Brown Butter and Soy Baked Salmon

Recipe developed by Kim Sunée

When it comes to cooking wild sockeye salmon “less is more” is often a go-to mantra, but there are wonderful options in addition to salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon. Sockeye salmon can stand up to bolder flavors and sauces that have bite and sass. In this recipe, browned butter helps to balance out the strong flavors of ginger and garlic. Roasting at high temperature gives the butter a dark, nutty, sizzling flavor. Any extra pan drippings are delicious with steamed rice and vegetables or soaked up with good bread. 

Servings: 4-6

Cook Time: 25 mins.


1 (1.5-2-pound fillet) Bristol Bay sockeye salmon

2-3 tablespoons tamari or low-sodium dark soy sauce

3-5 cloves garlic, minced

1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated

1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons light sesame oil

1-2 tablespoons hot sauce/paste such as harissa, chili crunch or Sriracha

Juice of 1 whole fresh lime or lemon, plus more slices for serving

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into about 10 pieces

For serving: cabbage or lettuce leaves, fresh herbs, lemon or lime wedges, steamed rice


Heat oven to 500 F. Remove and discard any pin bones from the salmon fillet. Pat salmon dry.  Place salmon, skin side down, on a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Score salmon using the tip of a sharp knife in a criss-cross pattern.

Combine in a medium bowl the tamari, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, sesame oil, hot sauce, and fresh-squeezed citrus juice; whisk to combine. Pour mixture over salmon fillet and place in fridge, uncovered, for 10 minutes.* When ready to cook, remove salmon from marinade, wiping off any excess marinade with hands or a paper towel. Place fillet on a large rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.

Top fillet evenly with butter cubes and cook for 6-8 minutes, depending on size of fillet and until butter is browned and sizzling. If you want a nice char, cook for 5 minutes at 500 F then turn broiler to high and broil for a few minutes until browned and bubbling. Serve warm with lettuce or cabbage leaves, fresh herbs, steamed rice, and lime wedges.

*If marinating before cooking, place salmon in a shallow baking dish or in a large heavy-duty zip top plastic bag; add ginger-soy mixture and turn fillet once or twice to coat. Store in the fridge, covered or sealed in a bag, for 1-2 hours.

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