Braised Salmon in Red Wine

James Beard

Author and Educator

With a base of aromatic vegetables like leeks, sweet carrots, and crunchy celery, the aromatic red wine-laced broth in this recipe infuses the salmon during its time in the oven until the fish becomes meltingly tender.


  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, cut in strips
  • 1 leek, cleaned and cut in strips
  • 1 carrot, cut in thin strips
  • 3 sprigs parsley
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 6 to 8 pounds salmon
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 quart (or more) red wine
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 18 small white onions
  • 1 pound mushrooms


Cook the vegetables: place the sliced onions, celery, leek, carrot, and parsley in the bottom of a large fish cooker or braising pan with 5 tablespoons of butter. Cover and let cook over a medium flame until the vegetables are soft.

Prepare the salmon: salt the salmon inside and out, and place it on this bed of cooked vegetables. Add red wine to half the depth of the fish in the pan, and put in the thyme and bay leaf.

Bring just to a boil. Cover the fish with a piece of cooking parchment, and place it in the oven for about 40 minutes or until the salmon is cooked through.

Cook the onions and mushrooms: meanwhile, brown the small onions in 3 tablespoons of butter, and let them cook through in a covered pan. Sauté the mushrooms lightly in the remaining butter, and season with salt to taste.

Baste the fish in the oven from time to time. When it is cooked, arrange it on a hot platter and surround it with the onions and mushrooms. Strain the sauce, and if you wish it thickened, add beurre manié (butter and flour mixed). Taste for seasoning and serve it separately. 


6 servings