Baked Salmon with Herbs and Chardonnay Cream Sauce

Baked Salmon with Herbs and Chardonnay Cream Sauce
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About This Recipe

Hey there, fellow Napa Valley foodies, home chefs, and wine enthusiasts! It's Lily here, and today I'm excited to share with you my original recipe for Baked Salmon with Herbs and Chardonnay Cream Sauce. This sumptuous dish is inspired by the beautiful landscape, fresh produce, and world-class wines of Napa Valley.

One sunny afternoon, while exploring the picturesque vineyards of Napa Valley, I stumbled upon a small, family-owned winery. As I savored the fruity notes of their Chardonnay, I was struck by the idea of incorporating the wine into a sauce to accompany a tender, baked salmon fillet. The result? A dish that celebrates the marriage of land and sea, infused with the essence of Northern California.

For side dishes, consider pairing the baked salmon with a delicate fennel and orange salad, dressed with a light citrus vinaigrette. The anise flavor of fennel and the zesty orange segments perfectly complement the richness of the salmon and Chardonnay cream sauce. Another option is to serve a side of lemony orzo with roasted asparagus, providing a bright and hearty accompaniment to the main course.

When it comes to dessert, a lemon and almond olive oil cake is a perfect choice. The tangy lemon flavor balances the richness of the salmon, while the almond adds a delightful crunch. Alternatively, try a refreshing honey and thyme sorbet, garnished with fresh raspberries and a sprig of thyme.

To embrace Napa Valley's farm-to-table spirit, source your ingredients from local farmers' markets, such as the Napa Farmers' Market or the Calistoga Farmers' Market. By doing so, you'll be supporting local farmers and artisans, while ensuring the freshest, most flavorful ingredients.

The star of this dish, the Chardonnay cream sauce, pays homage to Napa Valley's iconic wine country. A smooth, buttery Chardonnay with notes of citrus and apple, like those found at Frog's Leap Winery or Grgich Hills Estate, will enhance the dish's flavors and create a harmonious dining experience.

In conclusion, my Baked Salmon with Herbs and Chardonnay Cream Sauce is a true Napa Valley creation that captures the essence of the region's culinary and wine-making heritage. By pairing this dish with locally sourced ingredients and fine Napa Valley wines, you'll be treating yourself and your loved ones to an unforgettable dining experience.

Happy cooking, and cheers to your Napa Valley-inspired culinary adventures!

Hero Ingredient Spotlight: Napa Valley Chardonnay

When it comes to world-class wines, Napa Valley Chardonnay is undoubtedly a jewel in the crown. Hailing from California's iconic wine region, this varietal is cherished for its full-bodied richness, balanced acidity, and expressive notes ranging from tropical fruits to buttery oak. The subtle nuances of apple, pear, and citrus make Napa Valley Chardonnay the ideal companion to a myriad of dishes, especially seafood. For our Baked Salmon with Herbs and Chardonnay Cream Sauce, it's not just a pairing—it's an integral ingredient, lending depth, elegance, and sophistication to the sumptuous cream sauce.

How to Perfectly Bake Salmon

Step-by-Step Guide to Ensuring Flaky, Moist Results Every Time

  1. Preparation: Begin by preheating your oven to 425°F (220°C) and lining a baking tray with parchment paper. This ensures easy clean-up and prevents the salmon from sticking.
  2. Seasoning: Lay your salmon fillets skin-side down and generously season both sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Herb Infusion: Drizzle a touch of olive oil over each fillet. Then, sprinkle the mixed fresh herbs—like parsley, dill, and chives—over the top. Gently press the herbs onto the salmon; this aids in flavor infusion during baking.
  4. Baking: Place your salmon into the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes. The perfect indication of done-ness? The salmon should flake easily with a fork and have an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C).

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I substitute the Napa Valley Chardonnay with another type of wine? Yes, you can use another dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. However, using Napa Valley Chardonnay gives the dish a distinct and authentic regional flavor.
  2. How do I store leftover salmon? Leftover salmon should be wrapped tightly in foil or placed in an airtight container and refrigerated. Consume within 2-3 days for best freshness.
  3. Is there a dairy-free alternative to heavy cream for the sauce? Absolutely! You can opt for full-fat coconut milk or cashew cream as a dairy-free alternative. Do note that the flavor profile will change slightly with these substitutions.
  4. Are there other herbs I can use if I don’t have parsley, dill, or chives? Certainly. Tarragon, cilantro, or mint can also complement the salmon beautifully. Feel free to experiment with your favorite fresh herbs.
  5. Can I use a cast-iron skillet instead of a baking sheet? Yes, a cast-iron skillet works well and can add a nice sear to the salmon. Ensure it’s oven-safe and preheat the skillet before placing the salmon to achieve a crispy skin.

Tips for Success

  1. Wine Selection: Always cook with a wine you'd happily drink. Using a quality Napa Valley Chardonnay will profoundly enhance the depth and richness of the cream sauce.
  2. Salmon Quality: Opt for fresh, wild-caught salmon when possible. It offers a superior flavor and texture compared to farm-raised varieties.
  3. Herb Freshness: Utilize freshly chopped herbs rather than dried variants. Fresh herbs infuse the salmon with more aromatic and vibrant flavors, elevating the overall taste of the dish.

Recipe Overview

Baked Salmon with Herbs and Chardonnay Cream Sauce
Lily Anderson
4 servings
Calories Per Serving:
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:

Ingredients List


  • 4 salmon fillets (6 ounces each), skin-on
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons mixed chopped fresh herbs (such as parsley, dill, and chives)
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 1/2 cup Napa Valley Chardonnay
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Fresh herbs, for garnish

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Season the salmon fillets on both sides with salt and pepper. Place them skin-side down on the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle the chopped fresh herbs over the fillets, gently pressing the herbs onto the salmon to help them adhere.
  3. Bake the salmon in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork and has reached an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C).
  4. While the salmon is baking, prepare the Chardonnay cream sauce. In a medium saucepan, sauté the minced shallots over medium heat until softened and translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Pour in the Chardonnay and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook until the wine has reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
  6. Stir in the heavy cream and whole grain mustard. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until it has thickened slightly. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. To serve, plate the baked salmon fillets and spoon the Chardonnay cream sauce over the top. Garnish with additional fresh herbs, if desired. Serve this exquisite Baked Salmon with Herbs and Chardonnay Cream Sauce alongside a glass of your favorite Napa Valley Chardonnay for a truly indulgent dining experience.

Share Your Results

Was it everything you dreamed it could be? Let me know how it turned out for you and share a picture on social media with the hashtag #LilyCooksNapa

Hello and welcome to Napa Home Chef! We're thrilled you're joining us to explore the vibrant world of wine country cooking. Our team has crafted bold, creative recipes inspired by Napa Valley's lush landscapes, bountiful harvests, and world-renowned wines. We hope you enjoy the journey with us!

Get ready to experience the rich flavors and unique culinary delights that embody the essence of wine country living. Happy cooking!

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