Salmon and Bearnaise Sauce
This simple recipe shows you how to make baked salmon with Béarnaise sauce. This is a very easy recipe and the meal can be cooked in about 20 minutes.
The recipe for the Béarnaise can of course also be used to serve with steak or chicken if you prefer. Béarnaise sauce is a delicate sauce that goes very well with different types of dish.
How to bake salmon
This recipe bakes the salmon fillets in the oven. They can of course also be pan-seared on the hob, or grilled if you prefer, which will make them crispier on the outside.
However, I find that if you cook them in the oven, you can concentrate better on making the Béarnaise sauce. Making the sauce does require some attention, and you then do not need to be watching the fish fillets in the pan.
During baking, you may notice that a white substance is released from the salmon flesh. This is nothing to worry about. This is called albumin, and it is a protein that coagulates from the flesh of the fish during cooking. It will not harm you and is quite normal.
Baking salmon fillets is so simple. You simply spray some olive oil on a baking sheet pan, season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon, and cook the salmon fillet skin side down in the oven for between 12 and 15 minutes, depending a bit on the size of the fillet.
The salmon is cooked when the chunks of meat easily separate from each other. Be careful not to overcook the fish as it will be dry and a waste of your hard-earned pennies.
When you remove the salmon from the pan you can easily remove the skin and serve it up skinless.
Making Béarnaise sauce
The only slightly tricky part to making the Béarnaise sauce is to make sure that you do not scramble your eggs while you are whisking them. As long as you whisk enough and do so on a low heat, you will be alright. I do this by whisking by hand in a glass bowl over warm water, otherwise known as a bain-marie.
For this meal, I boiled some new potatoes so I set the potatoes aside and used the warm water from the same pan with a glass bowl on top to whisk the sauce.
This is the classic way to make the Hollandaise sauce that is the basis for the Béarnaise. Normally the Hollandaise part would include some lemon juice, but I tend to keep that ingredient as an option to adjust the taste if the final sauce is not quite as you want it.
This is because the Béarnaise reduction in this recipe does already include white wine vinegar, which has a similar effect on the taste, and may be enough acidity for your palette.
You could of course also serve up the salmon with Hollandaise sauce if you wanted to. There is nothing wrong with that either.
Salmon always goes well with buttery lemon sauces as well, but I think this combination of Béarnaise with salmon does add something different with the slight aniseed taste of the tarragon.
In this dish, I served it with new potatoes and oven-roasted asparagus, which meant I could cook the asparagus in the oven with the salmon at the same time. Minimum fuss and work.
Anyhow, I hope you enjoy trying out this recipe. Let me know how you get on in the comments section below!
How to make baked salmon fillets with a Béarnaise sauce