Brown-Butter Salmon With Scallions and Lemon

Brown-Butter Salmon With Scallions and Lemon

This dish is a celebration of soft food and subtle flavors. To prevent overcooking, the salmon bakes in a light yet comforting sauce that’s made with just three simple ingredients: butter, scallions and lemon peel. The salmon comes out silky, and the sauce is nutty from the browned butter and slightly sweet from the roasted scallions and lemon peel. Serve with a squeeze of lemon for freshness and a simple side like broccolini, green beans, grains or pasta. This technique also works for other fish like cod, halibut or arctic char.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 4 persons



  1. Step 1

    Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Pat salmon dry, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the zest of the lemon in wide strips. Cut the lemon into wedges for serving.
  2. Step 2

    In a large, ovenproof skillet, melt the butter over medium. When it’s foaming, add the scallions and the lemon peel, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter turns brown and smells nutty, 3 to 6 minutes. (If you’re using a light-colored pan, you’ll see the browned bits in the skillet. If you’re using a dark-colored pan, look for dark spots on the white parts of the scallions; those are browned bits of butter and a sign to remove the skillet from heat.)
  3. Step 3

    Immediately remove from heat, and add ⅓ cup of water. Stir to combine. Lay the salmon, skin side down (if there’s skin), into the sauce. Cover the skillet and bake until cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes, or slightly longer if you’re cooking a single, large piece. (You’ll know the salmon is done when the fish flakes or an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 120 degrees.)
  4. Step 4

    Eat the salmon with a spoonful of sauce and a squeeze of the lemon.