Fri | Apr 12, 2024
40 days of Lent

Crispy-Skinned Salmon with Dill Sauce

Published:Thursday | February 22, 2024 | 12:10 AM
Crispy skinned salmon with dill sauce, paired with roasted cauliflower and a simple green lettuce salad.
Crispy skinned salmon with dill sauce, paired with roasted cauliflower and a simple green lettuce salad.

One of our favourite things to order in a nice restaurant is a perfectly cooked piece of salmon with a crispy skin. The crackling exterior contrasting with the pink, tender fish — perfection. And luckily, it’s a very doable dish to make at home! Pair your fish with a cool and creamy dill sauce and a couple of simple sides, and you have a restaurant-worthy meal in the comfort of home. Suggested sides include roasted cauliflower, a simple green lettuce salad, or roasted asparagus and a couscous salad.


Serves 2


½ cup sour cream (or plain Greek yoghurt)

3 to 4 teaspoons whole milk

Juice and finely grated lemon zest from ½ lemon

1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard

¼ teaspoon finely minced garlic or garlic powder

¼ teaspoon sugar

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)

1 ½ teaspoons minced fresh dill (do not use dried dill here)


1. In a medium bowl, combine the sour cream, milk, lemon zest and juice, Dijon mustard, garlic, sugar, and salt and pepper. Mix well to blend and loosen the sour cream. Stir in the minced dill. Let sit at room temperature while you cook the fish.


2 (6 to 8-ounce) salmon fillets, skin on

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 tablespoon olive oil


1.Pat the fish dry and season with salt and pepper on both sides.

2. Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet, preferably non-stick, over medium-high heat. Place the salmon (in batches if necessary) skin side down in the pan, giving the fillets a little shuffle so they don’t stick. Then cook without moving the fish for about 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and cover the pan. Let the salmon cook for another 3 to 8 minutes or so until is it cooked to your liking. The bottom skin should be browned and crispy, and the middle of the salmon should have a bit of dark pinkness inside. If you prefer your salmon cooked through, then give it another minute or two. Remember, the salmon will continue to cook a bit once removed from the heat.

3. Serve hot or warm with the dill sauce.


– Other sauces that go nicely with Crispy-Skinned Salmon: Creamy Cilantro Sauce, Horseradish Sauce, Remoulade Sauce and Tartar Sauce.

– As for the salmon, make sure it has its skin when you buy it. The skin should be silver and shiny without any discolouration or tears. The fish should look moist, firm and fresh, and have no discernible odour.

– When you place the salmon in the hot pan, set it skin side down. Direct contact with the oiled hot pan is what enables the skin to crisp up beautifully. Give the fillets a little shake as you lay them in the pan so that the oil coats the bottom of the fish, and it doesn’t stick to the pan.

– The basic adage for how long to cook fish is 10 minutes per inch, which is a good guideline to begin with no matter how you are preparing the fish: in a pan, on a grill, poaching, roasting, broiling, etc. But this is just a starting point, and not a firm rule.

– Medium rare salmon should be a bit translucent in the centre but opaque on the top, and the internal temperature should register between 120° and 125°F on an instant-read thermometer.

– Medium will be a bright dark pink in the centre but not quite translucent. An internal temperature will read between 125° and 130°F.

– Medium-well will be opaque pink throughout. The temp will be around 130° to 135°F.