Salmon with smoked salmon butter

I’ve recently gotten into perusing the New York Times’ cooking site for recipes. I find they tend to have really good takes on basics, and fully grasp the concept of weeknight cooking.

(One pan! 20 minutes! No weird spice requirements!)

Two of the recipes I’ve shared on this site so far have come from their archives–some delightfully simple, cold sesame noodles, and the pesto I made a week ago.


Thanks to one of my roommates, I’ve also been on a big smoked salmon kick as of late. (Quick poll of the audience: is there anything potentially harmful in eating some form of salmon every day at least once, and sometimes twice? A girl’s life depends on your answer!)

So imagine my delight when I found a New York Times recipe for salmon with…wait for it…smoked salmon butter. I may be misusing the term, but I’m pretty sure this is a meta recipe if there ever was one.


Basically what you do is you chop up some smoked salmon and you mix it with butter and some seasonings, and then once you’ve cooked your salmon you take a big fat slice of the butter and slather it on the cooked fish.


The result is salmon swimming in a pool of buttery smoked salmon.

Buttery. Smoked. Salmon. Just pause for a minute and let that sink in.


So because I found this recipe, and because we’ve never sat down together for a home-cooked meal, I made it for my roommates this week. I tend to overextend myself when it comes to multi-dish meals so I kept the whole thing simple and served the fish with some rosemary roasted potatoes and a green salad.

Well, as simple as anything can be when you’re dipping it in smoked salmon butter.

Smoked. Salmon. Butter. Ok I’ll stop now.


Salmon with smoked salmon butter
(Slightly adapted from Florence Fabricant of the New York Times)

Serves 4

1 ounce smoked salmon (she suggests sockeye)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon lemon zest (or, if you lack a zester, lemon juice)
1 tablespoon minced dill
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 salmon filets of equal size
Salt and pepper

Mince the smoked salmon and place it in a small bowl. Add butter and mash to combine using a fork. Add lemon zest or juice and dill and mix.

Scoop the butter onto a work surface and form it into a cylinder about 2 inches across. Wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the freezer.

Heat a large skillet, cast iron if you have it, on medium-high. Add oil, making sure the whole skillet is coated. Pat the fish dry and add to the skillet, skin side down. (It’s going to splatter like crazy! Ready the cleaning spray!)

Increase heat to high and cook about 3 minutes, until the skin is browned. Then flip the fish and sear on high until fish is done. Florence says this will take 2-3 minutes, I cooked for closer to 5. If the outside is burning but the inside is still rare, turn the heat down slightly. (Also, remember that the fish will continue to cook a bit once served so air on the side of rare).

While the fish is cooking, take the butter out of the freezer. Plate the fish, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place a portion of smoked salmon butter atop each.

This is important: leave the butter on the table so that you can continue to slather each bite, and side dishes, in its goodness.

Equally important: make it a habit to always have smoked salmon butter on the table.


Rosemary roasted potatoes

1 pound small, red skinned potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoon fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Cut each potato in half, and for larger potatoes, in thirds. Place in a bowl. Add olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper and toss to combine.

Place foil on a baking sheet and spread potatoes on it, making sure none are overlapping.

Bake for 30 minutes, checking after 20.


Simple vinaigrette
(Adapted from Ina Garten, via the Food Network)

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons champagne or white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
½ cup olive oil

Whisk together the mustard, garlic, vinegar, salt and pepper. While whisking, slowly add the olive oil until the vinaigrette is emulsified.

Serve over salad greens.


Salmon with smoked salmon butter:
Vinaigrette for green salad:


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