Party Salmon

By Ann

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Enjoy hot out of the oven for an easy weeknight meal or serve at room temperature for a delightful addition to any buffet table. For a delicious breakfast or brunch, serve in place of lox with an assortment of bagels, cream cheese, chopped hard-boiled egg, capers, minced red onion, and thinly sliced cucumber.


Party Salmon is a shortcut alternative to a side of smoked salmon that can be prepared easily (up to a day in advance!) in the oven with minimal ingredients. 

Turkey will, no doubt, be the meat of choice in the week ahead. But since Thanksgiving kicks off a month-long season of festivities involving food, the timing seemed right for a simple yet versatile seafood option.

Because it’s ideal for entertaining, I call this dish “Party Salmon.” It’s an easy yet impressive spin on smoked salmon, and is baked in the oven. The fillet can be cooked in advance and served on a buffet table at room temperature or enjoyed hot-from-the-oven for a sit-down dinner.

The prep is quick and requires few ingredients, yet the presentation seems special. Amidst the holiday season’s never-ending supply of dips, chips, and cookies, healthy salmon can also be a welcome yet completely delicious change of pace.

In the warmer months, I like to prepare this salmon in advance for use as a protein-rich topper for a variety of dinner salads. Leftovers are a treat any time of the year and will keep, wrapped well and refrigerated, for up to five days. Beyond dinner, extras are a lunchtime treat and can also be the basis for a simple, savory breakfast.

For a delicious quick bite or appetizer, place a chunk of Party Salmon on a cucumber round and top with a dollop of horseradish dill sauce (recipe linked below). Finish with a small piece of fresh dill or parsley for a pretty look. For an alternative to cucumber rounds, you could use toasted, party-size pumpernickel bread. Both options are clever ways to utilize a small amount of leftover cooked salmon.

Because it’s so very simple, I don’t just save Party Salmon for company. I frequently serve this recipe as an easy-but-popular weeknight meal.

Enjoy hot out of the oven for an easy weeknight meal or serve at room temperature for a delightful addition to any buffet table. Great substitute for lox in a bagel spread!

Extra details on internal cooking temperature:

The FDA recommends cooking salmon to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.  In my opinion, this temperature produces dry salmon.  America’s Test Kitchen recommends an internal temperature of 125 degrees F, which is what I aim for.  If you prefer not to use a quick-read thermometer–which is a sure-fire way to get it right and super-dooper easy to use–check the salmon early and don’t hesitate to cut into the thickest portion of the fillet.  The flesh should flake easily and be mostly cooked, but there should be a hint of undercooked, translucent meat in the center.  The fish will continue to cook once removed from the oven.  If you prefer to eat the salmon on the rare side, you’ll want to check a little earlier and aim for an internal temp of about 115 to 120 degrees F.


The horseradish is what, I think, makes this sauce really sing. It’s bright, zesty, and perfectly suited to Party Salmon or your favorite baked, broiled, or grilled seafood. You could also serve it with crab cakes in place of cocktail or tartar sauce.

Leftover sauce is equally delicious mashed into a baked potato, and I think broccoli tastes extra special when dipped in the speedy condiment. The sauce is also a scrumptious alternative to sour cream on Crispy Latkes.  

There's no draining in this recipe for the crispiest latkes which come together quickly and are enjoyed by all members of the family.

And while the salmon may be enjoyed on a plate, with a dollop of sauce, and eaten with a fork, it’s also delightful as a handheld bite on store-bought or homemade crostini

Party Salmon is a shortcut alternative to a side of smoked salmon that can be prepared easily (up to a day in advance!) in the oven with minimal ingredients. 

Party Salmon is a shortcut alternative to a side of smoked salmon that can be prepared easily (up to a day in advance) in your oven with minimal ingredients. I recently made this one with my aunt for a party she was helping with. She sent me this photo and reported the platter was scraped clean – including the cucumbers, which are delicious dipped in the sauce as well! 

I’d love to know if you try this recipe, or if you have a favorite fudge recipe. Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @fountainavenuekitchen on Instagram and Facebook. Your feedback is always appreciated.

Party Salmon
Enjoy hot out of the oven for an easy weeknight meal or serve at room temperature for a delightful addition to any buffet table. For a delicious (if not traditional) breakfast or brunch option, serve this salmon in place of lox with an assortment of bagels or brown breads, cream cheese, chopped hard-boiled egg, capers, minced red onion, and thinly sliced cucumber.

Yields 4-6 main dish, 10-12 appetizer servings.
  • 1 salmon fillet* (about 1 1/2 pounds), preferably at or near room temperature
  • 1/4 cup white wine (I typically use Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (lightly packed)
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Garnishes: Lemon slices, cucumber slices, fresh dill or parsley
  • Optional Sauce: Creamy Dill Sauce
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place the salmon on a large, rimmed baking sheet. If you prefer to remove the skin, do not grease the sheet. If you’d like to keep the skin on, do grease the baking sheet. Tip: the salmon will be easier to transfer without breaking when the skin is left on.
  3. Pour the white wine over the salmon. Next sprinkle with the brown sugar, rubbing to evenly distribute, followed by the salt and pepper. I don’t measure but give it an “average” sprinkle—not too light, not too heavy. (For those who like a precise measurement, I would say 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.)
  4. Bake the salmon for approximately 18 to 20 minutes or until a quick-read thermometer registers 125 degrees F. A temperature reading of 120 degrees F. will be slightly undercooked in the thicker parts of the fillet–a reference temperature if you prefer the inside to still be slightly rare. Precise cooking time will vary based on the size and thickness of the fillet. Feel free to cut into the thickest portion of the fillet if not using a thermometer and/or adjust according to personal preference.
  5. Remove the salmon from the oven and let cool. (You may absolutely enjoy this salmon warm, too.) Then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. When ready to serve, transfer the salmon to a serving platter. I find this easiest when using two of my biggest and longest spatulas. If you didn’t grease the baking sheet (so that you could remove the skin), simply run the spatula between the salmon’s flesh and skin. The skin will stick to the sheet. If the fillet breaks, don’t worry. Just piece it back together and garnish with lemon slices, cucumber slices, and/or fresh herbs. Serve with optional Creamy Dill sauce.
  • * What to do if your fillet is slightly bigger or smaller? For an easy adjustment, figure on 1 teaspoon of brown sugar and 2 teaspoons of wine for every 1/4 pound (4 ounces) of uncooked salmon. I typically use a wild Sockeye fillet, which tends to be thinner and weigh less than a fillet of farmed salmon. If your fillet is larger, you’ll need to add a few minutes to the cooking time. Conversely, check smaller or very thin fillets a little sooner. Again, taking the internal temperature or discretely cutting into the fillet will be the best way to check for doneness.
  • To reduce the amount of albumin–the harmless white stuff that often cooks out of salmon–bring the fillet to room temperature prior to cooking and be careful not to overcook.
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  1. Fezzi

    This was a BIG hit at a social get-together!
    I served it along with the creamy dill sauce and most people liked it on top of crostini.
    It was absolutely delicious.

  2. Trudy

    YUMMY! I am having a weekend-at-a-airbnb graduation party and saw this. It seemed a perfect brunch (or lunner, depending on when they crawl out of bed!) set up. Work done ahead of time, people can help themselves, and I don’t have to be a short order cook!
    Tried it out last night and it was easy and delicious.

    Thank for another ‘keeper’ Ann!

    1. Ann

      So happy to read your comment, Trudy! I’m delighted the test run was a success and hope you have a wonderful weekend celebrating the graduate!

  3. Ann22

    Made this for a dinner party – it was a huge hit. So simple but delicious. Best of all we prepared Friday evening and served for Saturday dinner. No fuss no muss. I definitely made a large portion of the dill sauce and I was glad I did.

    1. Ann

      So happy the salmon was a dinner party hit! Hopefully, you even have some leftover sauce to enjoy on other things. Thanks so much for your comment.

  4. C Parker

    I’d like to bake my salmon filets (2/2lbs sockeye) and serve at room temp on the buffet table. With this different cooking method can I follow your recipe to chill after cooking (to recommended temp) then plate? I will serve this with your horseradish sauce.

    1. Ann

      You can absolutely cook this earlier in the day and then chill and serve when needed. It’s really a great entertaining recipe for that reason. Hope you enjoy!

  5. terry

    I would like to serve this for company that cannot have alcohol. Is there a good and tasty substitute that can be used in its place?

    1. Ann

      Hi Terry, I might try chicken, vegetable or seafood stock and add a squeeze of lemon juice or dash of white wine vinegar to provide a subtle hint of acidity. I think it should work out well!

  6. Anna

    This salmon is tender, delicious, and truly simple to prepare. I made it for company this weekend, served it cold, and it was devoured. Will make again for sure.

  7. Pingback: Creamy Horseradish Dill Sauce — The Fountain Avenue Kitchen

  8. Pingback: The Fountain Avenue Kitchen – Creamy Horseradish Dill Sauce

  9. Mary Lou Keller

    Oh my goodness does this look amazing Ann! I think this will be a great option for family Christmas. I love salmon any way it is cooked. I’m going to “pin” this one!