Grilled Salmon with Herb Butter

Salmon with herb butter and baked potato
Philippe Desnerck / Photolibrary / Getty Images
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 4 servings

This is a simple but satisfying dish that highlights the richness of good salmon and contrasts that with bright, fresh herbs -- and, of course, everything's better with butter (although you could substitute olive oil). It is important to oil the salmon well and then start meat side down. Then, don't move the fish for a good 4-5 minutes; this creates a nice crust. Finish by crisping the skin side. Use fresh herbs here. As an accompaniment, serve this on top of some baby salad greens with some crusty bread.


  • 2-3 lb salmon fillets, skin-on
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or more to taste)
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 6 fresh sage leaves
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • Bag of salad greens (or enough lettuce or spinach to serve as a bed for the salmon)
  • Lemon (wedges)

Steps to Make It

  1. Coat the salmon in the vegetable oil and salt generously.

  2. Get the grill good and hot, and make sure the grates are clean.

  3. Cut the stick of butter into pieces and heat over medium heat in a small pot.

  4. Lay the salmon down on the grill, skin facing up. Don't move it for at least 3 minutes, even for a thin sockeye fillet. For a big slab of king salmon, you might need 6 minutes. Watch the sides of the fish -- you want to see it turn opaque almost halfway up before you flip the fish. Test before flipping: The salmon might stick in a few places, but most of it should come right up when you try to flip with a spatula. Dislodge the sticky spots before you flip.

  5. While the salmon is grilling, fry the sage leaves whole in the butter. When they're almost done sizzling, remove and let drain on paper towels. Add the thyme and parsley and turn off the heat.

  6. Flip the salmon onto the skin side and cook for 2-5 minutes.

  7. Get the plates ready by placing a bed of salad greens onto them. I prefer a mix of baby greens, like mesclun mix.

  8. To serve, lay a piece of salmon onto each plate -- whichever side looks better, skin or meat. Pour some of the herb butter over the salmon and top with a fried sage leaf or two. Serve with the lemon wedges.

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