Michael Chernow’s Pan Seared Salmon and Kale Salad Recipe Is a Weeknight Winner

The chef likes to keep things healthy for his family. But, as this simple meal proves, that definitely doesn't mean flavorless.

by Fatherly
Originally Published: 
Joy Velasco for Fatherly

“Eating with my family is very important,” says Michael Chernow, co-founder of The Meatball Shop as well as the founder of the seafood-centric Seamore’s and the juice bar WellWell. “In my line of work, having dinner with the family is not always possible, but I do my best to get home for it as often as possible. I believe eating together could be one of the most important things a family can do together.”

Chernow, who has two children, says that sitting down at the table gives his family an opportunity to really connect, focus on each other and share stories of their days. He’s worked hard to establish this family routine, as it was never something he did as a child. “When I was growing up, we never ate together, so I made a promise to myself that I would not do the same thing with my family,” he says. “I can’t make every dinner, but never, ever miss breakfast.”

“The Dad Special” is a celebration of food, family, and fathers who cook. Featuring chefs, celebrities, and kitchen crazy dads, this collection highlights meals — from family secrets to quick kid delights — meant to honor time spent at the table.

A popular meal in Chernow’s household is this recipe for cast iron seared salmon and kale salad. “We eat a lot of fish at home, and luckily both of our kids love salmon, so I cook this a couple of nights a week.” Chernow, who abides by a paleo diet— he recently teamed up with the streaming fitness site Neou to create recipes — serves the salmon with a hearty salad of Kale, apples, avocado, walnuts, quinoa. “My wife and I have been eating this salad for years. It’s actually her recipe, but we love it so much I put in on the menu at Seamore’s,” he says. “It’s the one salad that has been on the menu since we opened the doors over five years ago and is always in the top five menu items sold.” Trust us: It should be added to yours, too.

Michael Chernow’s Pan Seared Salmon Recipe


  • 5-6oz salmon filet per person
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil to sear
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon juice


  1. Season your Salmon with sea salt, a few pinches per side.
  2. Get you cast iron pan piping hot over high heat, around 1 minute
  3. Add your olive oil and let that get very hot, around 30 seconds
  4. Place you Salmon, skin side down, onto the pan, make sure to lay it down away from you so you doin’t splash any olive oil on yourself, its not fun when that happens.
  5. Once fish is on the pan, bring the heat to medium, and do not touch it.
  6. Cook the fish for 3-4 minutes or until you can start seeing the flesh turn white around all edges and begin creeping up the sides of the filet
  7. Flip the fish over and let cook for another 2-4 minutes depending on how you like your fish cooked.

Michael Chernow’s Kale Salad Recipe


  • Bunch of kale
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 apple
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 medium roasted sweet potato cut in 1 inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of Dijon Mustard


  • Cut your Kale into bite size pieces, around 1.5-inch pieces, place in large mixing bowl.
  • Add Dijon mustard, olive oil, honey, and vinegar to a mason jar, shake vigorously for 30 seconds to make your dressing, add to the bowl with kale and salt to taste.
  • Then, open the avocado and put half into the bowl with kale, massage kale with half of the avocado to soften the greens. (I use the avocado as a thickener for the dressing, but love massaging it into the kale, it adds an amazing creaminess.)
  • Add your quinoa, sweet potato, and walnuts. Mix well.
  • Finish the salad with sliced apples and the other half of avocado on top, nicely fanned out.

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