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Christmas Baked Salmon: Easy & Make-ahead

Your Christmas main dish for this year has just landed!! Have you ever seen a Baked Salmon look so festive?? And it’s so EASY!


SALMON:

  • ▢1.2 – 1.5 kg / 2.4 – 3lb salmon side (skin on, bones removed, Note 1)

  • ▢2 1/4 tsp salt , cooking/kosher (Note 2)

  • ▢1 tsp black pepper

HONEY BUTTER GLAZE:

  • ▢150g / 5oz butter , unsalted

  • ▢1/2 cup honey

  • ▢3 garlic cloves , finely minced (garlic press or knife)

CREAMY DILL SAUCE:

  • ▢1 1/2 cups sour cream , full fat (low fat is too watery)

  • ▢1/2 cup fresh dill , finely chopped (lightly packed cup)

  • ▢1/2 eschallot (French onion) , finely grated

  • ▢1 1/2 tbsp lemon zest

  • ▢1/2 tsp salt , cooking/kosher (Note 2)

HOLIDAY "TAPENADE":

  • ▢1 cup dried cranberries

  • ▢1 cup orange juice

  • ▢1 cup slivered almonds , toasted (Note 3)

  • ▢1/3 cup parsley , roughly chopped

  • ▢1/4 tsp each salt and pepper

  • ▢1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

FINISHING:

  • ▢1 pomegranate , only the seeds

  • ▢1/4 cup parsley , roughly chopped

  • ▢3 tbsp lemon juice

  • ▢2 lemons, extra , cut in 6 pieces each (for serving, don't skip this)


Instructions: CREAMY DILL SAUCE

  • Mix ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Keep refrigerated until required.

HOLIDAY TAPENADE

  • Plump cranberries: Heat orange juice in a saucepan over high heat until hot. Turn stove off, add cranberries, cover. Stand 15 minutes, then drain in a colander (discard liquid). Cool.

  • Mix: Mix cranberries, toasted almonds (see Note 3), parsley, salt and olive oil in bowl. Use at room temp.

COOKING SALMON

  • Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F (all oven types).

  • Prepare salmon: Place a large sheet of foil on a tray (double layer for safety is recommended), then top with baking/parchment paper. Place salmon on paper, then fold up the foil sides a bit to cup them so glaze won't run onto tray.

  • Glaze: Place ingredients in a saucepan over medium high heat. Once it started foaming, turn down to medium, let it foam for 2 minutes then remove and pour straight over the salmon.

  • Season: Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper, putting most of the salt on the thicker part of the salmon.

  • Wrap: Cover salmon with a smaller piece of paper, then foil. Fold and seal up sides to enclose salmon in a parcel – it doesn't need to be 100% tightly sealed.

  • Bake 15 minutes. Remove salmon from oven.

  • Uncover / fold excess paper – Remove paper and foil and paper cover. Fold/scrunch paper and foil sides down to expose salmon surface. Tucking paper down also ensures it won't catch fire when broiling.

  • Grill/broil to brown: Switch oven to grill/broiler on high. Place salmon on middle shelf in the oven and broil 7 to 10 minutes until you get caramelisation mostly on the edges, a bit on top. Don't put it too close to the heat element otherwise paper might catch on fire! Check to ensure salmon is cooked – either pry open in middle to check or use a probe to check internal temperatures (Note 4).

  • Transfer to plate: Use foil overhang to transfer salmon onto serving platter straight away (otherwise it keeps cooking). Slide the foil then paper out from under the salmon.

  • Cool: Loosely cover with foil, then leave to cool for at least 15 minutes, up to 1 hour or longer (for room temp serving – Note 6 for serving notes).

ASSEMBLY AND SERVING

  • Dollop then thickly spread with Creamy Dill Sauce (~0.8cm / 1/3" thick layer).

  • Pile over Holiday Tapenade, scatter generously with pomegranate seeds, and then remaining parsley. Squeeze over lemon juice.

  • Serving: Serve with extra lemon wedges so people can add more to taste. Cut into pieces – I use a cake cutter for serving. Encourage people to slop up some of the honey-butter sauce that will be mixed with semi melted Creamy Dill Sauce – it's so good! This dish is best served slightly warm, not piping hot, also excellent at room temp

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