Easy dinner ideas: Great salmon dishes in an hour or less

Love salmon? From bright salmon ceviche to rich salmon chowder or steamed salmon with dill sauce, each of these tempting ideas comes together quickly for a perfect weeknight meal.

Peruvian salmon ceviche: Bright and fresh, this colorful ceviche is at once a little sweet, tangy and spicy. It makes for a perfect light meal or hearty first course.


Salmon and corn chowder: Craving something a little more rich? This quick chowder makes use of leftover salmon, tossing the flaked fish in at the end to round out the flavors of bacon and freshly toasted corn. Start to finish, it's ready in only 45 minutes.

Oven-steamed salmon with dill mayonnaise: If you're looking for easy, it doesn't get much better than oven-steamed salmon, according to Food editor Russ Parsons. With his recipe, you simply steam salmon on a baking sheet in a 250-degree oven over a baking pan filled with boiling water. The salmon is ready in about 20 minutes, when the fish just begins to flake. While it's cooking, whisk together a quick dill mayonnaise (mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, fresh chopped dill and shallots and a little lemon juice), and you're good to go. Simple, right?

For more ideas, click through our easy dinner recipes gallery and check out our Dinner Tonight page, devoted to recipes that can be made in an hour or less. Looking for a particular type of recipe? Comment below or email me at


Total time:
30 minutes, plus chilling time | Serves 2 to 4

Note: Adapted from Marinitas in San Anselmo, Calif. The restaurant recommends serving the ceviche with diced avocado and tortilla chips or totopos. Because salmon sometimes carry parasites, it's always best to freeze it for 30 minutes before completing the recipe if you're going to serve it raw.


1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons ground chile arbol
3/4 cup agave syrup
1/2 cup lemon juice

In a small sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the garlic and sauté until aromatic, then remove the pan from heat. Stir in the chile arbol. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes, then whisk in the agave syrup and lemon juice. Set aside. This makes more chile water than is needed for the remainder of the recipe; the mixture can be used as a marinade and will keep, covered and refrigerated, up to 1 week.


1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
12 ounces sushi-grade salmon fillet, ½ inch thick, preferable from the belly
2 to 3 tablespoons oil
1 large navel orange, peeled and cut into ¼-inch cubes
2 tablespoons of finely diced serrano chiles with seeds, or to taste
1/4 cup finely diced red onions
1/4 cup aji amarillo purée, or to taste
3/4 cup Chile Water
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup minced green onions
Salt and pepper

1. In a small bowl, stir together the salt, pepper, cumin and coriander. Pat the spice blend all over the salmon fillet.

2. Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat until hot. Add the oil and sear the salmon quickly on both sides. Remove the salmon and set aside until cool enough to cut. Dice the cooled fillet into cubes one-third to one-half inch thick and refrigerate until chilled.

3. In a large bowl, combine the diced salmon with the orange, serrano chiles, red onion, aji amarillo purée, chile water, cilantro and green onions. Taste and season if desired with salt and pepper.

Each of four servings: 476 calories; 19 grams protein; 36 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 30 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 47 mg cholesterol; 30 grams sugar; 976 mg sodium


Total time:
45 minutes | Serves 6

2 ears corn
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 strips bacon, finely chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 baking potatoes, peeled and cut in 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups bottled clam juice
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 cups half-and-half
6 ounces cooked salmon, flaked
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
Freshly ground pepper

1. Stand each ear of corn upright on a work surface, and with a sharp knife, cut downward along the corn to remove the kernels. You should have about 1 1/2 cups.

2. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the corn and cook until the kernels are lightly browned and toasted, about 3 minutes. Stir in the salt, then remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

3. Cook the bacon in a heavy soup pot until crisp, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pan. Add the onion and cook over medium heat for 1 minute, then cover and cook until soft but not brown, about 3 minutes longer. Add the potatoes, clam juice and thyme; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 to 12 minutes.

4. Add the corn, bacon, half-and-half and salmon to the soup pot. Simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes. Add the parsley and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Each serving: 280 calories; 468 mg sodium; 53 mg cholesterol; 15 grams fat; 7 grams saturated fat; 26 grams carbohydrates; 13 grams protein; 2.50 grams fiber.


Total time: 40 minutes | Serves 6 to 8

1 (1 1/2- to 2-pound) salmon fillet, in 1 piece
1 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon minced shallots
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup minced fresh dill
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

1. Heat the oven to 250 degrees. Place the salmon, meat side up, on a cutting board and feel along the surface of the flesh with your fingertips just above and below the midline. If you feel pin bones, pluck them out with tweezers or needle-nose pliers. Season the salmon with one-half teaspoon salt, or to taste, and place on a jellyroll pan lined with lightly oiled aluminum foil.

2. When the oven is ready, place a baking pan on the floor of the oven and fill it with boiling water. Place the pan with the salmon on the rack. Cook until a paring knife or toothpick penetrates the flesh easily, 20 to 25 minutes. Note that the flesh will be somewhat denser than usual and that it won't change color as much as with other cooking methods.

3. While the salmon is cooking, prepare the dressing. Combine the mayonnaise, shallots, mustard and dill in a food processor or blender or use a mortar and pestle and puree until fairly smooth. There should still be some dots of herbs visible. Add lemon juice and puree again. Taste, correct seasoning and set aside.

4. When the salmon is done cooking, there will probably be some white collagen collected on the surface. Moisten a pastry brush with oil and lightly brush it away.

5. Serve the salmon on a large platter with a bit of the mayonnaise spooned to one side. Serve the remainder of the mayonnaise in a bowl to pass. Tell your guests to scoop up the salmon with a spoon, leaving the skin behind.

Each of eight servings: 407 calories; 21 grams protein; 1 gram carbohydrates; 35 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 71 mg cholesterol; 406 mg sodium.