Recently the brother of a dear friend reminded me of the first time we met decades ago. Hank said, “You grilled salmon with herb butter, and it was amazing!” I vaguely remembered a recipe like that, but I had no idea where I’d found it.
Shortly after that I noticed tubes of Gourmet Garden ™ Stir-In Paste with various herbs in the produce section of a grocery store. This seemed like the perfect time to try some. I bought the Italian Herb Paste and mixed it with some softened butter, and then smeared it on the salmon.
I’ve made salmon with herb butter at least six times in the last few months while testing variations of this recipe. On the last few tests, I added ground rosemary and sautéed garlic to give the dish even more flavor. While testing this recipe, I made it on the stovetop, on the grill and in the oven. My preference is on the stovetop for three reasons. First and foremost, it’s the easiest way to cook in my one-butt kitchen. Second, the garlic can be sautéed in the same pan before cooking the salmon. Third, I prefer the taste and texture of the salmon when it is cooked on both sides before adding the herb butter.
The first time I made this salmon, I had some cauliflower rice that needed to be used. We liked the combination so much that I’ve included the cauliflower recipe below.
Active time: 10 minutes Total time: 25 minutes
Specialized One-Butt Kitchen Utensils
- With a Mortar and Pestle, you can grind the rosemary to a powder, releasing more of its flavor.
- A Manual Food Chopper works great for mincing the garlic, but a sharp knife will also do the trick.
- You’ll need a skillet for stovetop cooking. I recently bought a Non-Stick Skillet with Lid made by OXO Good Grips. The 12-inch skillet works well for this recipe, and it also comes in 8-inch and 10-inch sizes.
- If you want to prepare cauliflower rice in the oven, you’ll need a rimmed baking pan. This Baking Pan with Rack also comes with a silicone pad.
- 2 (6-oz) salmon fillets
- 1/2 tbsp dried rosemary
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp garlic, coarsely minced
- 2 tbsp Gourmet Garden ™ Stir-In Paste (The Italian Herbs flavor is my favorite, but Basil and Cilantro are good, too.)
- 1 tbsp butter, softened
Ingredients for Cauliflower Rice (optional):
- 1 (12-oz) package cauliflower rice (That 12-oz package says it serves 4. If you eat it raw that may be true, but it shrinks a lot when it’s sautéed or roasted. Plan on 12 ounces for 2 people.)
- olive oil (flavored olive oils like Garlic, Tuscan Herb or Butter taste great in this dish)
- salt and pepper to taste
Soften the butter in the microwave for 10 or 15 seconds if necessary, being careful not to melt it. Mix the herb paste and butter together with a fork.
Use a mortar and pestle to ground the dried rosemary into a powder. Rinse the salmon fillets and dry them with a paper towel. Season with rosemary, salt and pepper. Let the salmon sit while you prepare the garlic.
Mince the garlic with a food chopper or knife. Put the garlic and olive oil into a cold skillet, then turn the heat to medium-high. Sauté the garlic until it is a golden brown, stirring often. Remove the garlic, leaving the oil in the pan.
Return the pan to medium-high heat, and add a bit more olive oil if necessary. Place salmon in pan skin-side up. When it is nicely browned (about 4 minutes), flip it over to cook the other side. Spread the herbed butter on the salmon. Place a lid on the pan and continue cooking until it done, about 4 more minutes.
Directions for Cauliflower Rice:
The cauliflower rice can be prepared on the stovetop or in the oven. To prepare it on the stovetop, add olive oil to a skillet. Turn heat to medium-high. Add cauliflower rice. Stir frequently while cooking. I like it when the cauliflower rice is golden browned and it’s shriveled to about half its original size.
To prepare it in the oven, preheat oven to 400. Put parchment paper in a rimmed baking pan for easier cleanup. Place the cauliflower on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss until cauliflower is evenly coated with olive oil. Arrange the cauliflower evenly in the pan. Cook for about 10 minutes. Shake pan once during cooking.