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Kitchen Test: King Salmon with Tomato-Herb Coulis
Wild King Salmon marinated in crème fraiche and Dijon rests on a fresh tomato-herb sauce

Kitchen Test: King Salmon with Tomato-Herb Coulis

Welcome to my Colorado kitchen!

This series features me, Michelle — a writer and soccer mom from the Rocky Mountains — my husband and two kids, some beautiful Vital Choice seafood and lots of regular home cooking.

(Click here to learn more about me, below.)

I want to feature the products and preparations you’re curious about.

Have a suggestion? Question? Recipe you want me to test?

Email me and help to shape this series.

There comes a point every summer when there are just too many tomatoes, and as hard as you try, a few get soft before you’re able to enjoy them.

That’s the ideal time to make this extremely simple, extremely fresh sauce to pair with a gorgeous crème fraiche and Dijon mustard marinated salmon.

Don’t be intimidated by the idea of making a coulis! It’s just a thick sauce made of puréed fresh vegetables or fruits. And this coulis even avoids the mess of straining. Just prep, cook, blend and serve.

I used wild Pacific king (chinook) salmon because it’s the richest, most luscious salmon species, making it a perfect match for a low-fat, simple tomato sauce. (King salmon also has the highest omega-3 levels of any wild fish, including other wild salmon)

However, you could enjoy this with whatever wild salmon you happen to have on hand, but reduce the roasting time for sockeye, keta, and silver salmon (which are leaner than king), from 10-12 minutes to 8-10 minutes.

While the sauce takes a few steps to create, it’s very simple and the perfect way to exploit the abundance of summer tomatoes and thyme.

If you’re not a fan of thyme, you can replace it with basil, oregano, savory, or a combination of marjoram and parsley.

Feel free to make sauce while the fish marinates in the refrigerator, then leave it covered and off the heat once it’s blended while you roast the salmon.

King Salmon with Tomato Coulis
Serves 2; easily doubled



  • Parchment paper
  • ½ cup crème fraiche
  • 2 tablespoons country-style Dijon mustard
  • 2 portions wild Pacific king salmon (6 oz each), thawed*
  • 1 tablespoon organic extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 small shallot
  • 1 pound fresh tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, plus sprigs for garnish (you can substitute basil, oregano, savory, or a marjoram/parsley** combo)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh lemon

*Skinless or skin-on portions. If you use skin-on portions and want to remove the skin, it’s easy to slice off after the portions are thawed, using a sharp knife.
**Use 2 teaspoons of marjoram plus 1 teaspoon of parsley to substitute for 2 teaspoons of thyme leaves.


  1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine crème fraiche and Dijon mustard in a lidded glass bowl. Gently and generously coat each salmon piece with the crème fraiche mixture. Cover and refrigerate in the sauce, at least 20 minutes.
  3. To prepare the coulis, mince garlic and shallot and set aside.
  4. Bring a medium pot of water to boil and blanche that tomatoes 10-15 seconds, just long enough for the skin to begin to split.
  5. Cool the tomatoes briefly in a bowl of ice water, then remove them to a cutting board. Core the tomatoes, slip off the peels and halve them across their “equators.”
  6. Using your thumb, gently remove as many seeds as possible from the pockets exposed by halving the tomatoes, then cut into ½-inch pieces.
  7. Heat olive oil over medium-low. Add garlic and shallot and “sweat” for 3-4 minutes, being careful to soften the vegetables without browning them.
  8. Add the tomato pieces and increase the heat to medium-high. Simmer the tomato as they cook down until they’ve formed a thick, reduced sauce, 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  9. Remove tomatoes from the heat, add the thyme leaves, salt and pepper to taste and (carefully) blend to a purée with an immersion blender or traditional blender. Check seasoning again and set aside off the heat until the salmon is done.
  10. Remove the salmon from the refrigerator and gently place on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast for 10-12 minutes, until the marinade has cooked.
  11. Pool a generous serving of sauce on each plate, top with salmon portions, and top with freshly grated lemon zest, garnishing each plate with a few sprigs of fresh thyme if desired.

A Note from Michelle

Like you, I have a passion for beautiful-yet-healthy food that’s easy to prepare. 

While I do love making the occasional "fancy” dinner, most of the time I’m short on time and have a house full of hungry people who want to eat NOW.

I’m not a professional chef – just a busy mom who loves to cook and who’s focused on that intersection of healthy and delicious.

I want this series to feature the products and preparations you’re curious about.

Have a suggestion? Question? Recipe you want me to test?

Email me and help to shape this series.

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