Salmon Dinner
A light supper: Mustard-roasted Salmon, Turnip Gratin, Wheat berry Salad

Have you ever played the Barefoot Contessa drinking game? One drink for every time she asks, “How easy is that?”, two for each time she mentions Jeffrey (that lucky dog), social for any time she implores you to use only “really good (insert expensive ingredient here).” It’s a fabulous game.

By the end, you are tipsy as a Hamptons housewife at a clam bake. You are also starving from all the delectable dishes taunting you on the screen. And, you may or may not be sporting a sweater draped over your shoulders at this stage in the game.

Oh, Ina, I joke because I love. (And because I am secretly envious of your BMW convertible, Pottery Barn kitchen, and herb garden the size of my apartment.)

In all seriousness, I do adore many of the Barefoot Contessa’s recipes. They are classic dishes that any domestic-goddess-in-training needs to know, wholesome home-cooking with a French slant. Things like roast chicken and brownies from scratch…or roasted fish in a creamy mustard sauce.

This is one of my favorite Ina recipes. It is a staple in my weeknight dinner rotation because it is incredibly easy to make, ready in 15 minutes, full of flavor, and healthy. I’ve made some adaptations to her original recipe, swapping out red snapper for salmon, and substituting yogurt in place of crème fraiche. I prefer salmon because I think the flavor works well with the creaminess of the yogurt and the tang of the mustard and capers. I choose yogurt over crème fraiche because it has all the flavor you need without the fat, it’s much cheaper, plus I always have some yogurt in my fridge.

Turnip slice
Turnip Slice

For this particular weeknight supper (I feel like Ina would have called it “supper”), I served the salmon with a side of turnip gratin and a lovely salad of wheat berries, kale, and cranberries from Whole Foods. Dare I say, I think the Contessa would have approved.

Salmon with Creamy Mustard Sauce
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, “Mustard-Roasted Fish” (2008)

Serves: 4

4 (8-ounce) salmon fillets
½ cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
2 teaspoons capers, rinsed
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped dill for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
2. Line a sheet pan or baking dish with parchment paper. Place the fish fillets skin side down on the sheet pan. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
3. Combine the yogurt, mustards, and capers in a small bowl. Spoon the sauce evenly over the fish fillets, making sure the fish is completely covered.
4. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, until it’s barely done. You can tell the fish is done if it flakes away easily when prodded with the tines of a fork.

Salmon with Creamy Mustard Sauce 21 April,2010Stephanie Hua

  • That Barefoot Contessa Drinking Game sounds fun! I love Ina too and wish I had her kitchen and garden. (Car not so much cuz I don’t like convertibles and love my Beetle!) This salmon recipe sounds easy and yummy!

  • Kale Girl

    Thank you so much for a simple post about a good recipe. (Sorry, but I am so tired of the endless posts about… who knows what these posts are about. I fall asleep halfway through the raves about John Waters’ whatever and rants about Moby’s whatever.) This looks delightful and it’s not eight blinding screen lengths of solid text. Thank you! I think I may start reading regularly again.

  • Caroline

    This looks like a good recipe! Will try it soon. I am forwarding this post to my friend who is an extreme Barefoot Contessa fan. Kale Girl, I know what you mean about “eight blinding screen lengths of solid text”.

  • Thanks a lot for sharing this recipe! I used it last night and fed the roommates (and to make a mini-post on my own blog). It was one of those meals that was just quiet because enjoying the food was more important than chattering.

  • Hi Cookie, Kale Girl, Caroline, and Mark: so glad you like the recipe! and here i was, feeling guilty for submitting a short post this week.

  • Clover88

    I just made a delicious dinner with the salmon recipe. Thanks!


Stephanie Hua

Stephanie Hua is the creator of Lick My Spoon, a place for all things delicious. So far she has learned that she very much enjoys salted caramel anything, a good soup dumpling is worth a scalded tongue, and there is no room in life for non-fat cheese and crappy chocolate. Also, a barrel of cheese balls never ends well.

Stephanie has been known to choose her company based on how much they can pack it down. Ability to endure cramped quarters, sketchy back alleys, and uncharted paths to seek out that special dish is also a plus in her book. If you fit the criteria, drop a note. You’ll probably get along just fine.

Stephanie’s writing and photography have been featured in Fodor’s Travel, Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Serious Eats, and Sundance Channel. Follow her on Facebook and @lickmyspoon.

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