Baked Salmon with Herbs and Lemon

Featured by Ancillary Cellars in the Pinot Noir Wine Club.
Baked Salmon with Herbs and Lemon


The salmon is delicious served just out of the oven, or at room temperature. Leftovers make a delicious salmon salad when mixed with a small amount of mayo or thick yogurt. No additional seasoning necessary as the fish is already deeply flavored. Pair it with a Pinot Noir.

Yield: 2
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes


• 12-ounce fillet of salmon, skin on (or 6 ounces per person)
• 1 small shallot, finely chopped (about 1 heaped tablespoon)
• 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
• 2 tablespoons chopped basil (or other herb of your choice)
• 1 teaspoon dried dill (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
• Finely grated zest of a lemon (1 loosely packed tablespoon)
• 1 tablespoon of olive oil or enough to moisten the herbs
• A generous pinch of flaky sea salt


1. A half-hour before you start: Remove the salmon from the refrigerator, unwrap it and let it sit on the counter to come to room temperature. Place a pan 1/2 full of water (I use a 8" round cake tin) in the oven on the lower rack and preheat to 250°F.

2. Prep the herb paste: Finely chop the shallot, parsley, basil and other herbs. Zest the lemon (I find a microplane is the best way to go.) Mix the shallot, herbs and lemon zest in a bowl and moisten with the olive oil to form a rough paste.

3. Prepare the baking tray: Lightly oil the rack and place it over the tray. Place the salmon fillet skin side down on the rack.

4. Coat the salmon with the herbs: Pat the herbs on top of the salmon, forming a thick layer. I haven't had much luck coating the sides (the herbs usually fall off) but you can certainly give it a try.

5. Bake the salmon: Place the salmon in the oven on the middle rack and close the door immediately. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes. A thicker fillet will usually need a little longer time. Check for doneness at 20 minutes: remove the tray of salmon from the oven and close the oven door. (Since the oven is at such a low heat, you want to keep the door closed as much as possible.) Place a knife tip in the thickest part of the salmon and gently pry it open. If the salmon separates into flakes, it's done. If not, return it to the oven for another five minutes.

6. Garnish and serve: When the salmon is done, transfer it to a cutting board and cut into two pieces. To remove the skin (optional) work the edge of the spatula between the skin and the flesh. By gently wiggling, you should be able to lift the fillet clear of the skin. Sprinkle each fillet with the salt and serve.

Additional Notes:
• A word on salt: This is one of those times where you want to use some of that fancy finishing salt. I especially recommend a large-flaked salt such as Maldon. The reason for this is that the salt, which is sprinkled on the herb mixture just after baking, will retain it's shape and texture. So when you bite into the salmon, you'll get a hint of crunchiness and a burst of saltiness. It's a simple step with a big payoff in texture and flavor.

• The herb layer isn't prescriptive. Use whatever you have on hand, although parsley is always a good base herb. I didn't have fresh dill on hand, so I used about 1/3 of the amount dried. The herbs don't need to be finely minced. A rough chop is fine.

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