Nothing beats Char-Grilled Salmon with Bayonnaise sauce on a hot summer evening. Little can transport the soul to southwestern France more quickly than this Classic French recipe for Saumon Grillé et Bayonnaise.
And the cherry on the top, so to speak, is the fact that this is a recipe that really requires no recipe at all except for the Bayonnaise sauce. (Although we know most people like written recipes, so we have included a printable recipe in this post.)
And it’s fully Keto!
One of the things that makes this such a quick and easy dish for dinner is that you can make the Bayonnaise sauce days ahead. The sauce keeps 3-5 days in the refrigerator. We simply store it in a glass Mason jar with a lid. But any lidded container will work just fine.
Farm-Raised vs Wild-Caught for Salmon with Bayonnaise?
Be aware there is a raging debate on this. At least there is among Internet sites.
But let me step back a minute.
“Farm-raised” fish is a relatively new concept in the history of our world. And it is a big-business, big-money industry. Industry estimates say that commercially-raised salmon was a $10.7 billion (yes, with a B) market in 2007. And it has grown each year since then. That size of industry has a lot of money to buy websites, writers. And research.
Even if you can get past, or don’t care about, the huge negative environmental impact artificially farming fish has on wild fish populations, there are deep health concerns.
The industry flacks say that farm-raised salmon are given such high quality food that they are higher in Omegas than free swimming fish. We aren’t sure we believe that, but farm-raised salmon definitely is fattier than salmon in the wild. Of course that may be largely because the farm-raised salmon are tank potatoes because they have no room to swim.
That fat content is one upside of farm-raised in commercial kitchens because the more fat in the fish, the more forgiving it is. It’s hard to overcook it. Natural fish that live in the wild are leaner so you have to watch closely in order to not overcook them.
Industry flacks also tend to point to a few studies (that were paid for by the industry by the way) that say wild-caught salmon has higher incidence of heavy metal contamination than farm-raised salmon. I cannot say I believe that is true nor can I disprove it. But I do note here that those same studies did not measure other toxins or contaminants such as carcinogenic antibiotic residue that we know is higher in farm-raised fish than in free swimming fish from independent analyses. Well, of course we really don’t know the industry-funded studies didn’t measure these carcinogenic residues. What we know is they didn’t release any findings on them publicly.
Now I’m not saying here to mistrust what you read.
I’m saying to CONSIDER THE SOURCE of what you read.
That is true not just for food. But for everything.
So here is our stance.
Humans have been eating freshly caught wild salmon probably pretty much since salmon began jumping out of the water.
We come down to the classic French place — fresh is best.
And the fresher, the better.
So our advice is that the key for this recipe is to start with fresh-as-you-can-get wild-caught salmon — not anything that says “Atlantic” salmon. In the U.S. the demarcation of Atlantic Salmon indicates the salmon was farmed, probably far away and then shipped halfway around the world to your market. Unfortunately most of the salmon farms are not all that sanitary. In fact, they are nasty and often horribly over-crowded. Who knows what they feed them, we surely don’t. And who knows how many antibiotics they pump into them to keep them alive in those awful cramped conditions. And you can bet this kind of salmon is anything but fresh.
Besides, the taste of the real deal wild-caught salmon is 100 times better than the taste of farmed salmon. And depending on where you live, you may be able to help local fishermen if you buy it as fresh as possible.
And don’t shy aware from wild caught salmon that is frozen. It still tastes better and is cleaner than the salmon that is raised in a salmon farm.
Do you grill indoors or outdoors for Salmon with Bayonnaise?
We typically grill our salmon outside on a charcoal grill, sometimes with mesquite or cherry wood mixed in with the charcoal. We find using cedar planks like the ones you can purchase on Amazon give us the best final product. But you can replicate this indoors in a good enameled cast iron grilling pan.
For our outdoor method on cedar planks, you have to be sure to soak the planks about an hour before you put the fish on to grill. Just be sure to watch it ever so often to make sure your plank doesn’t catch on fire.
Speaking from experience there.
We typically drizzle the tiniest bit of olive oil on top of the salmon and then sprinkle it with good Sea Salt and Black Pepper. Sometimes we use a sprinkle of herbs as well, sometimes we don’t.
This particular evening we used a light sprinkle of sea salt and Herbs de Provence with a hefty dash of freshly ground Black Pepper before we set the well-soaked cedar plank and seasoned salmon on the grill.
We served the grilled salmon freshly off the grill with our Classic Bayonnaise Sauce — a traditional French sauce but made with Keto-friendly and low-carb Avocado Oil.
In the photograph, you can see the Bayonnaise sauce still in the terracotta serving dish.
Since this meal followed a generous several courses of hors d’oeuvres, the only side we served with the fish was freshly sliced cucumber drizzled with our favorite Balsamic vinegar. And yes, we know Balsamic vinegar is not strictly Keto. If you are not fully fat-adapted, don’t use it. But if you are, the tiny amount of drizzle that we used is very unlikely to kick you out of ketosis unless your carb or sugar intake for the day was already high.
We paired our meal with an organic Spanish Chardonnay from Mureda Vineyards that we particularly like. This would not have been our first choice typically, but we already had a bottle chilled.
You could serve this dish with any Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Bordeaux Blanc, Bordeux Rosé, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris, Vinho Verde, or good dry Rosé you like. Lots of wine pairings work with this dish. Each changes the nature of the flavors just a bit.
As always, the best key you can follow is to pair food with a wine grown in that region. So it would be hard to go wrong with a good Bordeaux Blanc or Bordeaux Rosé. In fact, one or other of those two is the typical wine we serve with this dish.
- outdoor grill (preferably)
- cedar cooking planks (if cooking outdoors, one for each fillet)
- cast iron grill pan (if cooking indoors)
- 1 fillet fresh ocean caught Salmon (size varies, but usally serves 2)
- 1 drizzle Olive Oil extra virgin
- Sea Salt to taste
- Black Pepper, ground to taste
- (optional) Herbes de Provence to taste
- AHEAD OF TIME. Make the Bayonnaise sauce in advance and set in refrigerator to chill. (You can find our recipe for Classic Bayonnaise sauce made from Avocado Oil here.)
- FOR COOKING OUTDOORS, soak your cedar planks in water at least 1 hours before you intend to start cooking. And start your grill on the schedule you normally do.
- FOR COOKING INDOORS, pre-heat your cast iron grill on the stove stop. Start with a med-lo heat for a few minutes, then raise the heat to a med-hi shortly before you want to put the salmon on. Just before you want to cook, spray or brush the hot grill with oil. It will heat quickly since the grill is already hot.
- Season the fillet with Salt, Black Pepper, and (optionally) herbs. Then put the fillet on your grill. Drizzle a tiny bit of Olive Oil on top of it -- ever so tiny.
- Grill until the Salmon gets a white cast. Then take it off and serve.
HERE IS OUR (FULLY KETO) RECIPE FOR BAYONNAISE
TO MAKE SAUMON GRILLÉ ET BAYONNAISE LIKE WE DO
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DISHES THAT PAIR WELL WITH SAUMON GRILLÉ ET BAYONNAISE