Peppercorn-Crusted Salmon With White Wine Butter Sauce

"We love our salmon in the Pacific NW. This is a wonderful salmon dish from the RSVP section of Bon Appetit, from Kincaid's, Bloomington MN. You need to plan ahead because the salmon needs to marinate in a brine solution for several hours. Time does not include brining."
photo by ForeverMama photo by ForeverMama
photo by ForeverMama
photo by ForeverMama photo by ForeverMama
photo by ForeverMama photo by ForeverMama
photo by ForeverMama photo by ForeverMama
photo by chock photo by chock
Ready In:




  • For salmon:

  • Mix first 7 ingredients in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Simmer 10 minutes. Cool. (Brine can be prepared 3 days ahead. Cover and chill).
  • Place salmon in large glass baking dish. Pour brine over. Cover and refrigerate 6 to 8 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • Preheat oven to 350ºF. Remove salmon from brine. Pat dry. Arrange salmon on large baking sheet. Strain brine into heavy medium saucepan. Place all peppercorns in plastic bag. Using rolling pin, coarsely crush peppercorns. Add peppercorns to brine. Simmer over medium heat 15 minutes. Strain, reserving peppercorns. Discard brine.
  • Spread top of each salmon fillet with 2 teaspoons honey. Divide peppercorn mixture over honey, pressing gently to adhere. Bake salmon until cooked through, about 25 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare sauce.
  • Combine wine, shallot, and vinegar in heavy small saucepan. Boil until liquid is reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 10 minutes. Add cream and boil until liquid is reduced to 1/4 cup, about 8 minutes. Strain sauce and return to same saucepan. Bring to simmer. Remove from heat. Gradually add butter, whisking just until melted. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Transfer salmon to plates. Pour sauce around salmon. Sprinkle with dill.

Questions & Replies

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  1. The brine adds so much flavor and the sauce is sublime. I did have to make some adjustments to the sauce given that my heavy cream went bad, so used half-and-half with a little added flour, preventing the sauce from having that curdled feel and look - the changes worked beautifully and saved on some calories. However, I found that the suggested time of 25 minutes cooking time is way too much. I cooked my salmon for less (~18ish minutes) and it could have cooked even less. I understand that sockeye is a thinner fish, but very important to keep a close eye to prevent it from turning out dry. Overall, all 5 thumbs up for this lovely recipe.
  2. Back in the late 90s, we clipped a bunch of recipes from the various food magazines we subscribed to, including this one from Bon Appetite. We added it to our recipe binder, but never actually made it. 2020 Apr 17: Fast forward COVID-19 lockdown when we had lots of time on our hands for cooking, some frozen salmon, and all the ingredients to make this dish (except the liquid smoke). The first thing we noticed is how 90s this recipe is ... and how much tastes, food styles and recipes have changed since then. Looking through the magazine cut outs in our 90s recipe binder, we're seeing a ton of food smothered in heavy cream sauces and the use of mascarpone and zucchini was all the rage. You can tell this was pre-farm to table movement and emphasis on a fewer, fresher ingredients and making them shine. So, not surprisingly, I thought all the flavors--brining, peppercorn crust, sauce--overwhelmed the natural flavor of the salmon. This recipe is not about the natural flavor of the fish, but rather the sauces. For the vegetarian mother-in-law we replaced salmon with a fake chicken patty and this recipe is great for that ... i.e., some sort of non-descript protein to serve as the carrier for the recipe. All that said, the flavors here were good. I love the peppercorn crust (I love black pepper) and thought it made a really good complement to the cream sauce. I also felt though that the recipe was a bit too sweet.
    • Review photo by chock
  3. This was a nice salmon recipe, but I agree was too sweet. I was conservative with the honey, based on Mama's Kitchen's feedback, but I didn't reduce the brown sugar, which I should have. I loved how the liquid smoke in the brine gave this dish a very BBQ flavor and really came through. The white wine butter sauce was excellent---my favorite part of the dish. I think the sauce is very elegant and I might want to use it over a more simply prepared fish so that it's flavors could be better appreciated. I did not have a problem with the cooking time as posted and the texture was plenty firm, using a thick fillet of salmon. Thanks!
  4. I was very excited and happy to find this recipe. I would give it 5 stars but dh and I both found it too sweet for our taste- and we like sweeter recipes for salmon. I followed the recipe to a T minus using the liquid smoke. What fantastic and clear instructions! The salmon did not take as long to cook so do watch it carefully. Maybe mine was thinner. This would be even better if grilled outside. We also found the salmon did not seem to have as firm a texture as it would normally prob bc of the brining. Next time I will not brine the entire time and reduce the honey and brown sugar. All in all a great recipe that is very impressive and pretty on the plate. Thanks Vicki!
  5. Oh this was so good and looked greaat too! I wish my camera was working cause I wouls have loved to photograph this! The flavors were wonderful, even though I only marinated the salmon for about 1/2 hour. This was slightly labor intensive, but oh so worth it. Thank you for posting!


<p>Hi and thanks for visiting my AM page. My name is Vicki and I love to cook. I've always been an avid collector of recipes and cookbooks - in fact I have over 1200 cookbooks on my computer alone.</p> 8724165"
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