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Seared Salmon with Cucumber Sauce

If you make this in winter with hothouse cucumbers, omit the tomatoes altogether -- better to skip them than use crappy out-of-season tomatoes. Feel free to use smaller pieces of salmon, or substitute any other sort of salmon, trout or char. Don't like salmon? Try halibut. You do want a thick piece of fish here, though, so just keep that in mind.

Prep Time

        Prep time: 30 minutes
        Cook time: 20 minutes
        Yield: Serves 4


For Salmon:

    •    salt
    •    4 pretty blocks of salmon
    •    2 - 5 tbsps clarified butter, walnut oil or vegetable oil

For the sauce:

    •    lemon juice to taste
    •    1 large onion, minced
    •    salt and a pinch of sugar
    •    white pepper to taste (Optional)
    •    2 tbsps walnut oil or vegetable oil
    •    10 - 20 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
    •    2 cucumbers, preferably English, 1 of them peeled

For Dill Oil (Optional):

    •    1 cup neutral oil (sunflower, canola, grapeseed)
    •    1/2 cup chopped dill, plus a few sprigs for garnish later


  1. To make the dill oil, put the oil and dill in a blender and puree for a solid minute on high. Set some cheesecloth in a fine-meshed strainer and put the strainer over a bowl. Pour the oil into the strainer and put the whole thing into the fridge to slowly drip. (Keeping it in the fridge helps preserve the bright green color.) This step can be done up to 3 days in advance.
  2. Salt the salmon pieces and put in the fridge.
  3. Gently cook the onion in the walnut oil until it is soft and translucent: I do this over medium-low heat in a covered pan. Don't let the onions brown. When they are cooked, puree them in a blender and set them aside.
  4. Slice each cucumber lengthwise. Use a spoon to scrape out all the seeds from both cukes; don't toss the seeds. Chop the unpeeled cucumber and put it and the seeds into a blender. Puree. Set a fine-meshed strainer over a bowl and pour the pureed cucumber into it. Let this strain untouched for 2 hours. Meanwhile, dice the peeled cucumber.
  5. To make the sauce, whisk as much of the strained cucumber water into the pureed onions as you need to make a sauce the consistency of melted ice cream. Add 2 tablespoons of the dill oil (save the rest for another dish) and season the sauce with lemon juice, salt and white pepper to taste. I like this served at room temperature, but you could warm it gently, too. Don't heat it too much or it will break and taste weird.
  6. To cook the salmon, heat the oil in a pan over high heat until it's almost smoking. Pat the salmon dry with paper towels and set it into the pan. Sear one side of the salmon hard for a good 6 to 8 minutes. Don't let it burn, but you want a good crust. If the salmon is very thick, you will need to flip the fish and finish cooking on the other side. If it's an inch thick or less, you can just baste the exposed side of the fish with the hot oil and it will cook fine.
  7. To serve, toss the diced cucumber and the cherry tomatoes in the sauce and pour some in shallow bowls or plates with a well in the center. Set the salmon on top seared side up. Top with a little more dill and some salmon caviar, if you have some.

This great family recipe is thanks to Honest Food.Net at


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