A true holiday classic, Smoky Oven Baked Salmon with Horseradish Sauce, that can be served warm for dinner or cold as an appetizer.
It was my first Christmas as a newlywed, as a working girl with a job that required a degree, and as a homeowner.
I felt very very mature.
Our little 1930’s bungalow was decorated with brand spanking new Christmas decorations, and I had dog-eared hoards of recipes in my favorite cookbooks, trying to come up with the perfect party menu.
I wanted it to be a real grownup party… The kind where we provided everything, for the sake of elegance, hospitality, and quality-control, and no one brought food or drinks. (A Type-A tendency I’ve let go over the years.)
Finally I settled on serving various heavy h’ordeuvres, some that could be made ahead, and some that would need to be prepared right before the party. Lt. Dan was in charge of cocktails, and I would do all the cooking myself, in my new kitchen.
The problem was, I’d never made that many dishes all by myself. I’d always had my mom, or several friends to cook with, when hosting a get-together.
The day of the party I felt completely overwhelmed.
Fortunately for me, an older wiser friend had anticipated this, and brought me a traditional Smoked Salmon Recipe with Creamy Horseradish Sauce to serve at the party.
She brought it over several hours before the party started and told me to cross a couple recipes off my list. The salmon would be more than enough to fill in the gaps.
At first, I was hesitant… Change my plans last minute?
Yet, I gave in to her kind advice and generous gift.
The party was a huge success!
The food was a hit. Our friends were in rare form that night with jokes and stories. Plus, I had time to shower and have a glass of wine beforehand, due to my friend’s salmon recipe.
I have made several renditions of this salmon recipe over the years. She smoked the salmon out on her grill, providing a dusky flavor and crusty exterior. Yet most of us don’t want to stand out by the grill this time of year (or may not have a grill or smoker.)
So, today I’m sharing my indoors rendition, a 10-Ingredient Smoky Baked Salmon Recipe with Horseradish Sauce, that can be made in less than 30 minutes.
To make this marvelous cheater version, place a whole wild salmon fillet on a baking sheet and massage it with brown sugar and liquid smoke.
While it’s baking, whisk together a quick sauce of shaved shallot, horseradish, sour cream, and a touch of dijon mustard.
The beauty of this Smoky Baked Salmon Recipe with Creamy Horseradish Sauce is that is tastes fabulous warm or cold. You could even make it a couple days ahead and keep it in the fridge. Then pour the sauce over the top right before serving!
Top the Smoky Baked Salmon Recipe with Creamy Horseradish Sauce, salty capers, and some fresh parsley and you have a holiday hit your guests will ask for year after year.
Smoky Oven Baked Salmon with Horseradish Sauce
- 2 pounds whole wild salmon fillet
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
- 1/2 cup sour cream (could be low-fat)
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 2 tablespoons shaved shallots
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 4-5 teaspoons prepared horseradish
- 2 tablespoons capers, drained
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and lay the whole salmon fillet on it, skin side down. Sprinkle the top with brown sugar, then drizzle the liquid smoke over the top. Rub to coat the entire fillet. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until just barely cooked through. (You do not want to over cook your salmon fillet.)
Meanwhile, shave the shallot with a large grater. In a mixing bowl, mix the sour cream, milk, shallot, mustard, and horseradish. Salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
- Once the salmon is out of the oven, allow it to cool for at least 5 minutes. Then carefully move it to a platter using two spatulas. Pour the horseradish sauce over the top and garnish with chopped parsley and capers.
This dish is great warm, but Lt. Dan likes it even better cold. Make the salmon ahead and chill. Then top with the horseradish sauce and capers right before serving.
Makes 6 entree portions or 12 appetizer portions.