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Seared Sockeye Salmon with Herbed Couscous

Seared Sockeye Salmon with Herbed Couscous

By SoPo Seafood's Jacqueline Clark AKA the Briny Babe.

Seared Sockeye plated
Sockeye salmon is a type of salmon mainly found in the northern Pacific Ocean. Its flesh (when raw) has a ruby red hue to it, making it easy to spot amongst the (primarily orange) salmon varieties at your seafood market. Sockeye is slightly oilier and leaner compared to its Atlantic counterpart. It also has a bolder flavor profile than other salmon varieties, and only a little bit of salt and pepper is needed to make this fish really shine. We like pairing the flavorful Sockeye with some delicious herbed couscous and a little garnish of blistered cherry tomatoes for a pop of acidity.
Sockeye salmon wild harvested in Alaska

At SoPo Seafood, our sockeye salmon is wild-caught in Alaska by Maine fisherman Chris Mullen (pictured above). Chris has been fishing in Alaska since 1988 and continues to do so with his son Chris and brother JP. 

New to cooking Sockeye? Here are a few quick tips to get you going!

Pull the salmon from the refrigerator and let set out for 15 minutes bringing them to room temperature. If the salmon is cold, it will constrict and cause the fish to cook unevenly.

Dry the salmon with paper towels. The flesh of salmon can be quite delicate. Therefore set the skin side down on the paper towels and gently dap the top of the salmon. Drying the salmon will ensure a few things: 1) there is no spattering of grease because the moisture has been removed, 2) the skin does not stick to the pan, and 3) the skin will have a nice crispy texture.

Make sure your pan is hot when you first add the salmon (medium-high to high). This will prevent the skin from sticking to the pan when you turn the fish over. You’ll know when the pan is hot enough when you add a few drops of water, it sizzles and immediately evaporates. Once you add the salmon though reduce the heat to medium for a more evenly cooked fish.

Do not overcook the salmon. The internal temperature should be between 120° – 125° F for medium-rare or between 125 – 130° F for medium. Unlike a fatty Atlantic salmon, a leaner Sockeye will begin to flake when it is ready; anything beyond that temperature will be overcooked and dry. Your cooking time will differ according to the thickness of your fish.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes 


For the Sockeye Salmon

• 4-6 oz Sockeye Salmon Fillets, skin on
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 1 TBSP olive oil

For the Herbed Couscous

• 1 TBSP butter, unsalted
• ¼ cup dill, chopped
• ¼ cup heavy cream
• ¼ cup scallions, chopped
• Salt and pepper to taste
• ¼ - ½ cup of couscous, prepared according to package instructions

For the Blistered Cherry Tomatoes

• 1 TBSP olive oil
• ¼ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
• Salt and pepper to taste

Cooking Utensils

• A sharp knife
• Skillet 
Wild sockeye salmon fillets


For the Sockeye Salmon

1. Remove the salmon from the refrigerator, and pat dry with paper towels. Salt and pepper the fleshy side of the fillets.
2. Heat a skillet on medium-high to high heat until pan is hot. Add in 1 TBSP olive oil. Add the salmon, skin side down, and reduce the heat to medium. Using a flexible metal fish spatula, gently press down for 10 seconds on each fillet.
3. Let salmon sear for 3-4 minutes. Carefully turn the salmon over and cook for another 2-3 minutes, depending on thickness of salmon.
4. The internal thermometer should be between 120°F and 125°F for medium rare and 125°F and 130°F for medium.

For the Herbed Couscous

1. Make the couscous according to package instructions. The couscous can be made in advance and refrigerated until you are ready to use.
2. Melt 1 TBSP unsalted butter in a skillet over medium heat.
3. When the butter has melted, add in the heavy cream, dill, and scallions. Salt and pepper to taste.
4. Add in the prepared couscous, and stir to combine over medium heat.

For the Blistered Cherry Tomatoes

1. Add 1 TBSP olive oil to a skillet over medium heat.
2. Add in the halved tomatoes, and raise the heat to medium-high.
3. Salt and pepper the tomatoes as they begin to sizzle and blister.
4. Once the tomatoes’ skin have begun to shrivel, remove from heat, and place atop your sockeye salmon and herbed couscous.  
Sockeye Salmon Recipe Plated

Buy Wild Sockeye Salmon Online

This recipe was created using SoPo Seafood's Sockeye Salmon. Our sockeye salmon is available in flash-frozen 5/7 oz portions.