This dish is for everybody, but especially those of us who have been living in the hideous splotchy grey of winter’s end because it’s like, “Oh heeeeey! Remember color?! Look how beautiful and bright and warm! I am a gorgeous food painting for your eyes!”
The bright inexplicable pink of the tender flaky salmon, with golden olive oil-crisped edges. The deep green of the roasted asparagus calling us towards springtime. The pale yellow of the creamy leek drenched potatoes, speckled with bright pops of chives, an almost neon slice of lemon.
It’s like technicolor. It’s delicious. It’s bold and light and it’s serving up sunshine for dinner.
Bright, Fresh, and Happy Ingredients For This Spring Salmon
This one is such a stunner because ingredients like lemon and asparagus and bright fresh salmon sing like spring birds, but the star here is the roasted potatoes with those creamed leeks. They’re creamy, rich, and decadent but with zips of fresh lemon zest. You may want to eat just a whole pan of those, but we promise the whole plate is a song. Here’s what you’ll need to make it happen:
For the leeks:
- fresh thyme
- heavy cream
- chicken/veg broth
- lemon zest
- salt and pepper
For your sheet pan:
- salmon (or you can cook separate in a skillet for extra golden crispiness, yum!)
- olive oil, salt, and lemon juice
If you want to skip the oven or skillet for your salmon, we have a guide for all the delicious ways to cook salmon.
Let’s Make Springy Salmon and Potatoes
All things told, this is pretty easy to throw together. The leeks are the only diva here because it takes a few soaks to get them grit-free, and then you have to get them all creamy buttery soft, but again, this star is worth every darn step. So here we go:
- Prep your leeks. Leeks are really dirty! After thinly slicing, put them in a bowl of water and gently break them apart so that any dirt trapped between the layers releases to the bottom. Once the dirt settles, pull the leeks out from the top, discard water, and repeat as necessary until clean. (Don’t just strain or the dirt falls right back on them!)
- Cream your leeks. Melt some butter in a skillet and cook until the leeks are soft and yummy. Add the garlic and thyme in with the leeks, then the broth and heavy cream. Let it simmer until it thickens a bit into a nice creamy sauce. Then remove from heat and add the lemon zest and season to taste.
- Ready your sheet pan. Get your potatoes drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepp and start those first. After about ten minutes, add the asparagus to the pan with the same treatment and finish roasting.
- Cook your salmon. This is our preferred method here – heat a bit of oil in a skillet and add the salmon, skin side down. Cook for a few minutes until it release easily and then flip and cook for a bit more until you have a golden crispy exterior and it’s done to your preference. (Could also bake salmon on the sheet pan for ease, but you lose that golden-crisp which IS a real treat here.)
- Make potato & leek magic. Pour that creamy leek mixture over the roasted potatoes and bake until bubbly and browned at the edges.
How To Cook Perfect Salmon
You have a couple of options for making the salmon here. We often gravitate toward baking salmon because it is our best no-fuss, no-brainer way to get a perfect cook on it. And you could definitely do that here by tossing it on the pan with your potatoes and asparagus! BUT, if you are willing to take one extra step and have one extra thing to clean, we really recommend crisping these fillets up in a skillet with olive oil.
The golden brown crispy edges that you get all over are a whole other level in terms of texture and taste in this dish. The salmon does cook pretty quickly, so you have to baby it a bit so it doesn’t dry out. Again though, that golden crisp…oof, worth the extra pampering.
This bright, colorful, super delicious, and deeply satisfying spring dinner is waiting for you. Please do answer its call, won’t you?
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Spring Salmon with Potatoes: Frequently Asked Questions
Baking sheet will be the easiest method, but it won’t get crispy and personally I love the crispy exterior! If you want the easy option, just throw your salmon on the sheet pan with the veggies and creamed leeks for the last ten minutes of cooking.
If you dump the contents of the rinsing bowl into a strainer, all the dirt at the bottom will just go right back over the top of the leeks, which is why it’s helpful to first pull them out with a skimmer, or just with your hands, and then discard the water.
We’re bringing you a plate of sunshine for dinner! Perfectly golden-crisp salmon partnered next to oven-roasted asparagus and a buttery, rich, creamy leek sauce piled on crispy potatoes.
- 3 leeks, white and light green parts sliced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
- a few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 – 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- a couple pinches of lemon zest
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pound potatoes, rinsed and halved
- 1 pound asparagus, tough bottom stems trimmed
- 1 pound salmon (1 small filet per serving)
- olive oil, salt, and lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the sliced leeks in a bowl of water. Gently massage and break them apart so that any dirt trapped between the layers gets released. Let the dirt settle and then pull the leeks out of the bowl, discarding the water. Repeat as many times as necessary to get them clean. (My 3 year old daughter loves to help with this! Great kid activity.)
- Place your potatoes on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes.
- After ten minutes, add the asparagus to the pan, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Return the pan to the oven for another 10-15 minutes.
- While everything is roasting, melt the butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the leeks; cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are soft and yummy.
- Add the garlic and thyme in with the leeks; cook for a few minutes until it’s very fragrant. Add the broth and the cream; let the whole thing come to a low simmer until it’s comes together like a nice creamy sauce, about 10-15 minutes (I just leave it on the heat slowly bubbling while the other veggies are roasting). Remove from heat and add the lemon zest to the mixture. Taste and season.
- Heat a bit of oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the salmon, skin side down, and cook for a few minutes until you can gently release and flip the salmon. Cook for a few minutes on the other side until the exterior is golden brown and the salmon is cooked to your desired level of doneness.
- Pour the creamy leek mixture over the roasted potatoes. Bake for 10 minutes or until the salmon is done and the creamed leeks and potato mixture is bubbly and browned at the edges. Serve straight off the pan with lemon wedges and extra herbs. YUMO!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Roast
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: salmon, salmon with potatoes, leek recipe
More Salmon Recipes To Make ASAP
- Coconut Curry Salmon (broiled salmon with the best spicy-sweet rub on top)
- The Oliver’s Salad (the garlic and peppers confit though! still drooling.)
- Spicy Salmon Burgers (comes together in just 15 minutes)
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