Creamy Dill Salmon

We’ve been toying with a salmon recipe – trying to make it as easy as possible with the biggest taste returns.  I’ll offer you some choices along the way, which make this recipe flexible and easy to adjust to your pantry’s or fridge’s contents.

This is a very quick recipe, and it tastes great.  We almost invariably use frozen wild sockeye salmon fillets when we cook salmon.   I’ve met a number of people who have bought frozen salmon, and have mentioned that it would be great to have a quick recipe to cook from frozen state, if they don’t have much time one day – well, this will work just fine whether you cook from frozen or you thaw the salmon.

I’ve tailored this recipe for an approximately 1 lb. fillet – you can adjust it to your needs – please see my note at the end about adjusting the topping to use it as a gravy for the rice.

1 salmon fillet
1/3 cup sour cream (light is fine) or 1/3 cup plain yogourt – the sour cream will give it a milder taste, and adds fat to the recipe.  We actually prefer the yogourt – it’s tarter and makes the recipe slightly “skinnier” if you care about that
2 tsp of prepared mustard – we have also made this with dijon mustard, but found it tastes better with a prepared yellow mustard instead
2 tsps onions, finely minced – we use yellow onions, but white will do – if you want a sharper taste with more character, you can try shallots too
2-3 tsp dried dill weed – if you have fresh dill, it’s fine too – either way, you’ll need to adjust the amount of dill to your taste – you can add more than the 3 tsp if you prefer.
3 tbsp mayonnaise (light mayo is fine, but don’t use the mayo-style dressing – we found it tastes different and doesn’t quite cut it)
2 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated – you do not have to use fresh parmesan here – in our opinion, it actually tastes better with the grated stuff in a shaker
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated – this is optional – it will obviously add a fair amount of fat to the dish.  It does change the taste, but the dish is great without the cheddar too.  FYI, we always add the cheddar and if you’re considering making extra topping to add to a starch like rice as a sauce, I would say definitely add the cheddar.

Preheat your oven to about 450 degrees.
We usually take our salmon out of the freezer the morning of, which is fine – this will also be tasty if you cook it from frozen.  We have, on occasion, cut the fillets into more or less serving-sized pieces but usually we prefer to leave the fillet whole.
We use glass baking dishes for this – use whatever you want or have.  Grease up your baking dish and put the fish in, skin side down.  With this recipe, we haven’t noticed a difference if you score the skin, so there’s no need to do so.
Mix up the sour cream or yogurt, the mustard, onion, dill, and the mayo.
At this point, you can do either – you can season the fish directly with salt and pepper, or you can season the mixture you just prepared.  I always season the fish.  Use sea salt or coarse kosher salt, and obviously fresh-ground pepper.  Don’t use crappy substitutes for salt and pepper – it makes a difference.
Now you can spread this mixture over the salmon.

Once you’ve spread the mixture over the fish, put it in the oven.
If you’re cooking from frozen, a good rule is to bake it for 20 minutes per inch of thickness of fish.  If you’ve taken it out, and it’s at least partially thawed, 10 to 12
minutes should do it.
When the meat is just cooked, take it out and sprinkle it with the cheese(s) and a few dashes of paprika.
Put it back in the oven and broil it for about 1 minute.  It’s easy to leave it in too long – don’t broil any longer when the cheese is bubbly and starts getting brown flecks – get it out of there – it’s done!

Once you take it out of the oven, let it sit for a couple of minutes and then remove the skin, cut into portions, if you hadn’t done that before cooking, and enjoy!

We typically serve this over white rice with lemon wedges on the side.  Because the topping is what makes this dish, we always make roughly double the amount of the topping.  As it cooks and is broiled at the end, some of it will slide off the fish into the pan or dish.  That’s just fine.  The key to the extra topping is to scrape it out of the baking dish and put it on the rice and mix it in – it’s a great combination and gives the rice a perfect kick.  Of course, if you have the time, you can pair this recipe with a number of different starches and vegetables on the side as well, instead of the rice.  As we’ve tried different options around this recipe, we’ve replaced the dill with other fresh herbs and combinations of spices – go ahead and try something different, because you might just love it.

My kids’ reactions:  First of all, you need to know my kids absolutely love fish – they’re not picky as to what kind.  So we will almost always win when we make fish for dinner.  I don’t need to separate them for this recipe – this is one of their favorite recipes and we make it quite often.  They will devour all the salmon and all of their rice, which is a good thing!  As a parent, you know you’ve got a winner on your hands when your kids are fighting over who got a slightly bigger portion and calling the whole process unfair and unjust.  That’s the kind of problem you WANT to have at the dinner table.

Hope you enjoy it!

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