Weeknight Cooking

Butter-Basted Salmon with Buttermilk Garlic Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Spinach

June 20, 2016
7 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

Inspired by a Blue Apron recipe, we created our own spin on a simple salmon dinner. Easy to make on weeknights, we've tweaked it over time until we have it just the way we like it: crispy skin basted in butter and lemon, sweet potatoes cooked in coconut oil, and plenty of vegetables. —Posie (Harwood) Brien

Test Kitchen Notes

This is very yummy and very straightforward. Nothing too complicated. Nothing that had to be changed. My salmon fillets were 5 ounces each, and took a bit longer (2 minutes) to cook than the times given. —Stephanie Bourgeois

What You'll Need
  • 2 skin-on salmon fillets (5 to 6 ounces each), patted dry and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 large zucchini (or 2 small), diced
  • 1 lemon (zest + juice)
  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (regular milk is also fine)
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed into a paste
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Place the sweet potatoes in a medium pot and cover with cold water (plus a few inches). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until potatoes are tender when pricked with a fork, about 15 minutes.
  2. Drain the potatoes and return to the pot. Add the garlic paste, sour cream, buttermilk, 3 tablespoons of butter, and salt and pepper to taste. Mash well and set aside.
  3. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large pan until hot. Add the baby spinach and lemon zest and cook until just wilted. Remove from the pan and set aside. Once cool enough to handle, chop the spinach roughly.
  4. Heat another teaspoon of olive oil in the same pan and add the diced zucchini. Season with salt and pepper and cook on medium-high heat for about 4 minutes, until softened and starting to brown. Remove from the pan and set aside with the chopped spinach.
  5. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in the same pan. Once hot, add the salmon (skin-side down). Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes on the first side, then flip and add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and lemon juice to the pan. Cook for 3 more minutes, constantly spooning the lemon butter over the salmon as it cooks. Transfer to a plate.
  6. Spoon mashed sweet potatoes onto each plate, top with the zucchini and spinach, then finish with a salmon fillet.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • hart0926
  • NXL
  • em oh
    em oh

3 Reviews

hart0926 October 6, 2020
I wasn't as impressed with this recipe as some...I much prefer roasting the salmon, as it allows me to tuck under any thin ends (and I don't eat the skin anyway). For the sweet potatoes, it would be helpful to identify the weight of a "medium" potato in the ingredients. I only had a 1 lb. potato, so I assumed that would equal 3 medium potatoes, but if I'd added the entire 1/2 cup of buttermilk, they would have been a runny mess. As it was, I added half the buttermilk, and they were tasty, but still fairly "loose", and plenty of potatoes for two generous servings. I also think it would be easier to sauté the zucchini first, then add in the spinach and lemon zest for the last few minutes (no need to cut the spinach in my opinion), that way, it is still fairly warm by the time you want to serve the salmon. I made it as written, and the veggies were cold before the salmon was cooked. I'll try this dish again, but will make a few minor improvements for a better end result.
NXL January 26, 2020
This recipe is fantastic. The only thing I changed was to saute the garlic with the zucchini so that it wasn't raw. A few hot pepper flakes might have livened it up a little, but as written was rich and delicious. Definitely goes on my 'favorites' list.
em O. June 1, 2018
This is a really delicious weeknight meal that comes together quickly. I doubled the spinach - used the 5 oz box from grocery store, 2 cups is not sufficient. I also added a slivered garlic clove to the zucchini. I kept the mashed sweet potatoes warm over a pot of simmering water - The buttermilk is a great addition and I imagine plain yogurt could be subbed for sour cream. I cooked the other veggies while I roasted the salmon in a 350 oven ( about 15-20 mins to 125 or 130 internal temp) . I had a particularly thick king salmon filet and know from experience that I tend to overcook such in a pan. I melted the butter with lemon juice and added a dash of Worcestershire sauce and some sugar to balance and used as a sauce over the fatty fish. If I had a coho/sockeye filet, I would try pan frying