Baked Salmon with Parmesan Cream Sauce

It's January so annual time for everyone to diet and I come to you offering a healthy salmon recipe except for the fact that I've drowned it in cream sauce.

Sorry, no diets here. And actually I don't apologize.

Actually I do want to apologize for one thing because on instagram I said this recipe had 5 ingredients and... I LIED. I didn't meant to. I'm sorry, there are really 7 ingredients in the cream sauce. So sorry. Had to get that out of the way asap.

But it's still really easy, that I did not lie about.

Once you have salmon in hand this recipe will take a solid 15 minutes of cooking and 10 minutes of prep so it's ideal for a weeknight, a date – even if it's with yourself and the days when you completely forgot you need to make dinner until you're pretty much starving.

It's the first week of January and it's the first time winter has really set it. I am admittedly tired of very heavy holiday foods but that doesn't mean I don't also want the rich butteriness that the winter welcomes so much. I made egg noodles to go along with this, a bit of extra sauce and a salad the size of my face dressed with champagne vinaigrette.

Light and warm and cozy and FAST.

Brine your salmon, especially. I know that's odd, most people don't think about brining salmon but you can do it for anything from 10 minutes to 1 hour. A simple salt water brine, will help draw out the albumin that usually is squeezed from the fishes delicate muscles when you cook it. That white stuff cooking out is the same exact stuff that makes up egg whites. Albumin. Not bad for you just not pretty. A quick brine will help break down the muscle fibers near the surface so they don't contract as much and force out albumin in the cooking process.

You can brine any fish, but albumin is generally not a problem with less fatty fish.

The fish bakes for a measly 10 minutes, why? Because you've been overcooking salmon for a long time and it's time to be nicer to it. These are filets, no bones to worry about, they're not super thick because they are Sockeye (my favorite salmon) but thicker Atlantic salmon filets you can add an additional 2-4 minutes to the bake time. If you tug at the filet gently with a fork it will flake and that's right where you want to be.

If you start your noodles and your parmesan sauce as soon as the fish hits the oven they will all be ready together.

1 tbsp salt to each cup of cold water

Do this in a bowl large enough to submerge fish completely, adjusting water/salt ratio as needed.

1 lb salmon filet, cut to individual servings
fresh cracked black pepper
squeeze of fresh lemon juice, per filet (zest this lemon first and put aside zest for sauce)

Set oven to preheat to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat with oil. After a 10 minute brine bath, dry the filets with a paper towel, dress with a drizzle of oil, pepper and lemon juice. Bake for 10 minutes.

Parmesan Dill Cream Sauce

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp dijon mustard or 1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 clove garlic, gently crushed
salt to taste
Capers to finish, optional

In a saucepan over medium heat simmer heavy cream, garlic and mustard until the cream begins to reduce by about half a cup and thickens to leave a smooth streak in the pan when stirred, about 5-7 minutes. Lower the heat and add parmesan, stirring until smooth. Add fresh chopped dill, lemon zest and salt to taste. Remove and discard garlic. Spoon sauce over baked salmon immediately top with a few capers and serve with egg noodles or salad.

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