With layers of lemon and tarragon flavor, Lemon Tarragon Salmon with Quick Béarnaise combines 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!
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!
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).
What You’ll Need
- 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 fillets.
- Extra-virgin olive oil. This helps keep the salmon moist
- Lemon juice, tarragon, parsley, lemon zest, garlic clove, salt, pepper. These add flavor!
- 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.
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, 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 🙂 ).
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!
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).
Friday #LemonWeek Recipes
- Lemon Poppy Seed Sweet Rolls by Fresh April Flours
- Grilled Chicken Piccata by Palatable Pastime
- Creamy Lemon Smoothie Recipe by Blogghetti
- Gluten Free Lemon Bars by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Lemon Tarragon Salmon by Art Of Natural Living
- Meyer Lemon Vanilla Shortbread Cookies by Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Lemon Poppy Seed Thumb Print Cookies by Cheese Curd In Paradise
- Lemon Pasta by Devour Dinner
- Lemon Blueberry Cookies by Best Cookie Recipes
- Lemon Tea Bread by The Freshman Cook
- Homemade Lemon Cake by Simply Inspired Meals
- Italian Lemon Ricotta Cake by The Fresh Cooky
- Lemony Shrimp Pasta by A Day In The Life On The Farm
- Rosemary Watermelon Lemonade by The Spiffy Cookie
- Lemon Crumb Muffins with Lemon Glaze by An Affair From The Heart
- Lemon Poppy Seed Cake by Kathryn’s Kitchen Blog
- Ina Garten’s Lemon Chicken by Jen Around The World
- Lemon Ice Cream by Lemon Blossoms
- Lemon Sour Cream Pound Cake by Home Cooked Harvest
- Grilled Lemon Herb Flatbread by That Recipe
- Lemon Meringue Cheesecake by The Redhead Baker
- Oven Baked Lemon Pepper Chicken and Gnocchi by Jonesin’ For A Taste
- Dragonfruit Lemonade by Magical Ingredients
Lemon Tarragon Salmon with Quick 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
- 24 ounces boneless salmon fillets 4 6-ounce fillets
- Salt pepper
- 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
- 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
Originally published May 2, 2019 .
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