This herb-stuffed baked salmon amps up the flavor of wild salmon with lemons and a bread stuffing made with sourdough, garlic, mixed fresh herbs such as dill, parsley, oregano, and thyme along with dried chile flakes.
This herb-stuffed salmon makes for a stupendously simple yet superlatively impressive supper. Part of the reason we adore it so is the opportunity it provides to indulge in crisped salmon skin. The uber-crisped, ocean-y rendition of pork rind tastes (arguably) even better than its piggy counterpart. One last boon—it makes ample servings and is lovely served cold so you can take leftovers to work the next day and be the envy of the office.–Renee Schettler
☞ Table of Contents
Herb-Stuffed Baked Salmon
- Kitchen string
For the stuffing
- 2 thick slices sourdough bread torn into chunks
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 1 garlic clove chopped
- Handful mixed fresh herbs such as parsley, oregano, and thyme leaves, chopped
- Pinch dried chile flakes
Prepare the oven
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C).
Make the herb stuffing
- In a food processor, combine the bread, pine nuts, garlic, mixed fresh herbs, and chile flakes until you end up with coarse bread crumbs.
Prepare the baked salmon
- Rinse the salmon and pat it dry. Trim the thin ends and sides to create a neat rectangular shape, reserving the scraps to cook for something else, such as pasta or salad. Rub the salmon, both the skin and the fish, with the oil, salt, and pepper. Cut the rectangle in half to create 2 squarish pieces.
- Place 4 lengths of kitchen string (each about 18 inches) on a work surface perpendicular to you and parallel to one another, spacing them about 2 inches apart.
- Place half the dill sprigs on the strings, placing the dill perpendicular to the strings. Place a square of salmon on the dill, skin-side down. Place a quarter of the lemon slices along the center of the salmon and then press the bread crumb mixture onto the lemon and salmon. Make another row with 1/3 of the remaining lemon slices along the top of the bread crumb mixture. Place the other square of salmon on top, skin-side up, placing the thick end of the top piece over the thin end of the bottom piece so you get a roughly even thickness all over.
- Cover the salmon with the remaining dill sprigs and tie the strings, securing the salmon squares together. Don't tie the salmon too tightly. You want it just secure enough to hold everything in place.
- Generously oil a roasting pan just large enough to hold the salmon. Arrange the remaining lemon slices in the pan and place the stuffed salmon on top of them. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes if you like the salmon to be a little rare in the middle. If you don't care for salmon this rare, roast it a little longer.
- Let the salmon rest for 5 minutes. Transfer it to a platter and cut the strings. Slice the salmon with a sharp knife into fillets—it will fall apart as you do so—and make sure you scoop up ample stuffing and lemon with each fillet.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Some might read “side of salmon”, “kitchen string” and think uh-oh… complicated. Have no fear. Dragging my food processor out of the pantry to make the stuffing was more complicated then layering said ingredients and tying up this baby.
Oh, and bonus…since it serves 8 we had lunch the next day, too. Cold baked salmon over raw chopped kale salad. Yum!
I found this recipe easy, thoughtful, and delicious. This is a keeper!
What a great way to prepare salmon! As easy as a weeknight meal but nice enough for the weekend.
The ingredient list isn’t complicated and it allows for a little variety in the herbs used. The stuffing came together very quickly in the food processor. I was worried that using so much dill in the dish might be too much, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn’t overwhelming at all. Rather, it made a nice background to the fish.
My baked fish was done in 30 minutes and letting it rest for 5 or 6 minutes gave me enough time to make a salad. I will definitely make this winner dinner again and might even substitute trout fillets for the salmon next time, making individual servings.
None of us are big salmon fans, apart from our toddler (because it’s a pink fish and pink is her favorite color), and, well, everyone loved this simple recipe.
The salmon was cooked to perfection, although I had to add a few more minutes to the oven time. The stuffing was flavorful and great in combination with the salmon.
What a wonderful mess this herb-stuffed baked salmon recipe is! I love finding new ways to cook salmon, and this stuffed and layered version was quite intriguing. Once you assemble the ingredients, it’s a cinch. In fact, you also “cinch” the salmon square layers before you bake them with kitchen twine so that they keep their shape afterwards.
Even though the stuffing fell out, the lemon slices were slightly undercooked, the dill fronds blackened, and I accidentally used a plain baguette instead of a sourdough one for the rough crumbs, it still worked.
As the method indicates, though, be prepared for undercooked-in-the-middle salmon unless you add a few more minutes to the cooking time.
Also, I would put the leftover stuffing in a small casserole, dot it with butter, bake it, and have it as a side dish. You need more of the almost buttery blend of fresh herb, garlic, and pine nuts in every bite to balance the tartness of the fresh lemon.
I layered the strings, salmon, stuffing, and the rest right in the pan. It was cleaner and easier than on the counter. You can make this year-round, though it’s particularly attractive when you can find the fish on sale, the herbs for a reasonable price, and ways to use the quantities of remaining herbs within a few days.
Originally published September 20, 2012