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Basting salmon with a lemon-butter sauce is a traditional way to serve this fish – it’s the first way I ever ate it as a child. I have vivid memories of a family vacation in Alaska, when I was fifteen years old, and we were camping in a Winnebago RV and fly fishing. One day, we arrived at our campground late, around 9pm. It still light out, so dad grabbed his fly rod and headed to the nearby riverbank, just a short walk from our campsite. About 10 minutes later, he returned with a big, beautiful salmon! Mom quickly melted some butter, added fresh lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper. She placed the fish (now cleaned by dad) on a large piece of foil, drizzled the sauce over the top, and folded up the foil to enclose the fish. She then put it on the grill and cooked it just until it was medium-rare. OMG, it was sooo good! Moist, tender, fresh, and full of flavor.
I have taken mom’s same flavor profile and created a roasted salmon version of her campground dish, using salmon steaks. (You can also use fillets.) I also add a bit of paprika for a little extra flavor, and recommend garnishing the cooked fish with chopped parsley, basil or tarragon. Feel free to follow mom’s method as well, if you prefer grilling (see Variation below). Enjoy!
- 4 (5 to 6-ounce) salmon steaks (see buying tips here)
- ¼ cup butter
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Fresh ground pepper, to taste
- Chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, basil or tarragon leaves, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 9-by 12-inch baking dish.
- Place the salmon steaks in the prepared dish.
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and paprika; add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Liberally drizzle the sauce over the salmon. Bake for 10 minutes per 1-inch of thickness, or until desired doneness.
- Garnish with chopped parsley, basil or tarragon.
Check out my tips on how to buy and store fresh fish!