Home » Salmon with Shrimp in a Sweet-Spicy Pecan Sauce

Salmon with Shrimp in a Sweet-Spicy Pecan Sauce

From Chef Oonagh Williams of Royal Temptations Catering

A plate of salmon, shrimp, potatoes, and asparagus. Happy Cinco de Mayo, Happy Mother’s Day, Happy summer BBQ days. 

My local grocery store sells fresh salmon off cuts (from larger fillets) that are boneless and skinless and significantly less expensive than salmon fillets. I’ve made this recipe as a stir fry with other vegetables, pan-fried or grilled the fish with sauce on the side. Grill salmon, chicken, pork steak, scallops, shrimp on the BBQ for mom on Mother’s Day and serve with the sauce. 

Made with butter it is wonderful but I am always conscious of the cholesterol in butter, plus it’s not fair on people who are lactose or dairy intolerant. So I have also made it with olive oil or avocado oil. Coconut oil, peanut oil or almond oil might also be good substitutions if you can tolerate them. I had run out of pecans one time and tried it with regular salted cashews, surprisingly cashews are not as good a marriage as pecans. Roasted hazelnuts were a good substitute. I’ve served this sauce with various grilled meats as well as with corn Chex-crusted tilapia fillets served in soft, gluten-free corn tortillas with lettuce, tomato and avocado. Delicious. 

Sweet Spicy Pecan Sauce:

Makes about 1 cup/8 fl oz/240 ml

  • 2 tbsp (1 oz, 25 g) butter or oil
  • 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • ½ cup (2 oz, 50 g) chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup (3/2 oz, 40 g) firmly-packed light brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) fresh lemon juice (lime might be great or even orange)
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) gluten-free Worcestershire sauce.
  • 2 tsps (10 ml) hot pepper jelly. I use Trappist brand, add more to your taste when sauce is made. I like just a mild bite of heat, not enough to make your nose run and your lips and tongue tingle.

Notes: I didn’t add salt or pepper to sauce. Think about adding zest of any citrus to match with different juice. Think about adding different fresh herbs, like parsley, cilantro, basil, lemon thyme, even lavender at the end for a very sophisticated taste sensation. 


  1. Melt butter or oil in 1 quart (1 liter) saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add onion and cook gently for 3-5 minutes or until totally cooked and tender. You could also use white parts of green onion (also known as scallion or spring onion).
  3. Add garlic and cook for another minute over gentle heat.
  4. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and cook, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved.
  5. Store in airtight container in fridge until required.  

Salmon and shrimp to pair

As a main: I cooked one 7 oz salmon fillet, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. I bought a little over half a pound (250 g) of raw, butterflied, tail on, medium shrimp. When the salmon was nearly cooked, I put the shrimp into the same skillet as the salmon and spread it to one layer. When first side of shrimp was pink I flipped the shrimp and then added the pecan sauce to the pan and left the shrimp to cook in the sauce. If the salmon and shrimp produce a lot of juice, remove fish from sauce, thicken sauce lightly with cornstarch and water. Grill the side of asparagus before, so it’s tender. 

As an appetizer: depending on your pocket, raw shrimp available and how much you love your guests, you may buy smaller, medium shrimp. In this case I would cook shrimp in sauce as I said above, then put shrimp and sauce in a shallow bowl and serve with tooth picks.  

If you buy the huge shrimp, I would grill either on skewer or individually and serve with pecan sauce as dipping sauce. I also like dusting shrimp with a slightly spicy rub to add to flavors. I like to leave tails on large shrimp as a handle, but virtually always pull tails off shrimp for most other recipes. Who wants to stop eating this salmon dish, to pull a tail off shrimp and get messy fingers, even if those fingers taste good. I would love this sauce with lobster tail or even monkfish. How about scallops as well?

About Chef Oonagh Williams

I have written a monthly recipe column for Beyond Celiac since January 2011. I have a Culinary Arts degree as well as celiac disease and other food allergies, so I know food and live this way daily. Remember that most real food is naturally gluten-free until manufacturers mess around with it, and only baking really needs changing. Real food is now being called clean eating.

Obviously talks and appearances are currently canceled, but you can connect with me on Facebook at Gluten-Free Cooking with Oonagh or on LinkedIn. I’ve just filmed recipes at home for New Hampshire’s ABC WMUR’s Cooks Corner and they are being aired. I am also being included in the nationwide library database of online presenters.

For new recipes and lots of advice, my e-cookbook Delicious Gluten-Free Cooking is only $20 and available to download at www.glutenfreecookingwithoonagh.com. It has tips, full-color photos, and recipes like grandma’s comfort soup, shrimp and crab bisque, English trifle, buffalo chicken, tiramisu, dinner party fare, and more. Follow the link to see the table of contents and thumbnail photos of the full-size photos in the e-book.

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