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Salmon Fillets on a Bed of Spinach with Tarragon Sauce

A refined salmon dish which is perfect for a dinner party. Wow your guests with this Mary Berry recipe, served with a creamy spinach, wine and tarragon sauce.


An elegant dish that is quick and simple to prepare, this is perfect for a smart dinner party. If you wanted to get ahead to serve it for a gathering, season the fish and have it ready on a tray, and prepare the sauce and spinach in advance.

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2 tbsp oil
50g (2oz) butter
6 middle-cut salmon fillets (about 150g/5oz each), skin on
700g (1½lb) baby spinach
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the sauce:
150ml (5fl oz) white wine
300ml (10fl oz) double cream
Juice of ½ small lemon
A pinch of sugar
2 tsp finely chopped tarragon


Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas 6.

Heat a large frying pan and add the oil and half the butter. Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper and fry, skin side down, over a high heat for about 2 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Carefully turn over and fry for about another minute until lightly browned and sealed. Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to fry the salmon in batches.

Transfer the fillets to a baking tray, laying them skin side down, and pour over any oily juices from the frying pan. Slide the tray into the oven and roast for about 8 minutes or until just cooked through.

To make the sauce, pour the wine into a wide, shallow saucepan, bring to the boil and allow to bubble over a high heat to reduce by half. Add the cream and reduce further, stirring until slightly thickened, then add the lemon juice, sugar and tarragon and season with salt and pepper.

Put half the spinach into a colander, pour over enough boiling water to wilt it, then refresh in cold water, drain and squeeze out any liquid. Set aside and then repeat with the remaining spinach. It may seem like a lot of spinach, but don’t worry – it wilts down to become more manageable once cooked.

Wipe out the frying pan and place back on the hob over a high heat, add the remaining butter and fry the spinach, stirring, for 1 minute, then season with salt and pepper.

Remove the skin from each salmon fillet. Spoon a pile of spinach on to each plate, sit a piece of salmon on top, pour over some of the sauce and serve hot.

Although some preparation can be done in advance, this dish is best made and served immediately. The spinach can be cooked 1-2 hours before, and then fried to heat through before serving. The sauce can be made ahead of time, and kept refrigerated, then reheated over a gentle heat on the hob.

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