smoked salmon or serving it in an omelet make for good warm smoked salmon dishes.
From super simple lettuce and avocado salad to a more complex mix of sweet and tangy ingredients, salmon and salad go well together. If you’re going to use cheese, something that is tart or tangy is a good bet, and not too much of it. Think parmesan shavings or a tangy blue cheese.
Corn is also a great option to serve with salmon. Having said this, note that it can be quite a sweet combination, and so adding some chili powder, herbs, or a punchy dressing is advisable.
Asparagus with a squeeze of lemon and some olive oil is a tried and tested winner when it comes to salmon sides. Try green beans with garlic for q nice alternative. If you’re using greens that can be more bitter, be sure to add some extra olive oil, lemon, and garlic to make them salmon-friendly.
Potatoes of any kind make for a great salmon side. Some garlic roasted crispy potatoes with parmesan are a firm favorite, but creamy potato bakes or fries work well too. For those who generally favor sweet potatoes combined with salmon, you may end up with a plate on the sweeter side, so be mindful of maintaining a balance if you do decide to use them.
Which flavors go best with salmon?
If following a recipe is not for you and you’re simply looking for flavors that go well with salmon so that you can come up with your own creative sides, look no further! This is a great overview of some favorite foods that pair well with salmon in general.
- Salty: soy sauce, miso, capers, and olives
- Sweet: honey, sticky brown sugar, maple syrup, and the zest or juice of an orange
- Sour: fresh lemons or limes and vinegar
- Pungent: onion, shallot, garlic, ginger, horseradish, and sesame seeds
- Creamy: cream cheese, crème fraiche, yogurt, and butter
- Smoky: chipotle chilies, smoked paprika, and cumin
In addition to these flavors, there are some greens that are better suited to salmon than others. Fresh herbs include mint, chives, and dill, while cucumber and asparagus are great vegetables to serve with salmon.
Tips on serving salmon
- Salmon can be cooked from frozen or eaten fresh. It can be smoked or made into a pate and is incredibly versatile, making it the most popular fish in North America.
- Salmon skin is generally considered safe to eat. It contains nutrients that are found in the flesh as well, and adding more of this to your intake is good.
- The belly is the fattiest part of a salmon and will be the most tender.
- One of the easiest ways to serve salmon is by pan-searing it and then serving it with some asparagus, prepared in the same way. Add a squeeze of lemon and some salt and pepper, and you have a delicious and healthy meal.
- Serving three to four ounces of salmon per person is generally considered a good size portion if you are serving salmon as the main dish.
- Lemon, butter, garlic, and cream go well with salmon – in a sauce or as flavors worked into side dishes.
Which foods go well with salmon?
If you’ve decided you want to pair salmon with a particular food, but you don’t know which variety of your chosen food is a good idea, look no further.
Mango has a sweetness and texture that works really well with salmon, and the soft, creamy texture of avocado also works perfectly with salmon.
Greens, such as asparagus or leaves, or potatoes are the best options.
Whether it’s a soft bagel, a wrap or flatbread, a crispy piece of melba toast, or a delicious dark rich bread such as rye or pumpernickel, you can’t go too wrong and the salmon flavor will be well showcased with any of them.
Soft cheese like brie, camembert, or cream cheese pair especially well with salmon, complementing the texture of the fish.
Eggs go really well with salmon, cooked in any way, but are particularly good when you can taste the rich yolk (e.g., Poached, fried, or boiled).