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Wild Salmon Bake with Sauce Vierge is Sustainable, Light and Refreshing

By Diane Rossen Worthington

Chef Ned Bell, of Vancouver, has penned a new book on seafood called “Lure: Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the West Coast” ($32.95, Figure 1 Publishing). Not just any seafood. Bell has made it his mission to cook only with sustainable seafood, and in his book he explains how to select and cook with sustainable seafood. He has cooked at many restaurants and now holds the title of Ocean Wise executive chef and ambassador.

Ocean Wise is Vancouver’s sustainable seafood program that works with chefs to develop recipes. What is sustainable seafood? According to, it is defined as “seafood fished or farmed in a manner that can maintain or increase production in the long term, without jeopardizing the health or function of the web of life in our oceans.”

“Lure” gives the reader a thorough understanding of sustainable seafood guidelines with recommended apps to download to always make sure you are buying sustainable. While the book features Pacific coast seafood, it is easy enough to find alternatives, no matter where you live. Bell’s simple recipes and techniques can be seen in this baked salmon recipe.

Bell bakes the whole salmon filet with a simple glistening of olive oil brushed on top of the fish. I love the lemon, which is also baked to serve alongside the salmon. Sauce vierge is originally a recipe introduced in the 1980s by Michel Guerard, a French chef, author and one of the founders of nouvelle cuisine. Uncooked and loaded with herbs, this classic French sauce is lighter than the usual creamy French sauces. Look for bright red Roma tomatoes and the freshest herbs you can find. I like to present the salmon on a rectangular platter, garnished with the lemon and sauce. Serve remaining sauce on the side.


For the sauce vierge:

  • 4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced (about 3 cups)
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
  • Sea salt
  • Coarsely ground black pepper

For the salmon:

  • 1 salmon fillet (2 to 3 pounds)
  • Olive oil, for brushing the salmon and for drizzling
  • Sea salt
  • Coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/2 lemon
  • Coarsely ground black pepper


  1. For the sauce: Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Season to taste. Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Brush the skin of the salmon with olive oil, and season both sides with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the salmon skin side down onto the prepared baking sheet. Add the lemon (cut side up) beside the salmon, and bake for about 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of fish. An instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part should read 120 F to 125 F. Set aside to rest for 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Add a few generous spoonfuls of sauce vierge on top, drizzle with olive oil, and serve with the charred lemon. Serve remaining sauce on the side.

Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks, including “Seriously Simple Parties,” and a James Beard Award-winning radio show host. You can contact her at



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