Sear-Roasted Salmon Fillets with Chive-Shallot Butter

For deep flavor and a handsomely browned surface, the practice of pan-searing fish fillets on a hot stove and finishing them in the oven is your best bet. This luscious recipe is very simple and takes very little time to prep and cook.

The idea for the butter mixture is that the heat from the salmon will melt just enough of the butter to sauce it lightly and leave a small amount unmelted so it’s apparent when served at the table. Our side dish of Roasted Fennel with Orange-Honey Dressing was a perfect complement to the salmon.

TIP: A metal fish spatula is a great kitchen tool to have, especially if you often cook fish at home. The thin-gauge, flexible metal head is designed to flip and lift delicate fish fillets without tearing them.

Sear-Roasted Salmon Fillets with Chive-Shallot Butter

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 4 center-cut salmon fillets, about 6-8 oz. each
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. peanut oil, grapeseed oil, or other neutral tasting oil

Chive-Shallot Butter

  • 1/4 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped shallots
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped chives
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Freshly ground balck pepper


  1. Position a rack near the center of the oven and preheat to 425° (400° convection). Let the salmon sit at room temperature as the oven heats.
  2. Set a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat and heat for 1-2 minutes. Meanwhile, pat the fish dry and season it liberally on all sides with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the oil to the skillet. When it begins to shimmer, lower in the filets one by one, skin side up. Sear, without disturbing, until one side is nicely browned, lifting with a metal spatula (or fish spatula if you have one) to check that it’s well seared before committing to flipping, 1-2 minutes. Flip the filets and immediately transfer the skillet to the oven.
  4. Roast until the thickest part of the filets are just firm to the touch, 5-7 minutes (or when an instant-read thermometer reads 130-135 for medium-rare). Carefully remove the skillet from the oven and serve the fish right away.
  5. For the Chive-Shallot Butter: Combine the wine or vermouth and shallots in your smallest saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until the liquid is mostly evaporated, about 5 minutes; keep an eye on it so that the shallots don’t scorch. Set aside to cool.
  6. Pound the chives with a 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large mortar to make a coarse paste (or grind in a small food processor).
  7. Place the butter in a mixing bowl and, using a wooden spoon or paddle beater, beat until smooth.
  8. Add the wine-shallot mixture, the pounded chives, and the mustard and lemon juice and stir until everything is incorporated. season with salt and pepper.
  9. If you plan to serve the butter within a few hours, scrape into a small ramekin; other wise cover and refrigerate. Let sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before serving.

Recipe from Molly Stevens “All About Roasting” cookbook.

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