Fresh salmon fillets marinate briefly in olive oil and paprika before meeting a hot grill pan in this simple recipe. A classic aioli (learn what is aioli, anyway?) punched up with lemon and Dijon mustard is the perfect accompaniment. Serve with an uncomplicated spinach salad.

What to buy: Look for wild or sustainably farmed salmon—check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch salmon recommendations and find a market or fishmonger you can trust. And see our guide to types of salmon for more about different varieties of the fish.

For more delicious salmon ideas, try our BBQ salmon recipe. And if you want to branch out, see the best fish to grill.

  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: 25 mins, plus 20 mins marinating and resting time 
  • Active: 20 mins 

Ingredients (14)

For the fish:

  • 4 (6-ounce) skin-on salmon fillets, pin bones removed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon paprika, sweet or hot
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the aioli:

  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

To finish:

  • Vegetable oil, for the grill pan
  • Lemon wedges, for serving


  1. Dry the salmon well with paper towels. Brush it with the olive oil, then season it all over with the paprika, salt, and pepper. Set aside to marinate for 15 minutes at room temperature.
  2. Make the aioli: In the bowl of a small food processor, combine the egg yolks, garlic, mustard, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. With the motor running, add the canola and olive oils in a slow, steady stream through the feed tube. Continue until the aioli is pale, smooth, and thick. Taste and season with additional salt and lemon juice as needed. Transfer to a small serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  3. Set a large nonstick or well-seasoned grill pan over medium-high heat and wait for it to get hot, about 5 minutes. Brush the surface with vegetable oil and add the salmon fillets skin-side down. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, pressing down on the fillets with a spatula to make sure they’re making good contact with the grill pan’s ridges. Grill until the skin is crisp, about 6 minutes. Flip the fillets and continue cooking just until the fish is done to your liking, about 1 minute for medium-rare (add an extra minute or two for medium). Transfer the fish to a warmed platter, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Serve with the aioli and lemon wedges on the side.