Baked salmon with lemongrass sauce is an Oscar worthy meal. Salmon filets are baked until perfection before being nestled on a bed of vegetables and topped with a fragrant lemongrass sauce. It is important to use fresh lemongrass stalks for this recipe, not the dried variety. A trick to release lemongrass' full flavor and aroma is bruise the stalks before adding it to the sauce. One bite and you'll know that baked salmon with lemongrass sauce is a winner.
For the salmon:
400g – 450g salmon filets (preferably skinless)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 large lemons
For the vegetable medley:
1 large carrot
150g – 200g spinach leaves (I used baby spinach leaves)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
For the sauce:
2 stalks of lemon grass (ends only, outer leaves removed)
1 tablespoon butter
150 ml fresh cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon liquid chicken stock (or 1/2 cube of chicken stock cubes)
Chives to garnish
Begin by preheating the oven to 120°C. An efficient oven is important for this dish. If the oven is too cold, the fish will not get cooked. If the oven tends to get too hot, the fish will be roasted and overcooked. If you are uncertain, then think about whether your cookies/cakes are usually overdone or underdone when you follow a recipe exactly. If they are always overdone, then you can turn down the temperature to 110°C.
Get the freshest salmon filets you can get your hands on. The thick ones are the nicest for this dish.
Add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to the salmon filets and rub it all over the fish.
Season generously with salt and pepper. About 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. I usually use Masterfoods Garlic Pepper for each time that I need salt and pepper. Rub the seasonings all over the fish.
Slice two lemons into thick slices, discarding the ends. Lay the slices of lemons on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Place the salmon filets on top of the lemon slices. If you have left the skin on for the filets, then make sure it’s skin side down.
Place the salmon filets in the oven and cook for 25 mins. If the salmon filets are very thick, cook a little longer for another 3 to 5 mins.
While the fish is cooking, prepare the vegetable medley and sauce.
Peel a large carrot and diagonally slice into thin slices.
Wash and pluck the leaves of a bunch of spinach. I used about 150 g of baby spinach.
Heat a deep saucepan and add 1 tablespoon of cooking oil. Keep the heat at medium heat.
When the oil is hot, add 1 tablespoon of butter.
When the butter has melted, add the carrots and stir fry for a minute to cook and soften the carrots. I like them slightly crunchy so I don’t cook them for too long here. Keep the heat at medium.
Remove the cooked carrot slices and set aside in a warm place.
In the same pan, add 1 tablespoon of minced garlic. Stir fry for 20 seconds.
Add the spinach leaves. Stir-fry at medium heat.
Add salt and pepper to taste. About 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. I used Masterfoods Garlic Pepper seasonings instead again.
Stir fry the spinach till it’s soft and wilted. Careful not to overcook as they would lose their natural pretty green color.
Dish up the cooked spinach and set aside in a warm place.
Now make the sauce.
Peel off the hard outer layer of 2 stalks of lemon grass. Slice into 2 inch long pieces and using the back of your knife, bash the lemongrass and bruise the slightly for the fragrance and flavours to emit.
Add 1 tablespoon of butter to a small saucepan.
When the butter has melted and is bubbling slightly, add the lemongrass. Cook at medium heat for 30 seconds.
Add 150ml of fresh liquid cream. Let the mixture come to a gentle rolling boil.
Add 1 teaspoon of liquid chicken stock concentrate. Or you can use 1/2 cube of chicken stock bouillon. Stir it in well, and do a taste check. If it’s not salty enough, add more chicken stock.
Whisk the sauce as it boils and thickens.
After a couple of minutes, the sauce would have thickened. Remove the lemongrass.
Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. I usually use a strainer and squeeze a lemon directly over the sauce. Do a taste check. Add more lemon juice if necessary. Whisk well to combine.
The salmon should be done by now. Remove them from the oven.
Plate your dish but placing some spinach and carrots at the bottom of a plate or shallow dish.
Gently place the salmon filet on top. Drizzle a generous amount of sauce around the fish. Garnish with chives.