Ina Garten's Salmon With A Twist

Salmon recipes often showcase a rotating group of similar ingredients that are classic pairings with the fatty fish. While ingredients like lemon and dill are used frequently because they match the flavors of the fish, it's always exciting to come across a unique recipe. Ina Garten's panko-crusted salmon has just the right amount of creativity to set it aside from the lot. Panko bread crumbs are mixed with fresh herbs to cover the salmon filets prior to cooking them. 

We love the Barefoot Contessa's version, but we're especially hungry to try the rendition developed by Kristen Carli. Her recipes boast fresh ingredients and simple steps without sacrificing flavor. This heavenly salmon is covered in a panko, cilantro, and lemon zest crust that sticks to the fish thanks to some sriracha mayo. Carli describes the spicy mayo as possibly her favorite condiment ever! Some subtle spice adds just the kick your dinner deserves, and we bet you'll love the final result. 

What did we change from Ina Garten's recipe?

Ina Garten's salmon recipe uses Dijon mustard to coat the fish and help the panko crust stick. The bread crumbs are mixed with parsley, lemon zest, and olive oil to create a crust for the exterior of the salmon. Dijon mustard introduces a light kick, so Kristen Carli decided to take it one step further and switch the mustard-y spice for some chili-based heat. Besides being her number one condiment of choice, sriracha mayo has a nice balance of creamy and spicy qualities that go really well with salmon.

By choosing to go with a chili garlic spice profile, Kristen opted to choose fresh cilantro instead of parsley in the panko mixture. The bright, herbaceous flavors of cilantro make a great pairing with chili, and the two are often used together in Asian cooking. While classic Dijon and parlsey are always welcome on our plate, we're especially eager to try Kristen's version with sriracha mayo and a cilantro and lemon zest panko crust. 

Gather the ingredients for your panko-crusted salmon recipe

Get your ingredients ready because just a few short steps are involved before the salmon is ready to cook. You'll need panko bread crumbs, which are lighter and flakier than regular bread crumbs. Next, fresh cilantro leaves are minced and mixed into the panko mixture. Lemon zest adds a nice zing of citrus flavor without making the mixture too wet by adding the juice. Salt and pepper bring out the natural flavors in the salmon and help season the panko. Olive oil is drizzled into the panko mixture for flavor and to help the crust crisp up as it cooks. 

Next, you'll need salmon fillets with the skin on to make it easier to cook one side of the fish without destroying the delicate flesh. If you're tired of salmon, Carli suggests making the same preparation with halibut for a different take. Next comes the sriracha mayo, the key ingredient to help the panko mix stick to the fish. If you don't have a ready-made sriracha mayo but you have sriracha and mayonnaise, you can make your own version using a one to two ratio of sriracha to mayo and modifying it for more or less spice. Vegetable oil is ideal when cooking at high heat (for a crispy crust) since olive oil has a low smoke point and might risk burning. Lemon wedges add a nice juicy acidity at service. 

Mix the panko, cilantro, lemon, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a small bowl

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit so that it's ready for the final cooking step. Next, measure out the panko bread crumbs and add them to a small bowl. Mince the cilantro and grate the lemon zest, and add them to the panko in the bowl. Season the mixture with some salt and pepper, and drizzle in the olive oil. Be sure to combine everything so that the panko crumbs are evenly coated by the oil. Check that there are no clumps of lemon zest or cilantro so that your crust is uniform and you get a balanced flavor in each bite. 

Lay out the salmon fillets and spread them with sriracha mayo and a sprinkle of salt and pepper

Place the salmon on a cutting board or plate, skin-side down. Spread the sriracha mayo evenly to coat the top of the filets. Carli finds the flavor pairing excellent with the salmon, and if the matching colors are any indication, she's right. If you're wary of the chilis in sriracha, they're definitely subdued by the mayonnaise and will be further tamed by the panko mix, so be brave and give it a try! Next, season the filets with a sprinkle of salt and pepper to make the flavors pop. 

Cover the salmon filets with the panko mixture

It's now time to add the panko bread crumb crust. Since it has already been mixed in with the cilantro, lemon zest, and olive oil, you can be sure that it's packed with flavor. Press the mixture evenly to entirely cover the salmon fillets. You don't want to be left with a crust-free bite once you taste the final product! The sriracha mayo will act as a sort of glue to make it easier for the panko crumbs to stick, but pressing them firmly onto the fillets will also help.  

Heat the oil in a skillet and add the salmon filets, then transfer to the oven

Are you ready to get cooking? Heat the vegetable oil on medium-high heat in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet, which should comfortably fit all of the filets. If you don't have a cast-iron pan, choose a heavy-duty ovenproof pan. Carli warns that it's important to make sure the oil is sufficiently hot before adding the fish in order for the salmon to properly sear — we're not looking for a mushy bread crumb crust. 

Once the oil is hot enough, add the salmon filets to the pan, skin-side down. Cook them for three to four minutes as they sear. Transfer the pan to the preheated oven and continue to cook the salmon for five to seven minutes until it is just about cooked. Remove the pan from the oven and cover it with aluminum foil.

Allow the fish to rest, then plate it and serve

Allow the fish to rest for five to 10 minutes — it will continue to cook covered in the pan. Once you're satisfied or can't wait any longer, remove the tin foil and transfer the fish to a plate.

For an easy side, Carli loves serving this panko-crusted salmon with a fresh green salad. She also remarks that it's delicious with a corn and red onion salsa that can be quickly whipped up. Or if you feel like eating with your fingers, Kristen recommends cutting up the fish to make a taco filling. Whichever delicious option you choose, accompany it with some lemon wedges and squeeze some juice on the filets at service for a final zing. 

Ina Garten's Salmon With A Twist
5 from 47 ratings
Ready for the perfect summer fish recipe? This salmon recipe boasts fresh ingredients and simple steps without sacrificing flavor.
Prep Time
Cook Time
three panko covered salmon filets on plate
Total time: 13 minutes
  • ⅔ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, grated
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 salmon filets, skin on
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha mayo
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the panko, cilantro, lemon zest, ½ teaspoon of salt, and ½ teaspoon of pepper.
  3. Drizzle with the olive oil, stirring until the crumbs are evenly coated.
  4. Set the panko mixture aside.
  5. Place the salmon filets skin-side down on a board or plate.
  6. Generously brush the top of the filets with sriracha mayo and season with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper.
  7. Press the panko mixture thickly on top of the sriracha mayo layer, spreading it evenly between the four salmon filets.
  8. Heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet. When the oil is very hot, add the salmon filets skin-side down and sear for 3 to 4 minutes.
  9. Transfer the pan to the hot oven for 5 to 7 minutes until the salmon is almost cooked.
  10. Remove the pan from the oven and cover with aluminum foil.
  11. Allow the fish to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
  12. Serve and enjoy!
Calories per Serving 1,033
Total Fat 72.8 g
Saturated Fat 14.3 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 220.6 mg
Total Carbohydrates 7.7 g
Dietary Fiber 0.6 g
Total Sugars 0.4 g
Sodium 871.5 mg
Protein 81.9 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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