A quick, weeknight spin on an old classic – Salmon Cacciatore! Crispy, pan-seared salmon in a rustic tomato sauce flavored with onions, garlic and kalamata olives! It tastes like it’s been slow simmered all day, but it’s ready in around 30 minutes!

salmon filets in cacciatore sauce in cast iron skillet

This recipe is sponsored by RAGÚ. We’re using their RAGÚ Simply® Chunky Garden Vegetable Sauce to prepare today’s easy Salmon Cacciatore recipe.

Cozy, warm and hearty!

Those are my three favorite words when it comes to weeknight meals. And we’ve all heard of, or have even made chicken cacciatore before. But why not try it with fish instead? That’s how the idea for an easy salmon cacciatore recipe was born. I start with two cups of RAGÚ Simply Chunky Garden Vegetable Sauce, which has vine-ripened tomatoes, onions, carrots, green peppers and zucchini right in the sauce, making this Italian classic a breeze to throw together on weeknights!

Trust me when I say, this recipe tastes like you’ve been simmering these delicious flavors together ALL DAY LONG.

close up of salmon cacciatore with parsley on top

Ingredients for Salmon Cacciatore:

  • Salmon fillets: I usually ask my fish monger to make portions for me, but you could also purchase a large fillet and make pieces yourself. You’ll want to use anywhere between 4-6 ounces of fish per serving. Keep in mind that the cooking time can vary significantly between the two fillets. That’s why it’s critical that all the fillets are the same size so that they cook in the same amount of time. I’ve provided cooking instructions in this recipe for a 6-ounce fillet. 
  • Seasonings: You’ll want the usual kosher salt and black pepper. I also like to add a dash of garlic powder to the salmon to give it a bit more flavor. You’ll need a big pinch of red-pepper flakes to add the tiniest bit of heat to the sauce. You can also add more if you prefer a bigger kick to your cacciatore!
  • Olive Oil: You’ll need olive oil for both pan searing the salmon, as well as for sautéing the onions for the cacciatore sauce.
  • Onions: I like to use white onions for this recipe because they become super tender when sautéed and just melt right into the sauce. You could also use yellow or red onions here instead, so don’t be afraid to make the swap!
  • Fresh Garlic: Adds a more robust flavor to the cacciatore sauce. 
  • Herbs: Parsley and a bit of thyme add a fresh element to this sauce. The thyme gives the meal a slow-simmered flavor, while parsley adds color and freshness to the final dish. If you don’t have fresh herbs on hand, feel free to substitute with dried herbs.
  • RAGÚ Simply Chunky Garden Vegetable Sauce: The perfect sauce for a flavorful cacciatore! RAGÚ Simply Sauces have no added sugar, no artificial colors and no high-fructose corn syrup. You can click here to see the full RAGÚ Simply line.
  • Chicken Stock: You’ll need a splash of low-sodium chicken stock or vegetable stock so the sauce doesn’t become too concentrated while we’re simmering it. You could also use water if you’d like, but stock gives the sauce a richer flavor.
  • Red Wine Vinegar: Adds a nice kick of acid to the dish. Remember, salmon is a fatty fish, so the hint of acid will help make the dish more pleasing to the palette.
  • Kalamata olives: Briny olives are essential to any good cacciatore recipe! You could also use capers if you didn’t have olives on hand. If you’re someone who particularly enjoys these ingredients, you could even use both.
  • For serving: You can serve homemade cacciatore over cooked white or brown rice, toss the sauce with the pasta, over egg noodles, mashed potatoes, with garlic bread, salad, rosemary-roasted potatoes or with my no-knead focaccia bread on the side with steamed broccoli or other vegetables. You can honestly serve this however you’d like!
pan-fried salmon fillets in cast iron skillet

How to make Salmon Cacciatore:

  1. Start with the salmon. Remember to remove the salmon from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. Pat the salmon fillets dry with a paper towel. Then, season with kosher salt, black pepper and garlic powder.
  2. Pan fry. Add a glug of oil to lightly cover the bottom of a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Allow the oil to get hot where it almost starts to shimmer in the pan. Carefully, add the salmon fillets skin side up and allow them to cook for several minutes before flipping. You can cook the salmon all the way through or leave it rare if that’s your preference. Remove to a plate when it’s cooked to your liking. Allow it to rest loosely tented with a piece of foil for a few minutes. If you like crispy salmon skin, I suggest resting the dish flesh side down.
  3. Make the sauce. Add a little more olive oil to the same pan, if needed. Then add the onions and season with a pinch of salt. Salting the onions will allow the excess moisture to be drawn out. The onions will get tender and translucent as they cook. Add the minced garlic, fresh/dried thyme and red-pepper flakes after a few minutes once the onions have softened. Then, add the RAGÚ sauce and chicken stock. Flavor with red wine vinegar and kalamata olives. Allow the ingredients to simmer (timing included below) so that the flavors have chance to blend. Stir in half of the fresh, chopped parsley—save the other half for serving.
  4. How to serve: You can add the salmon fillets back into the skillet and let them simmer in the sauce. However, if you prefer your salmon on the rare side, I suggest either serving the sauce on the side or spooning it over each fillet. You can also serve the salmon on the side and toss the sauce with prepared pasta instead. There are so many ways to serve this dish! We love mopping up leftover cacciatore sauce with garlic bread.
salmon in tomato sauce in skillet with ragú product

A big thank you to our friends over at RAGÚ for sponsoring this post. We love working with companies that make good, wholesome foods!

Yield: serves 4

Salmon Cacciatore

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

A quick, weeknight spin on an old classic – Salmon Cacciatore! Crispy, pan-seared salmon in a rustic tomato RAGÚ sauce flavored with onions, garlic and kalamata olives! It tastes like it’s been slow simmered all day, but it’s ready in around 30 minutes!

Salmon Cacciatore

Ingredients

  • 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup white onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 2 cups RAGÚ Simply® Chunky Garden Vegetable Sauce
  • ½ cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • ⅓ cup kalamata olives
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

    1. SALMON: Remove the salmon from the refrigerator 30 minutes before pan frying. Season the fillets on both sides with 1 teaspoon kosher salt, a big pinch of black pepper and garlic powder.
    2. FRY: Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Cook the salmon skin side up until golden; about 3 minutes. Flip the salmon and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes or until the salmon is cooked to your liking. Transfer the salmon to a plate, loosely tent with foil to keep warm.
    3. SAUCE: Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, season with a pinch of salt and sauté them for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add garlic, fresh thyme and red-pepper flakes – cook for 30 seconds before adding the RAGÚ sauce and chicken stock. Season with red wine vinegar and add the olives. Stir to combine and let simmer for 5-6 minutes or until thickened to your liking. Taste and adjust with more salt and pepper as desired. Add half the chopped parsley and stir.
    4. SERVE: You can add the salmon back to the skillet and let it simmer in the sauce for 1-2 minutes if you’d like. Place fillets flesh side down if you’d like to maintain a crisp skin. Place flesh side up if you don’t care for salmon skin. Top with remaining chopped parsley. Serve with rosemary-roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes, fluffy rice, buttered egg noodles or prepared garlic bread.

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