You know when you try a new recipe that you think is going to be just “meh” and then are blown away by how delicious and perfect it is? This salmon and asparagus bake is one of those dishes. I had a similar experience with my chicken Florentine over acorn squash too.
A few weeks ago, I was having one of those moments where I was staring at the contents of my fridge looking for inspiration. With our weekly farm box, there's usually a collection of ever changing veggies that need to be magicked into dinner, and I had a gorgeous piece of salmon in my freezer from a friend's fishing trip.
After a bit of trolling about Pinterest searching “salmon and asparagus”, I decided to do my own twist on the common salmon and asparagus casserole with super flavorful rice, moist and tender salmon, and bright perfectly cooked asparagus all brought together with a creamy (though not too heavy) sauce.
I love to cook white rice in chicken stock for extra nutrition and flavor. (You can read why I prefer white rice here.) And with the seasonal asparagus, all of the great fats from pastured butter and cream, and the wild-caught salmon, this dish is a nutritional powerhouse disguised as a home-cooked comfort food. Even my picky kids happily gobbled it down and asked for seconds.
Salmon and asparagus bake ingredients
For the casserole:
- 1 cup white rice
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock – learn how to make your own in this post
- 2 tablespoons butter, from grass fed cows – plus more for greasing the dish
- 1 pound fresh asparagus
- 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt – this is my favorite sea salt
- 1 pound wild-caught salmon fillet, skin removed
For the sauce:
- 1/2 lemon
- 2 ounces Parmesan cheese
- 3 tablespoons butter, from grass fed cows
- 1 tablespoon sprouted flour (or 1/2 tablespoon arrowroot powder mixed in 1 tablespoon filtered water)
- 1 1/4 cups chicken stock – learn how to make your own in this post
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup cream, from grass fed cows
Salmon and asparagus bake method
- Cook rice in chicken stock, covered, until light and fluffy.
- Meanwhile, position rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 425F. Grease a shallow casserole dish.
- Trim, peel and cut asparagus into 3 inch diagonal pieces. Juice half of the lemon and cut the other into slices for garnish. Mince fresh dill.
- Place asparagus in a pot with a shallow 1/2 inch of filtered water over high heat. Cover and blanch until the asparagus turns bright green (about 3-4 minutes); cook for 4 minutes. Rinse under cold water to stop cooking and set aside
- Combine cooked rice with dill, lemon juice, butter, and sea salt in the casserole dish.
- Place salmon over the rice mixture.
For the sauce:
- Juice the lemon and grate the Parmesan cheese.
- Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in stock and wine; stir over medium heat for about 5 minutes until simmering. Stir flour or arrowroot mixture into the broth allowing sauce to thicken. Stir in salt, pepper and nutmeg. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice.
- Whisk cream and Parmesan into sauce until well combined.
- Pour cream sauce over the rice and salmon.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Pull out dish and lay asparagus over salmon and sprinkle with Parmesan. Turn oven to broil and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the top becomes lightly golden. Let stand 15 minutes before serving with lemon slices.