Wild Salmon Bake with Sauce Vierge

Lure Seafood

Excerpted from Lure: Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the West Coast by Ned Bell with Valerie Howes.

One of my fondest childhood memories is baking a whole salmon that my dad and I had caught just outside of our house on the shore in Sydney, B.C. There’s just something so satisfyingly primal about cooking a whole fish—head to tail—especially when you’ve caught it yourself. But even if you’ve picked it up from the store, when you present a whole fish, or even a whole fish fillet, at the table, it’s the kind of dramatic gesture that guests love. For this party-ready dish, I keep the preparation simple and let the sauce vierge do the talking. Uncooked and loaded with herbs, this classic French sauce is brighter than the usual creamy sauces we associate with French cuisine. It’s a stunner with salmon but is delicious with tuna, too.

Sauce vierge
4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced (about 3 cups)
1 large shallot, finely chopped (about ¼ cup)
½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
½ cup chopped fresh chives
3 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
Sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Season to taste. Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.

1 (2 to 3 lb) any salmon fillet
Olive oil, for brushing the salmon and for drizzling
Sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper
½ lemon

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Brush the skin with olive oil and season both sides with salt and pepper.
2. Place the salmon skin side down onto the prepared baking sheet. Add the lemon cut side up beside the salmon, and bake for about 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of fish. An instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part should read 120°F to 125°F. Set aside to rest for 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Add a few generous spoonfuls of sauce vierge on top, drizzle with olive oil, and serve with the charred lemon.

Chef’s note: Alternatively, preheat the grill and cook on the grate skin side down. (The bbq acts like an “oven” with the lid closed so you cook the fish evenly.)

For more recipes from Ned Bell’s Lure: Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the West Coast, click here.


Never miss a story. Sign up for NUVO’s weekly newsletter.