Lemon Tarragon Salmon with Quick Béarnaise

With layers of lemon and tarragon flavor, Lemon Tarragon Salmon with Quick Béarnaise combines a flavorful fish with a rich, easy sauce. With layers of lemon and tarragon flavor, Lemon Tarragon Salmon with Quick Béarnaise tops a flavorful fish with a rich, easy sauce.Welcome to #LemonWeek 2022 hosted by Lynn from Fresh April Flours and Rebecca from Devour Dinner.  This week is sponsored by Rodelle and La Tourangelle. I may have received product samples from these sponsors to help in the creation of my recipes. All opinions are my own.

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One of the great things about blogging is realizing that you can eat great food—a lot. Because tasty doesn’t have to mean hard. Weeknights? Breakfasts? Yup, all without breaking a sweat.

Take this Lemon Tarragon Salmon. You toss some lemon and herbs on a piece of good salmon and bake. Then make a flavorful sauce that’s ready in minutes. And everything comes together seamlessly.

The lovely thing about a good sauce—well besides the flavor—is how it can make a simple recipe truly special. Just don’t tell anyone it’s ready minutes!

taking salmon out of pan

What is Bearnaise Sauce and why is it so good on this?

Per Wikipedia, “Béarnaise sauce is a sauce made of clarified butter emulsified in egg yolks and white wine vinegar and flavored with herbs. It is considered to be a “child” of the mother Hollandaise sauce.”

Tarragon is a favorite herb for use in Bearnaise and it delivers a subtle anise flavor. Interestingly, I don’t like the overwhelming anise punch (read, passionately hate) that flavors black licorice, but I love the more delicate version of it in this dish. I guess subtlety counts again!

In the end I believe it’s the combination of lemon and tarragon topping the fish, with the similarly flavored Bearnaise, that is key to the success of this dish. It’s that old concept of layering flavors!

With layers of lemon and tarragon flavor, Lemon Tarragon Salmon with Quick Béarnaise tops a flavorful fish with a rich, easy sauce.

Why You’ll Love This!

Healthy. Gotta love those healthy omega-3 fats!

Delicious. Rich, flavorful salmons with a tasty sauce. How good is that!

Elegant but easy. I’d serve this to guests in a heartbeat! But it’s so easy I serve it for ordinary weeknight diners too! Even the sauce is ready in minutes! Add some asparagus to the pan and it’s even more efficient (plus more elegant and healthier).

putting bernaise sauce on salmon

What You’ll Need

Ingredients

     Bearnaise Sauce

  • Butter.  This adds richness, body and is part of the emulsification.
  • Egg yolk.  This adds richness and is part of the emulsification.
  • Fresh lemon juice.  Helps emulsify, adds flavor, balances the richness.
  • White wine vinegar. Helps emulsify, adds flavor, balances the richness.
  • Shallot, fresh tarragon, salt, pepper. These add flavor.

     Salmon

  • Salmon fillets.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil. This helps keep the salmon moist
  • Lemon juice, tarragon, parsley, lemon zest, garlic clove, salt, pepper.  These add flavor!

Special Tools

  • Immersion blender. This is needed to emulsify the sauce.  Most standing blenders will only work if you trickle in the butter (and even then it’s a crap shoot).
  • Snug fitting jar.  You will need a jar that just fits the immersion blender.  A quart size, wide mouth canning jar is perfect but I have also reused (clean) commercial jars.  It’s important that you don’t use too wide a container.

Step by Step Directions

Place salmon fillets in a lidded baking dish. Season with salt and pepper and top with topping. Cover salmon pan and bake until just opaque in center, about 15 minutes, depending on thickness. 

salmon and asparagus ready to bake

While the salmon is baking, make the Bearnaise. Melt one Tablespoon butter in a small saucepan. Sautee minced shallot until just tender.

sautee shallots

Add remaining butter and heat until melted and just warm.  Combine all ingredients in a jar that is just wide enough to hold an immersion blender head. 

Blend until thickened, about a minute.

Serve salmon warm with sauce.

How to Serve

This entrée is fancy enough to serve to guests and easy enough for a weeknight dinner. Just add a vegetable, salad and starchy side for a complete meal. Think it’s too elegant for just you? Nah, you’re worth it!

I like to serve this with asparagus which I add right to my baking pan–how easy is that! It’s a vegetable that pairs beautifully with the fish, plus it has a short cooking time so you don’t risk overcooking your salmon. But really so many other vegetables go well too, from Brussels Sprouts to green beans.

Rice is a classic starchy side with fish and something we do a lot. But for a busy evening, you can’t beat cutting into an artisan loaf of bread. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy (lemon week pun 🙂 ).

With layers of lemon and tarragon flavor, Lemon Tarragon Salmon with Quick Béarnaise combines a flavorful fish with a rich, easy sauce.

Leftovers

You will probably have some leftover Bearnaise Sauce. But that can be a benefit! Serve it on vegetables (it’s amazing on broccoli or cauliflower) or top a steak or eggs. Consider Eggs Benedict using Bearnaise instead of the very similar Hollandaise.

Be sure to reheat the sauce slowly to keep it from curdling and/or separating.

Tips & FAQs

On non-stick spray. For this recipe, I tried a new non-stick spray from La Tourangelle.  I admit I was a little nervous–but I love it! It’s all natural and it works! And since I fry eggs in stainless steel, I give a non-stick spray a workout!

The last new spray I tried smelled fishy and went right in the garbage. I also tried two different spray bottles filled with olive oil—both of which clogged and also went into the trash. My old standard has ingredients I don’t recognize and I was afraid to research them since I had no alternative. So, seriously, this spray made this green gal’s day! spraying pan

Isn’t Bearnaise difficult? Awhile back, I discovered that homemade mayonnaise was easy to make using a stick blender. Easy and less risky! It pretty much changed my life.

You see, the same method works for Hollandaise and Bearnaise sauce. While these sauces have a reputation for being difficult, this method is simple and practically foolproof. Even my kids who barely cook (sigh) use it.

It has something to do with the physics of mixing, so be sure to follow the directions. In fact simply using too large a jar can cause it to fail (ask me how I know this).

With layers of lemon and tarragon flavor, Lemon Tarragon Salmon with Quick Béarnaise combines a flavorful fish with a rich, easy sauce.

Friday #LemonWeek Recipes

Lemon Tarragon Salmon

Lemon Tarragon Salmon with Quick Béarnaise

With layers of lemon and tarragon flavor, Lemon Tarragon Salmon with Quick Béarnaise tops a flavorful fish with a rich, easy sauce.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Main Dish
Cuisine French
Servings 4
Calories 504 kcal

Ingredients
  

Béarnaise:

  • 8 Tablespoons butter 1 stick, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh tarragon chopped
  • Salt, pepper to taste

Salmon:

  • 24 ounces boneless salmon fillets 4 6-ounce fillets
  • Salt pepper

Salmon Topping:

  • 1 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh tarragon chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic minced

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray baking pan with non-stick spray. Place salmon fillets, skin side down, in a lidded baking dish. Season with salt and pepper. Mix marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Brush evenly over salmon fillets.
  • Bake salmon until just opaque in center, about 15 minutes, depending on thickness.
  • While the salmon is baking, make the Bearnaise. Melt one Tablespoon butter in a small saucepan. Sautee minced shallot until just tender. Add remaining butter and heat until melted and just warm. Combine all ingredients in a jar that is just wide enough to hold an immersion blender head. Blend until thickened.
  • Serve warm with Bernaise sauce

Nutrition

Calories: 504kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 36gFat: 38gSaturated Fat: 17gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gMonounsaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 202mgSodium: 261mgPotassium: 977mgFiber: 0.4gSugar: 0.4gVitamin A: 1065IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 77mgIron: 3mg
I am not a health professional and nutrition data is calculated programatically. Accuracy may vary with product selection, calculator accuracy, etc. Consult a professional for the best information.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Originally published May 2, 2019 .

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35 thoughts on “Lemon Tarragon Salmon with Quick Béarnaise

    1. Inger Post author

      I belong to a Community Supported Fishery so I’ve learned lots of ways to make it!

  1. Kathleen

    You had me a lemon and butter, but the tarragon put me over the top! This looks so amazingly scrumptious, love meals that are easy enough for weeknights and stunning enough to serve to company!

  2. Cheryl

    I loved that bearnaise sauce and the salmon all turned out with total perfection. Thank you for this delicious recipe idea. I’m going to use the bearnaise sauce as part of deviled eggs and see if it is what I think it will be which is awesome!!! So thank you much..

    1. Inger Post author

      So happy you enjoyed this Cheryl! The immersion blender technique is so easy, it’s revolutionized sauces for me! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Thao @ In Good Flavor

    We must be on the same wavelength because I just finished up on a salmon and tarragon dish too! I love how you paired the tarragon with lemon. And that Béarnaise sauce is luscious!!

    1. Inger Post author

      Ooo, can’t wait to get over and see if it is on your blog (except I’m doing a take home final tonight aarrgh).

  4. David

    LOVE tarragon. LOVE salmon. LOVE Béarnaise. This recipe seems to have been created just for me! Thanks, Inger! See you Tuesday!

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