Salmon Roulade Stuffed with Walnuts

Salmon Roulade Stuffed with Walnuts
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The best "company" dishes look complicated and attractive, without actually requiring a great deal of work or expertise. This roulade is a prime example, requiring minimal effort to create a dramatic entree. One of the beauties of salmon is that you don't need to do much with it. Its rich, mellow taste stands on its own, even if all you've done is poach or grill it. Still, it's nice to occasionally take a few extra moments to dress it up nicely for company. This simple roulade is a fine example, combining salmon, local walnuts and seasonal greens in a dramatic spiral pattern.


  • 1 cup local walnut pieces
  • 1 Tbsp. butter or oil, plus more for the baking dish
  • 2 medium yellow onions, diced
  • ½ lb. bag spinach or baby spinach, or one bunch of kale or endive
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 3 stems fresh dill, fronds only, chopped coarsely
  • 1 ½ piece boneless, skinless salmon, cut from the thickest part of the fillet
  • ½ tsp. sea salt, or more to taste
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
  • ¼ cup dry white wine


  1. Heat a skillet over low to medium heat. Pour in the walnut pieces and cook gently, stirring or tossing them frequently, until the nuts begin to smell toasty and aromatic. Pour them into a bowl and reserve.
  2. Return the skillet to your stovetop. Add the butter or oil and diced onions, and increase the heat to medium. Stir the onions regularly as they cook, until they're softened but not browned (usually 6-8 minutes).
  3. If using kale, endive or mature spinach, remove the stems. Coarsely chop the leaves of your greens, then add them to your skillet. Stir as they wilt, so the greens mix into the onion and are evenly coated with the oil. Once the greens are wilted, stir in the clove of garlic. Cook for 1 minute longer, until the garlic is aromatic, then remove it from the heat and stir in the dill. Set aside to cool.
  4. Heat your oven to 350° F. Wipe away any scales from the salmon with a clean paper towel, and check the fillet with your fingertips for any pin bones that might have made it through the deboning process. If you find any, pull them out with a pair of tweezers or well-washed pliers.
  5. Lay the salmon on a cutting board, with the thinner belly portion facing your knife hand. Slice into the salmon horizontally with a sharp, thin-bladed knife, cutting to within ¼" of the back of the fillet. Fold the top part of the fillet backward, treating the last ¼" of uncut salmon as a hinge, so it opens up and lays flat like a book. Season the cut surfaces generously with salt and pepper.
  6. Pulse the cooked onions and greens together with the toasted walnut pieces until they're loose but well blended. Spread the mixture evenly across the cut portion of the salmon, leaving the thinner belly portion uncovered. Starting at the end of the cut portion, fold the end of the salmon over the filling. Roll it forward, making a tight, even jelly roll-style cylinder of salmon and greens. Finish with the roll resting on the thin belly portion, which acts as the base.
  7. Tie the roll at its ends and at 1" intervals with cotton kitchen twine. If any of the filling drops out of the ends, just pick it up and push it back in between the layers of salmon. Lightly oil or butter a shallow baking dish and lay the roll in it carefully. Pour in the white wine, then place a small piece of parchment paper over the salmon. Cover the salmon and baking dish loosely with foil, then crimp the foil at the edges of the baking dish to trap the steam.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through and internal temperature reaches 145° F. Remove the baking dish from the oven and let the salmon rest for 5-10 minutes. To cut it, slide a long piece of thread underneath and then cross the ends and pull them through (thread makes a neater cut than a knife). Allow one thick or two thin slices per person. Remove the twine and serve hot, with fish-friendly side dishes, or cold, with a grain-based salad. Refrigerate any leftovers.


For an alternative presentation, tie the uncooked salmon roulade at ½" intervals and then slice it into individual portions so that each portion is held together at the top and bottom with the kitchen twine. Arrange the spiral rounds of salmon in a shallow, greased baking dish as you would cinnamon rolls. Dot with butter and bake for approximately 10 minutes.

A number of fish-friendly sauces complement this recipe. If you're serving it hot, you might opt for traditional beurre blanc, a tangy roasted pepper coulis or classically rich Hollandaise sauce. If you're serving it cold, a colorful, mayonnaise-like avocado aioli makes for a dramatic presentation.

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