Crispy Salmon with Lemon, Basil and Caper Sauce with a side of Lake Tahoe

Salmon with Lemon, Basil and Caper Sauce 3So, Yes!Chef! has returned home from Boston and he is feeling like cooking up some goodness again. (Everyone at the Schmautzhaus says Huzzah!) And, boy, is recipe a great way to come back.  The salmon was crispy on the outside and creamy and fresh on the inside.  The sauce was sublime. It had everything I like:  lemon, capers and basil.  All of it sitting on a bed of fresh spinach.  It was the perfect meal after a longish walk with Obie T. Dogg in beautiful Lake Tahoe.

We’ve spent the last week in Tahoe to give Yes!Chef! some time to recover (and I will take any opportunity to spend time here in Tahoe.)

Obie T. Dogg loves Tahoe
Obie T. Dogg loves Tahoe

And, of course, we brought Obie who is always happy to be in Tahoe because he gets lots of walks in all kinds of different areas.  We call him the “Smell Collector” because he spends most of his time smelling this or that.  Our walks always take lots of time because of this…and, me stopping to take pictures.

The other day, I spied a new walking trail behind a local fast food establishment and vowed to come back to investigate.  I dragged Yes!Chef! down there and we struck out to see what we could see.  I found a bunch of blooming Skunk Cabbage along side some beautiful purple Lupine and sat down on the ground to take some pictures.  Obie was busy smelling stuff (perfect dog for a photographer…when I stop to take a photo he either finds something to smell or sits down nearby and waits.)

Skunk Cabbage and Lupines
Painterly approach to Skunk Cabbage and Lupines

Pretty soon Yes!Chef! says, “I don’t want you coming out here by yourself…even with Obie T.”  I looked up expecting to see a bear or a coyote, but instead I saw graffiti sprayed all over the beautiful granite rocks and the trail, some characters riding bikes and skateboards around and a Hobo encampment. It appeared that most of these characters were involved in drugs…selling, buying and getting high on.  This particular trail wasn’t all that interesting anyway, so we have crossed it off our list.

On the other hand and closer to home, I was working on editing some wedding photos and looked out the window only to see this:

Black Bear in the neighborhood
Black Bear in the neighborhood

I looked up just in time to see him run from our yard, across the street and into the neighboring yard.  Luckily, I had my camera close by and was able to take a few photos.  This is one big bear…much bigger than some other bears I have seen in the neighborhood in years past. My neighbors told me that he has learned how to open car doors, so we should be sure and keep our car doors locked, which we do. It’s always fun to see these guys as long as we are safe distance away, or safely tucked inside our home.

We continue to find beautiful places to walk that aren’t so…challenging.

More Skunk Cabbage with Indian Paintbrush in the background
More Skunk Cabbage with Indian Paintbrush in the background
Salmon with Lemon, Basil and Caper Sauce 9
Some neighbor’s flowers.
Obie and Yes!Chef!
Obie and Yes!Chef!

The day Yes!Chef! made this Crispy Salmon recipe we went on a long but easy walk to the lake.  It was the longest walk Obie T. Dogg had taken in quite a while.  He is getting up there in age (we are not really sure how old he is) and his black fur really absorbed the hot mountain sun.  So he was quite tuckered out at the end of the walk.

Obie T. Dogg out to the world
Obie T. Dogg out to the world
Pure yumminess
Pure yumminess

Yes!Chef! based his recipe on this one, from Giada de Laurentiis. Since Yes!Chef! and I are on a low carb diet, we do not eat pasta much anymore.  Thus, we used a bed of spinach instead of pasta and added a little more protein than the original recipe calls for.

Crispy Salmon with Lemon, Basil and Caper Sauce

Serves 2

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 (6 oz+) pieces of fresh salmon
  • 2-3 cups fresh baby spinach leaves, rinsed and patted dry


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Mix together garlic, chopped basil, capers, lemon zest and juice and 2 tablespoons oil in a small bowl.  Set aside.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium oven proof skillet over medium-high heat. Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Place the fish to the pan and sauté the fish on one side until it begins to brown and get crispy.  Flip the salmon and finish cooking in the 400 degree oven until medium-rare, about 6-8 minutes more, depending on the thickness of the fish. Remove the salmon from the pan.
  4. Arrange spinach leaves on two plates.  Place salmon on top of the spinach and top with sauce.
  5. Enjoy!

You will be drawn to this recipe as a bee is drawn to flowers.

Kissing Salt & Pepper Shakers
Kissing Salt & Pepper Shakers

See you back here next post with a great and refreshing dessert for a summer evening. Meanwhile, I’m heading out with Obie T. Dogg and the hubster to see what’s what around Tahoe.

Canoe-er deciding whether he should head out while storm is heading in
Canoe-er deciding whether he should head out while storm is heading in

Published by

Karen Schmautz


9 thoughts on “Crispy Salmon with Lemon, Basil and Caper Sauce with a side of Lake Tahoe

      1. Thank you again. I’m trying out some new techniques I’m learning from a class I’m taking. I’m enjoying the effects I can get on what seems like ordinary photos. And Obie T. certainly appreciates any appreciation.

  1. I’m all about low carbs myself, so I appreciate this recipe! Looks great. I don’t know which I enjoy about your posts more: the food or the photos. It’s pretty much become a toss-up. That is one big bear!

  2. I love your photos! And a great recipe as well. I’m very interested in that sauce! I haven’t been to Tahoe in such a long time, but it sounds like you’ve enjoyed some recharge and revive time. I need to think about putting that destination on our schedule. How great to see that bear! 🙂

    1. Thank you so much. I rarely leave home without my camera and it is always nearby when we are in Tahoe. Yes, you need to visit Tahoe. Although the water is quite low this year, it is still beautiful. There are lots of places to walk or bike with gorgeous views around every corner.

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