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John Clark Photo by: John Clark

Oven-Baked Salmon with Picholine Olive Sauce

Notes: To pit olives, crush slightly with the flat side of a knife blade, then remove pit. Prep and Cook Time: about 45 minutes.

Sunset MAY 2005

  • Yield: Makes 6 servings
  • Total: 45 Minutes


  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 shallot (2 oz.), peeled and chopped (1/3 cup)
  • 1 cup dry vermouth
  • 1/2 cup fat-skimmed chicken broth or fish stock
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup chopped pitted picholine olives (or other mild green olives; see notes)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • Salt and fresh-ground pepper
  • 1 boned salmon fillet (3 lb.), skinned
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • Fresh thyme sprigs, rinsed


1. In a 6- to 8-inch frying pan over high heat, boil garlic and shallot in vermouth until mixture is reduced by about half, 5 to 8 minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil again.

2. Add cream, olives, and chopped thyme. Boil, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and is reduced to about 1 1/4 cups, about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set aside.

3. Rinse salmon fillet and pat dry. With tweezers, pull out pin bones. Lay fillet in a buttered 12- by 17-inch baking pan. Dot the fillet with butter, drizzle with wine, and sprinkle with tarragon. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

4. Bake in a 400° oven until salmon is barely opaque but still moist-looking in center of thickest part (cut to test), 13 to 18 minutes. Slide salmon onto a platter.

5. If sauce is cool, stir over medium-high heat until hot. Drizzle fish with some of the sauce; serve remaining to add to taste. Garnish fish with thyme sprigs.

Wine pairing: A white with forward fruit and good acid in the finish, such as an Oregon Pinot Gris--we liked WillaKenzie and Adelsheim, both 2003--or a minerally French white Burgundy.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 567
  • Calories from fat: 62%
  • Protein: 44g
  • Fat: 39g
  • Saturated fat: 14g
  • Carbohydrate: 4.9g
  • Fiber: 0.3g
  • Sodium: 356mg
  • Cholesterol: 176mg

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Oven-Baked Salmon with Picholine Olive Sauce Recipe