This easy herb butter salmon is made with fish that's broiled until tender and topped with a homemade herb and citrus compound butter.
Recently, I've been getting requests for more low-carb, low-sugar seafood recipes. And guys, I'm always happy to test more fish recipes for you!
I admit that I love to cook salmon (and really, all fish) in tasty sauces. And salmon, more than some other fish, really lends itself to sweet flavors.
But salmon does not have to be sweet!
In this recipe we're using herbs, butter, and citrus zest to create a quick, easy herb butter and serving it with broiled salmon.
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What Type of Salmon Should I Use?
There are lots of different types of salmon, and this recipe will work well with any of them.
If you use a leaner salmon (like pink salmon or keta salmon), the butter will add richness. The herbs and citrus pair well with Sockeye salmon's stronger flavor, and versatile Coho salmon (pictured) works well with almost any salmon recipe.
I usually don't pair fatty toppings (like butter) with fatty King salmon, but in this case, the orange zest makes it work.
If you've got extra King salmon, make sure to check out these (admittedly sweet) salmon recipes: sweet chili salmon, honey bourbon salmon, seared salmon with cherries, poached salmon with blueberries, and grilled salmon with plum sauce.
You can also use Atlantic salmon, just be aware you're buying farmed salmon, so look for sustainability certifications. Read more about farmed salmon vs wild salmon.
How to Make Herb Butter Ahead of Time
If you love this recipe (or even if you just love the butter!) you can make larger batches of the butter, portion it out in a silicone ice cube tray, freeze, and then move the frozen butter into a freezer bag.
When you're ready to make this dish, pull some of the butter out of the freezer to thaw. Try to use the frozen butter up within six months.
How to Make Herb Orange Butter
Start with softened butter.
Beat the butter with a rubber spatula, and then add in the herbs, orange zest, and a little salt. For this recipe, we're using fresh chives or tarragon, because they both work especially well with salmon.
Beat the butter, herbs, and zest together until everything is well-coated with butter.
Stick the butter in the fridge while you cook the salmon.
How to Broil Salmon
Place the salmon skin-side down in an oven-safe pan (or sheet pan). I use this Lodge 12" carbon steel skillet.
Slide the pan into the oven on a top shelf, and cook under the broiler until the salmon is opaque and tender.
It should take about six to eight minutes per inch of thickness.
Serve the Herb Butter Salmon
As soon as the salmon is done, add the herb butter to the top.
You can either add it to the salmon while it's still in the pan, or wait until after you've plated the fish to add the butter. Whichever you prefer.
This recipe is inspired by a salmon recipe in the book For Cod and Country by Barton Seaver.
Herb Butter Salmon
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons diced chives or tarragon leaves Use fresh herbs, not dried
- 1 orange, zested (zest only)
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- 8 ounces salmon (2 fillets)
- pinch sea salt
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil Or use another high-smoke point oil, such as canola
- Put softened butter in a small bowl and beat with a rubber spatula.Add the chives (or tarragon), orange zest, and salt. Beat again until the herbs are completely covered with butter.Place the butter in the fridge while you prepare the salmon.
- Move an oven rack to about 4" away from the broiler. Preheat broiler to high.Pat salmon dry and sprinkle lightly with salt.Brush oil in an oven-safe pan or baking sheet. Place the salmon skin-side down in the pan.Slide the pan into the oven.Broil salmon for 6-8 minutes per 1" thickness, or until the fish is opaque and easily flakes apart with a fork.Do not flip the fish halfway through cooking.
- When the salmon is done cooking, remove it from the oven.Top the fish with as much of the herb butter as you want and serve immediately.If you have leftover butter, refrigerate it and use within a week.