This baked salmon recipe is a real winner. Very little effort with maximum return. Serve it with my rose cream sauce dotted with green parsley and pink peppercorn for extra drama!
With the holiday season practically on our doorsteps, I am so excited to bring you this festive recipe for baked salmon. My version uses a whole side of salmon but it could easily be adapted for salmon pieces.
What I love about this recipe is it requires very little effort on the part of the cook but delivers very impressive results. It is simple elegance with amazing flavour, sure to be a winner every time!
Why you’ll love it
This recipe brings the best out of the salmon, giving tender and flaky fish that is packed with moisture. The salmon, cooked with lemons and herbs, would be amazing on its own!
But we can make it even better with delicate and creamy rosé sauce. The sauce has a gentle, sophisticated flavour, that is perfect for salmon. Too much punch and the taste of the fish would be overwhelmed, but this sauce gets the balance just right!
That gives us a stunning dish that is perfect for guests, a romantic dinner for two or even as the showpiece for a holiday meal!
Best way to bake salmon
There are so many ways to bake salmon but the most foolproof option that ensures perfectly cooked, moist fish, is baking it in foil.
There is definitely nothing revolutionary about salmon baked in foil. However my recipe brings the flavour and texture up a notch by steaming it in rosé wine with aromatics like lemon, dill and bay leaves.
Why rose wine you might ask? The answer is simple. I love the delicate flavour of the rosé wine but I also love the idea of pink salmon being paired with pink wine.
The reason I am suggesting baking salmon in foil is because it yields superior results even for less experienced cooks. Fish is surprisingly tricky to get right every time. It goes from undercooked to dry in a matter of minutes.
The foil keeps the moisture in, thus making it a more forgiving cooking method. This is especially true for cooking a whole side of salmon as it needs longer time in the oven.
How long does it take?
If you are baking a whole side of salmon weighing 2.5 lbs-3lbs at 350F/180C, it will take you anywhere between 25-35 minutes to cook it all the way through.
To ensure the salmon is cooked through, take it out of the oven after 25 minutes. Then test it with a knife in the thickest part of the fish. If the flesh flakes out easily and is opaque, the salmon is done.
Rosé Cream Sauce
Salmon and cream sauce are made for each other. However, that cream sauce needs some acidity added to balance out the richness.
Rosé wine to the rescue once again. You can use white wine but once again pink salmon served under delicate, pink-hued cream sauce is a sight to behold.
As I mentioned earlier, this baked salmon is a recipe made for your holiday table, so why not go all out in the way of impressing your guests!
Recipe Tips and Notes
- You can use salmon pieces instead of a whole salmon side. However you will need to shorten the baking time to 20 minutes.
- I’ve used flat leaf parsley and pink peppercorns to garnish the sauce but dill and black peppercorns will taste equally delicious.
- Shallots in the rosé cream sauce could be substituted with finely chopped white onion.
- Finally dry white wine such as Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc could be used instead of rosé wine.
- You can use light cream, single cream or half and half instead of heavy/double cream. It will produce a less calorific yet slightly thinner sauce.
Baked Salmon with Rosé Cream Sauce
For the salmon
- 2.2 lbs salmon
- 1 lemon sliced
- 3 bay leaves fresh or dried
- 3-4 sprigs fresh dill
- 125ml/1/2cup rosé wine
- 1 tsp salt and pepper I used crushed pink peppercorns
For the rose sauce
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 shallots
- 250/1 cup rosé wine
- 250/1 cup heavy/double cream
- salt to taste
- 2 tsp pepper divided
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. On a large, rimmed baking sheet place a piece of foil large enough to create a pocket to encase the salmon. (see photos) Scatter half of the lemon slices and dill sprigs on the foil and place seasoned with salt and pepper salmon directly on them. Then cover the salmon with the remaining lemon slices, dill and bay leaves.
- Fold the sides of the foil up, so the foil can hold liquid and pour the rosé wine all around the salmon, then bring the sides of the foil together and seal while leaving a small opening in the middle. Put in the oven and bake for 25-35 minutes depending on the size of your fish. (Mine baked in 33 minutes.)
- While the salmon is baking, melt the butter in a pan and saute chopped shallots over low heat for 5 minutes, then add the wine, turn the heat up and let it reduce by a half. Lower the heat and pour in the cream and 1 teaspoon of crushed peppercorns, salt to taste and simmer for 2-3 minutes until desired consistency. Add chopped parsley and take off the heat.
- Your salmon is cooked when the thickest part of the fish flakes easily and is opaque all the way through. Remove the fish on a serving plate, pour the sauce over, then sprinkle with additional chopped parsley and crushed pink peppercorns.