Butter. Who would argue that it’s not one of the world’s most perfect ingredients? It can turn even a meager slice of squishy white bread into an enjoyable snack. (C’mon, own up: You’ve done it). Well, in this butter-baked salmon with Italian salsa verde and roasted potatoes recipe it does even more. It helps to get that brown, roasted color and flavor onto the potatoes. Then the butter bathes the salmon, already buttery in texture, as it bakes. A piquant green sauce pushes the boundary between perfection and sheer opulence.
Make this tonight: This is a recipe you could make on a weeknight or dress up with a gorgeous vegetable on the weekend.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees with racks placed in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven while it preheats.
For the potatoes
Toss the potatoes with the oil, melted butter, salt and pepper in a large bowl. When the oven is ready, remove the baking sheet and arrange the potatoes on the sheet, making sure a cut side of each potato is down. Roast on the lower rack of the oven until the potatoes brown on the side touching the pan, about 20 minutes.
For the salsa verde and salmon
Meanwhile, prepare the salsa verde and salmon: In a small bowl, stir together the parsley, capers, anchovies, and garlic with lemon juice. Vigorously stir in olive oil until everything is slightly emulsified. Taste and add a pinch of salt or more lemon juice if you like.
For the salmon, pour 3 tablespoons of the melted butter into a quarter-sheet pan and tilt to coat the bottom. Place salmon fillets rounded side down (flesh side, not the side where the skin once was) on the buttered pan, drizzle with the rest of the melted butter and lightly sprinkle with salt.
After the potatoes have roasted for 20 minutes, stir them on the baking pan and keep them in the oven. Place the pan with the salmon on the upper rack and roast until the fish is medium-rare, 12 to 14 minutes (a knife inserted into the fish should meet no resistance). Remove both pans from oven.
Spoon some pan butter over the salmon before flipping the salmon over and transferring to a serving platter. Stir the salsa verde and drizzle about 2 tablespoons of it over each fillet. Serve with the roasted potatoes.
The salsa verde ingredients can be pulsed in a small food processor rather than hand-chopped, if desired.
For the potatoes
For the salsa verde
For the salmon