Pan-fried salmon with clam sauce

Neil Perry
Summer splendour: Pan-fried salmon with clam sauce is a fiery surprise.
Summer splendour: Pan-fried salmon with clam sauce is a fiery surprise. Photo: William Meppem

Revive your beach holiday memories with this saucy seafood combination that brings a little fire and spice to the table. Serve the salmon with crusty bread to mop up the juices, and with a simple salad, such as finely shaved cabbage with raw fennel, lemon juice and a grassy olive oil.


4 x 180g salmon fillets

sea salt

4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1 tbsp chopped fresh ginger

1/2 tbsp fennel seeds, roasted

1/2 tsp smoky sweet paprika

1/2 tsp mild chilli flakes

extra virgin olive oil

1 red onion, finely sliced

2 rashers smoky bacon or pancetta, diced

1 cup white wine

1 cup freshly shelled peas

1 cup chicken stock

3 cups of clams, rinsed

60g unsalted butter

freshly ground pepper

1 small handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped


  Instead of clams, pippies would also work beautifully, and the salmon can be swapped for ocean trout or snapper.


Season the fish with sea salt. Put the garlic, ginger, 1/2 tsp sea salt and fennel seeds in a mortar and pound with a pestle to form a rough paste. Add paprika and chilli flakes and pound a little more.

Heat a splash of extra virgin olive oil in a deep frying pan and when hot, add the fish fillets skin side down. Cook for 5 minutes, turn the fish over gently and cook for 4 minutes longer. Remove fish and rest on a warm plate.

Add the onion and bacon and a little more salt to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft. Add the spice paste and cook for 2 minutes, then add the wine and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the peas, stock and clams and bring to the boil. Return the fish, cover and simmer for 8 minutes, or until the fish is cooked and the clams have opened. Discard any that don't open. Mix butter in until just melted.

Give a good grind of salt and pepper and stir through the parsley. Divide the fish among four bowls, spoon over the juices and clam, and serve immediately.


Classic and unmistakable, the 2009 Tyrrell's Vat 47 ($55) from NSW's Hunter Valley brings a luscious and generous palate of soft stone fruit and lively acidity to the salmon.

Photography: William Meppem. Stying: Hannah Meppem. Food preparation: Kirsten Jenkins