Want to wow them at dinner? Make Creamy Spinach Stuffed Salmon—it’s easy, elegant, and impressive!
When TheCookful asked me to include a recipe for stuffed salmon in this series of salmon posts, I was dubious. I mean, I’m all about good ingredients simply prepared. Why make salmon so fussy?
But I’ve since been seduced by stuffed salmon. It actually turns out to be one of those dishes that looks and tastes snazzy and special but it’s quite easy to make. And in my book, those are the best kind.
A combination of spinach, cream cheese, and Parmesan is a relatively classic stuffing for salmon. So I started there, then jazzed it up with garlic powder, onion powder, and lemon juice and zest. The lemon works really well to balance the richness of the cream cheese.
For getting the stuffing into the salmon, first use a small, sharp knife to make a slit into the side of each fillet. Start about 3/4 inch from the top of the thickest part, then gently saw the knife back and forth, parallel to your work surface, until the slit is about 2 inches long. Be careful to leave about 3/4 inch between the deepest part of the slit and the other side of the fillet.
I found it was easiest to shape a portion of stuffing into a rough log and fit the log into the slit. I then used my fingertips to gently press it in evenly.
How To Cook It
Some recipes use a skillet to cook stuffed salmon, but it can be challenging to flip the fillets without losing stuffing in the process. So I use the oven instead. No flipping. 🙂
Baking has another advantage—you don’t have to tend to it. So while the salmon is cooking, you’re free to have a glass of wine, make a side dish, or mingle with your tablemates.
You could absolutely serve stuffed salmon as-is, but I add a bed of fresh spinach leaves and a few lemon slices. It’s easy and pretty, and the crunch of the greens is a nice contrast to the rich salmon and creamy stuffing.
Like I said, stuffed salmon has won me over. It’s under serious consideration for my next dinner party—and I recommend you consider it too. Even if the “party” is a weeknight with the family, they’re sure to be wowed.Print
- 4 oz. frozen spinach, thawed
- ½ cup cream cheese, room temperature
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Zest of 1 lemon, plus 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, plus lemon slices for (optional) garnish
- ½ tsp. salt, divided, plus more to taste
- ½ tsp. pepper, divided, plus more to taste
- ¼ tsp. garlic powder
- ¼ tsp. onion powder
- 4 (5-6 oz.) salmon fillets, about 3/4-inch thick, without skin
- 1 and ½ Tbsp. olive oil
- About 3 cups fresh baby spinach leaves (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Meanwhile, squeeze as much liquid as you can out of the thawed frozen spinach (you should end up with about ¼ cup packed). In a medium bowl, mix the squeezed spinach, cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, lemon zest and juice, garlic powder, onion powder, ¼ teaspoon of the salt, and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper. Add more salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
- Brush about ½ of the oil on a rimmed baking sheet and set aside.
- Use a small, sharp knife to cut a slit into the side of each salmon fillet, making a pocket about 2 inches long and about ¾ inch short of the other side. Stuff about ¼ of the cream cheese mixture into each pocket, spreading it evenly (you might not need all the stuffing).
- Arrange the salmon on the prepared baking sheet and brush with the remaining oil.
- Sprinkle with the remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper.
- Bake until the salmon is opaque throughout and the center of the stuffing reaches 120 to 130°F on an instant-read thermometer (like this), approximately 15 to 18 minutes.
- Arrange the fresh spinach and lemon slices, if using, on plates or a platter. Arrange the salmon on top and serve.
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