Allow me to introduce you to the one recipe that you are guaranteed to make over and over and over again: Mark Bittman’s salmon roasted in butter. You can thank me later.
I came across this recipe while browsing through the New York Times Food section. I wasn’t looking for salmon or even for fish, I was simply on the hunt for something quick and easy to make that would shake up my boring dinner routine. So when I happened upon this salmon roasted in butter NYT recipe, I knew immediately that I had to try it!
In case you aren’t familiar with Mark Bittman, he’s one of the most widely admired food writers in the United States. This recipe comes from his cookbook How to Cook Everything: The Basics (one of more than 30 books he’s written), which won both a James Beard and a Julia Childs General Cookbook Award and focuses on easy-to-make recipes that don’t require a lot of ingredients or extensive culinary skills to master.
This salmon roasted in butter recipe is the epitome of Bittman’s style, and not only is it one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever made, but it has also become my favorite way to cook salmon. By roasting it at a high temperature and in lots of butter, the salmon comes out sooooo silky and delicate while the combination of lemon and herbs adds freshness and brightness to balance the natural oils of the fish and the richness of the butter.
I’ve cooked this recipe for salmon roasted in butter for everyone I know, who in turn have cooked it for everyone they know! It’s one of those recipes you’ll want to make on repeat and one that will turn even the non-fish eaters in your life into instant salmon fans.
And in case you don’t believe me you can ask my 9-year-old niece who now requests this roasted salmon in butter at least once a week!
Salmon Roasted in Butter
A common question when it comes to salmon is Can you cook salmon in butter? And the answer is a big fat YES, as evidenced by Mark Bittman’s delicious salmon roasted in butter recipe!
This quick and easy recipe involves roasting the salmon at a high temperature in a generous amount of butter, which gives the fish a rich flavor and a succulent texture. The addition of herbs and lemon then brings balance and brightness to the dish to create a super flavorful and satisfying meal.
Salmon roasted in butter is easy to prepare, requires only a few ingredients, and can be ready in 30 minutes or less, making it a perfect option for busy weeknights or special occasions alike.
Ingredients needed for Salmon cooked in butter and lemon
Simple and elegant, this easy salmon recipe comes together in a matter of minutes! And the best part is that you only need a couple of ingredients to make a restaurant-quality meal.
To make this salmon roasted in butter by Mark Bittman, you’ll need:
- Salmon: For even cooking, opt for salmon fillets that are the same size. I typically make this recipe using 6 oz, 1-inch thick pieces.
- Butter: Because butter is essentially the star of the show in this recipe, I recommend using a high-quality butter. The better the butter, the better the dish!
- Parsley, chervil, or dill: You can’t go wrong with any one of these herbs when making this salmon roasted in butter, each one is just as delicious as the others. Personally, I’m on team parsley, but a chunk of my family is on team dill!
- Lemon juice: Mark Bittman’s original recipe does not call for lemon juice, this is something I’ve only started to add recently. You absolutely do not need it, I just prefer a stronger taste of lemon!
- Salt and pepper: A given seasoning in any recipe!
- Lemon wedges or slices: Don’t skip the fresh lemon when you serve this dish! You need that final lemon spritz to finish it off.
How to make oven roasted salmon with butter
Roasted salmon in butter is a quick and delicious dish for any occasion that I’m willing to bet will become a favorite recipe in your house as it has in mine! With these few simple steps, you can have a flavorful and perfectly cooked meal ready in no time.
1. Prepare the butter, lemon, and herbs
Start by preheating your oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. Choose a roasting pan just large enough to fit your salmon and add the butter and half of the minced herbs to it. Place the pan in the oven and heat until the butter melts and the herbs begin to sizzle, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and stir in the lemon juice.
2. Roast the salmon
Add the salmon to the pan, skin side up, and roast for about 4 minutes. Remove from the oven and peel off the skin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, turn the salmon over, and sprinkle with salt and pepper again. Roast for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, or longer if you prefer your salmon more well done.
3. Serve the salmon cooked in butter and lemon
Spoon a bit of the melted herb butter over each salmon fillet and top with the remaining herbs. Serve with lemon wedges and enjoy!
What to serve with this recipe for salmon roasted in butter
Tthere are a variety of tasty sides that pair well with this flavorful fish. Here are a few ideas:
- Rice: A side of rice makes a great complement to salmon. You can keep it simple with plain rice, or you can mix in some herbs, lemon zest, garlic, or other seasonings. (Personally, I never make this fish without rice. I like to serve the salmon on top of it so that the rice absorbs all the yummy extra butter!)
- Roasted vegetables: Broccoli is usually my go-to veggie when I make this NYT butter salmon, but roasted carrots or brussels sprouts make a great accompaniment as well.
- Salad: A simple green salad or spinach salad with vinaigrette pairs beautifully with this dish as it helps balance out the richness of both the salmon and butter.
- Mashed potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes are a classic side for many fish dishes, and salmon is no exception.
- Crusty bread: A loaf of crusty bread is the perfect pairing for this roasted salmon in butter and herbs as you can use it to soak up any remaining butter and juices!
Frequently Asked Questions about Salmon Roasted in Butter
A delicious and easy recipe, this salmon roasted in butter comes together in minutes and makes for a great meal any night of the week. Here are some answers to common questions that arise when cooking this dish.
Can I use butter instead of oil for salmon?
Yes, yes, and yes again! Butter is a wonderful substitute for oil when it comes to cooking salmon because it adds a beautifully rich flavor to the fish. Just try this lemon butter salmon recipe if you need proof!
Is salmon better with butter or olive oil?
Both butter and olive oil are delicious choices for cooking salmon. Butter tends to add a richer and creamier flavor to salmon, while olive oil offers a nuttier note and is also a healthier option.
Ultimately, whether salmon is better with butter or olive oil depends on your personal preference and the desired flavor profile for the dish. The best way to decide which cooking method you prefer is to experiment and find what you like best!
What is the best seasoning to put on salmon?
There are heaps of great seasonings to put on salmon. From super simple to super savory or spicy, salmon works well with all sorts of flavors.
Some popular options include:
- Salt and pepper
- Fresh or dried dill
- Fresh or dried parsley
- Fresh or dried thyme
- Fresh or dried rosemary
- Fresh or dried oregano
- Mustard or mustard powder
- Brown sugar
- Fresh garlic or garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Cayenne pepper
- Chili powder
- Curry powder
- Lemon pepper
- Smoked paprika
- Fresh or dried ginger
What is the best way to cook salmon?
Personally, I think the best way to cook salmon is to roast it in the oven at a high temperature not only because the fish comes out super succulent, but it also requires little attention while cooking.
However, pan-frying or pan-searing salmon on the stovetop is another quick and easy way to cook it, especially for folks who like crispy skin on their salmon.
That said, the best method is one that allows the natural flavors of the fish to shine through. From grilling to baking to poaching to frying, this can be done in many different ways!
How long to cook salmon in butter?
The time it takes to cook salmon in butter depends on the thickness of your fillet, how well done you like your fish, and the temperature at which you cook it.
For a 6 oz, 1-inch thick salmon fillet roasted at 475 degrees Fahrenheit, you can use the following cooking times as an estimate:
- 8 minutes for rare
- 10 minutes for medium-rare
- 12-15 minutes for well-done
However, it's always best to use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of the salmon to ensure it’s safe to eat. While the FDA recommends cooking fish to at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit, most chefs prefer to serve salmon at around 125 degrees, which is completely safe for consumption.
Can I use a different type of fish for this New York Times salmon roasted in butter recipe?
Absolutely! This cooking method would work well for all types of fish, from meaty fish like halibut, tuna, or swordfish to more delicate fish like tilapia or sole. However, it’s important to note that different types of fish may require more or less time in the oven, so you'll need to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Salmon cooked in butter calories?
According to MyFitnessPal, a 6 oz piece of cooked salmon has about 350 calories, 2 tablespoons of butter has about 200 calories, the juice of half a lemon has about 10 calories, and 2 tablespoons of parsley, chervil, or dill has about 5 calories.
Therefore the total calories for one serving of this salmon roasted in butter is approximately 565 calories.
Please note that this calculation is only an approximation. Calories will vary based on your cooking method and the ingredients used.
Salmon roasted in Butter: Final Thoughts
When I came across Mark Bittman’s salmon roasted in butter in the NYTimes, I had no idea that this recipe was such a “thing” among foodies!
But it is….And now I know why!
This salmon is not only tender and flavorful, it only requires a few ingredients and is effortless to prepare.
So if you’re looking for a quick, easy, and delicious way to cook salmon, look no further than this roasted salmon with butter and lemon. Thanks to Bittman’s simple and straightforward approach to cooking, you can have a restaurant-quality meal on your table in no time at all!
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