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Roasted salmon with herb butter and lemon is a light and easy weeknight meal.
I have a go-to dinner for my kids. Nope, not macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets (though they’ve had their fair share of that over the years). No, their favorite is roasted salmon. My younger son has a very particular palette: his favorites include guacamole, strawberries, potatoes (but never mashed), and apples (but only dipped in honey). He’s never had a sip of juice or a lollipop or a skittle. But fish? He can eat it all day.
It’s funny, when my boys were just starting out on solid food I thought the only way I’d get them to eat fish was dipped in batter and fried. I was way off base. Turns out they peeled off the crispy coating and just ate the tender, flaky fish inside. It was then that I realized that dinner didn’t need to be dumbed down for them to enjoy it.
Listen, I’m not claiming to have that kid eating thing all figured out. One still thinks ketchup is a vegetable and the other thinks bread and cheese is dinner (but then so do I). But they do surprise me sometimes with their choices and the older they get, the more adventurous they become.
Take this roasted salmon dish for instance. The first time my boys tried salmon, it needed to be as simple as possible; a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. But now they’re open to eating it the way I like it; a smear of dijon, a sprinkle of herbs and lemony herb butter melted over the top.
This dish is not only the perfect weeknight meal, but great to serve to company as well. It takes minimal prep and only minutes in the oven to roast. I usually have herb butter in my freezer because I make it when I have a bunch of herbs on hand and little extra time. It’s an easy accompaniment to fish and chicken or a great way to jazz up steamed or roasted vegetables. You can vary it by mixing in your favorite herbs and even toss in some chile flakes or minced shallots. You’ll find a million ways to use this butter, trust me.
So no fish sticks for dinner tonight. Tonight it’s roasted salmon for my little guys that aren’t quite so little anymore. They’re getting so grown up, who knows…maybe they’ll even keep their napkins in their laps and reserve the bathroom humor for after dinner. But then I guess Steve and I would have to grow up too…
- 4 oz unsalted butter, softened to room temperature (1 stick)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
- 1 Tbsp parsley, minced
- 1 Tbsp thyme, minced
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- Salt and pepper
- 4 6 oz salmon fillets
- salt and pepper
- 4 tsp dijon mustard
- 4 Tbsp herb butter
- 2 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
- 2 tsp fresh thyme, minced
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- *lemon wedges for serving
Mix all ingredients together until combined. Wrap and chill until ready to use. You'll have extra that can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer for another use.
Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
Place salmon fillets skin-side down on a parchment or non-stick foil lined sheet pan. Season well with salt and pepper and spread 1 tsp mustard over each fillet.
Spread 1 Tbsp herb butter over each fillet and then sprinkle with the minced herbs.
Lay lemon slices over the fillets and roast in the oven for 10-12 minutes.
Serve with or without skin and additional lemon wedges if desired.