Big City Salmon with Martini Sauce

Big City Salmon with Martini Sauce Recipe

A few years ago I created a menu of regional American dishes (both traditional and invented) for a special Fourth of July wine dinner. I wanted something particularly clever to represent Manhattan. I kept thinking of sophisticated New Yorkers drinking martinis and decided to try my hand at making a sauce with similar ingredients. I like the double dose of juniper with the deep, rich taste of wild salmon, and the olives add a distinctive briny note which cuts through the richness of the fish. You can grill or broil the salmon instead of sautéeing it, if you prefer.–Susan Spicer

LC Stirred, Shaken, or Sauced? Note

Now you can ask folks if they take their martini stirred, shaken, or sauce. As in this easy, elegant entree that’s swimming in a martini-inspired sauce. Hiccup.

Big City Salmon with Martini Sauce Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 25 M
  • Makes 4 servings


  • For the martini sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1/4 cup gin
  • 1/4 cup dry vermouth
  • 1 teaspoon chopped whole juniper berries
  • 1 teaspoon dried or brined green peppercorns (optional)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 6 pimiento-stuffed green olives, sliced into rings
  • Fresh lemon juice, to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the salmon
  • Four 6-ounce salmon fillets
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  • Make the martini sauce
  • 1. Place the shallot, gin, vermouth, juniper berries, and green peppercorns, if using, in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until reduced to about 3 tablespoons liquid. Add the cream and reduce to 1/4 cup.
  • 2. Strain the liquid and return it to the saucepan, discarding the solids. Whisk in the butter. Add the olives and season to taste with lemon juice, salt, and a little pepper. Cover and keep warm while you prepare the salmon.
  • Make the salmon
  • 3. Season each piece salmon fillet with salt and pepper and sprinkle with a little chopped parsley. If sauteing, heat the olive oil in a large skillet and cook the fish, undisturbed, for about 3 minutes on the first side. Flip the salmon fillet and cook for about 2 minutes on the second side for medium-rare. (If you prefer your salmon cooked through, increase the cooking time by about 90 seconds per side.)
  • 4. Spoon the Martini Sauce over (or alongside) the cooked salmon and serve immediately. This salmon is delicious with boiled new potatoes or rice.
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

Hey, there. Just a reminder that all our content is copyright protected. Like a photo? Please don't use it without our written permission. Like a recipe? Kindly contact the publisher listed above for permission before you post it (that's what we did) and rewrite it in your own words. That's the law, kids. And don't forget to link back to this page, where you found it. Thanks!

Recipe Testers Reviews

Raye Tiedmann

Oct 23, 2007

This is wonderful. The salmon was crusty, tender, and paired with this unique sauce. I did find that the sauce amount wasn’t as much as I thought it would be, but found that it’s so rich it needs be spooned on sparingly. The briny pimento-stuffed olives were novel, a nice change. This is expected of Susan Spicer of New Orleans fame. We love our sauces! The basic sauce without the olives can also work well for those who aren’t fond of olives. I noticed that the sauce will separate on standing, so serve as soon as it is done.

Cindi Kruth

Oct 23, 2007

We all loved this dish. The combination of ingredients produced a rich yet light sauce that went extremely well with the salmon. If there could be a complaint at all, it would be that we all would have liked a little more sauce. Easy enough to remedy next time. The sauce came together in a flash. I paired this with some green beans and a loaf of good bread, and dinner was ready in 15 minutes.

Dan Kraan

Oct 23, 2007

I would recommend the Atlantic salmon for this recipe, as it has a firmer, slightly leaner meat. The sauce really complements the salmon, and both are fairly quick and easy to prepare. I would make twice the amount of sauce next time as we were all scraping the salmon around the plate, trying to get every last bit of it! Less is more when it comes to the olives, so don’t get too large a size, and for those that don’t really care for olives, perhaps serving them on the side will allow olive lovers (and future olive lovers) to make their final decision on how much is enough.

Jeremy Schweitzer

Oct 23, 2007

I cooked this for a group of friends and we all liked it. Easy and interesting. This is a great dish for a romantic evening. As an aside, I actually prefer capers to olives and made it both ways, and the caper version was preferred by everyone.

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Send it along. Covet one of those spiffy pictures of yourself to go along with your comment? Get a free Gravatar. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

Rate this recipe!

Have you tried this recipe?
Let us know what you think.