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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