This Christmas Baked-Salmon could quickly become a family holiday tradition. It is just that good. It is also versatile, so feel free to incorporate some of your ideas to make it even more delicious.
2.4 – 3 lb. Salmon filet
2 1/3 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. Black pepper
Honey Butter Glaze
5 oz unsalted butter
½ C. honey
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
Creamy Dill Sauce
1 ½ C. sour cream, full fat
½ C. fresh dill, finely chopped, lightly packed cup
½ shallot, finely grated
1 ½ Tbs. lemon zest
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 C. dried cranberries
1 C. orange juice
1 C. slivered toasted almonds
1/3 C parsley, roughly chopped
¼ tsp. each kosher salt and pepper
1 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil.
Creamy Dill Sauce
- Mix ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Keep refrigerated until needed.
- Plump cranberries: Heat orange juice in a saucepan over high heat until hot. Turn the stove off, add cranberries, and cover. Stand for 15 minutes, then drain in a colander (discard liquid). Cool.
- Mix: Mix cranberries, toasted almonds (see Note 3), parsley, salt, and olive oil in a bowl. Use at room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F (all oven types).
- Prepare salmon: Place a large sheet of foil on a tray (a double layer for safety is recommended), then top with baking/parchment paper. Place salmon on paper, then fold up the foil sides a bit to cup them, so the gaze won’t run onto the tray.
- Glaze: Place ingredients in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Once it foams, turn it down to medium, let it foam for 2 minutes, then remove and pour straight over the salmon.
- Season: Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper, putting most of the salt on the thicker part of the salmon.
- Wrap: Cover salmon with a smaller piece of paper, then foil. Fold and seal up sides to enclose salmon in a parcel–it doesn’t need to be 100% tightly sealed.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Remove salmon from oven.
- Uncover/fold excess paper–Remove paper and foil and paper cover. Fold/scrunch paper and foil sides to expose the salmon’s surface. Tucking the paper down also ensures it won’t catch fire when broiling.
- Grill/broil to brown: Switch oven to grill/broiler on high. Place salmon on the middle shelf in the oven and broil for 7 to 10 minutes until you get caramelization, on the edges, and a bit on top. Don’t put it too close to the heating element; otherwise, the paper might catch on fire! Check to ensure salmon is cooked–either pry open in the middle to check or use a probe to check internal temperatures (Note 4).
- Transfer to plate: Use the foil overhang to transfer salmon onto the serving platter immediately (otherwise, it keeps cooking). Slide the foil, then paper out from under the salmon, allowing juices to pool on a platter.
- Cool: Loosely cover with foil, then leave to cool for at least 15 minutes, up to 1 hour or longer (for room temperature serving–Note 6 for serving notes)
Assembly and Serve
- Thickly spread with Creamy Dill Sauce (~0.8cm / 1/3″ thick layer).
- Pile over Holiday Tapenade, scatter generously with pomegranate seeds and then remaining parsley. Squeeze lemon juice on top.
- Serving: Serve with extra lemon wedges so people can add more to taste.
- This dish is served slightly warm, not piping hot, and excellent at room temperature. Cut into pieces–I use a cake cutter for serving.
- Salmon–Get a whole side of salmon in one piece. It should come with skin on (holds together better for moving once cooked) and bones removed (nobody wants pokey bones with a mouthful of Christmas Salmon!). Place salmon on the diagonal of the tray if it’s too large. A bit of overhang will be fine (on the thinner end). See Note 5 for fillets and trout alternatives.
- Salt–Cooking/kosher salt is the standard for all my recipes. The grains are larger than fine table salt, so it’s easier to pinch and sprinkle. If you only have table salt, you MUST reduce the salt quantities by 25%. Otherwise, your food may be too salty (because table salt is so fine, 1 tsp table salt =~ 1 1/4 tsp cooking/kosher salt).
- Toasting almonds–Preheat the skillet over medium heat (no oil). Add nuts, then stir for 2 minutes or until they smell amazing and are lightly browned. Keep them moving, as they burn easily! Transfer to bowl straight away to cool.
- Cooked salmon–you can just pry open the flesh in the middle to check. Otherwise, the internal temperature of cooked salmon is 43°C / 110°F for rare, 49°C / 120°F for medium-rare, or 54°C/130°F for medium. Grill cooks fast, so just leave it for longer if you want it cooked more, move it down to a lower shelf to reduce browning.
No grill/broiler? Just crank the oven up as high as possible, put the salmon uncovered to brown, and finish cooking.
- Salmon–Trout is an ideal direct sub (though typically smaller, so scale the recipe down or use multiple)
- Salmon fillets rather than the whole side–bake in foil for 10 minutes, then grill/broil for 10 minutes).
- Smaller salmon side–the middle or the tail end. For anything around 600g / 1.2lb and larger, follow the recipe as written in terms of cooking times.