One-pan salmon with asparagus, mushrooms, and balsamic brown butter sauce is the easiest, most delicious dinner – and it’s ready in only 20 minutes!
If you make one recipe from my blog this week, this should be it!
This one-pan salmon with asparagus is one of the best things I’ve made on this blog.
It’s definitely going on our regular meal rotation. I wish salmon was less expensive, but when you do decide to make the splurge and buy a pound, this is 100% the meal you should make.
When I recently asked what you wanted to see more of on the blog, you said main dish meals that aren’t salads.
Well, ask and ye shall receive.
Not only is it not a salad, it’s also one of the easiest and quickest things to make! It takes 20 minutes start to finish, including trimming your asparagus. And most of that is hands-off. I don’t know how much more simple you can get!
I’ve been making a variation of this recipe for probably a decade. It’s from Allrecipes.com and is just the recipe for the roasted asparagus. I highly recommend the asparagus as a side dish.
When challenged with making a whole meal out of it, I knew the flavor of the balsamic brown butter sauce would go perfectly with salmon. Plus, the cook temperature and time is the same for the salmon as it is for the asparagus, so it could easily go on the same sheet pan. And why not throw some mushrooms in with it, too, so you really get a meat and two sides on one pan!
Oh. My. Goodness.
When I thought the balsamic brown butter sauce would go well with salmon, that was the understatement of the year.
The sauce doesn’t just go well with salmon. The sauce and salmon are soul mates. They were created to be together and spent their whole lives looking for each other, and they can finally exchange their eternal vows on your dinner plate and live happily forever after in this recipe.
I’ve baked salmon before with butter and soy sauce and it’s really good, but when you brown the butter and add in a little balsamic as well, it’s truly next level. It’s like candy (in its addictiveness, not sweetness). I literally drank the sauce out of the bottom of my tupperware in front of all my coworkers in the break room after I finished the leftovers for lunch.
Together with the browned butter the soy sauce and balsamic vinegar take on a new and incredible flavor that is unparalleled. It is a sauce that is truly more than the sum of its parts.
So, enough about how I could drink the sauce as a beverage with my dinner. Let me give you a couple tips on how to make this incredible (and incredibly easy) one-pan salmon dish.
A note about asparagus:
If you haven’t cooked with asparagus much and aren’t sure why (and how) you need to trim it, asparagus should be nice and tender but the thick end tends to be fibrous and woody. There are people who swear you can just take a knife and cut off the last two inches of your asparagus across the board and be good, but I inevitably run across several stalks that I end up chewing like cud for a few minutes before indelicately spitting a tumbleweed of asparagus splinters into a napkin when people prepare it this way.
Instead, I find that each stalk of asparagus is unique in where it wants to be broken. So, I don’t technically trim it.
And having just re-watched Legally Blonde, I’m going to call this move the “Bend and snap”.
Thank you, tumblr, for this lovely illustration.
What you do is hold your asparagus about a third to halfway down from the narrow end with one hand, and at the base of the thick end with your other hand. Then bend the asparagus until it snaps. It will naturally break at the point where it stops being tough and splintery.
For some pieces it may be a couple inches, and for others you may end up discarding nearly half the stalk. People will say this is a waste of asparagus, but the only part you’re “wasting” is the part you’d end up chewing for five minutes and spitting out.
Bend and snap! Works every time!
As a bonus, now you don’t have to wash a cutting board! Win-win!
It only takes a couple minutes to snap the whole bunch of asparagus. Rinse it off and pat dry with paper towels.
The rest of the meal prep is basically:
- Put everything on a sheet pan with some olive oil, salt and pepper
- Stick it in the oven
- Make the 5-minute brown butter sauce
- Devour everything
It’s so stinkin’ easy, and all you have to wash is your sheet pan and tiny sauce pot.
And I find it amazing that the same time, temperature, and preparation on three different ingredients can cook each one perfectly: The asparagus is a little caramelized but still crisp, the mushrooms are browned and flavorful, and the salmon is flaky, juicy, and ever-so slightly on the rare side – just perfect.
The worst thing is ruining a perfectly good piece of salmon by overcooking it until it’s dry and sucks the moisture out of your mouth. There’s a fine line between perfectly cooked and dry as dust with salmon. It will depend on the thickness and cut of your salmon but mine were about an inch thick in the middle, for reference.
To summarize, this meal is:
- SO EASY
- 20 minutes start to finish
- the most delicious thing you’ll ever put in your mouth
- hardly any prep or cleanup
- the best dinner I’ve ever made on this blog
- absolute perfection
- definitely happening for me again this week
Let me know if you love this one-pan salmon meal as much as I do! I’m working on some more non-salad dinners for you too. If you have any other requests on what you’d like to see more of on the blog, let me know in the comments!
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One-pan Salmon with Asparagus, Mushrooms, and Balsamic Brown Butter Sauce
- 1 bunch asparagus snapped and rinsed (see tips in post)
- 1 pint sliced button mushrooms
- 1 lb salmon fillet
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- kosher salt and pepper
- 4 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- On a large sheet pan, toss asparagus and mushrooms in 1 tbsp olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Arrange in a single layer.
- Place salmon fillets skin-side down on top of vegetables. Brush with remaining olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- About 5 minutes before baking is finished, melt butter in a tiny saucepan over medium or medium-high heat. It will foam up – stir it constantly for a couple minutes until the foam subsides and the butter starts to take on a rich brown color.
- When the butter is brown (careful not to burn it!) remove it from the heat and stir in the soy sauce and vinegar.
- Remove the pan from the oven, and peel off salmon skin. Drizzle sauce over everything on the sheet pan.
- Enjoy. Drink the sauce when you're done.