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Grilled Salmon with Lemon-Pepper Butter

Salmon has hearty, firm flesh that makes it an excellent choice for grilling. Mix softened butter with lemon zest, garlic, and plenty of black pepper, then chill. When you’re ready to grill the fish, give it a simple seasoning of salt, pepper, and vegetable oil. After about 10 minutes on the grill, the salmon will have crispy skin and a moist interior ready to be topped with a pat of the flavorful butter.


• 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature

• 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (from about 2 medium lemons), zested lemons reserved

• 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic (from about 2 medium cloves)

• 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed

• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, more as needed

• 4 (6-ounce) skin-on salmon fillets

• Vegetable oil, as needed


Place the butter in a medium bowl and mash it with a rubber spatula until it’s very spreadable. Add the zest, garlic, and measured salt and pepper and mix until thoroughly combined. Transfer the butter mixture to a sheet of plastic wrap. Shape it into a log by rolling it up in the plastic wrap, then twist the ends and fold under to seal. Place in the refrigerator to harden before using, at least 30 minutes. Cut the zested lemons in half and set them aside.

Heat a grill pan or outdoor grill to medium high (about 375°F to 425°F). Pat the salmon dry with paper towels. Coat both sides of the fillets with oil and season generously with salt & pepper. When the grill is ready, rub the grates with a towel dipped in the vegetable oil. Place the salmon on the grill skin-side down, cover the grill, and cook about 2 to 3 minutes. Using a flat spatula, carefully flip the fillets over. Place the reserved lemons cut-side down on the grill. Cover the grill and continue to cook until the salmon is just opaque in the center and the lemons have grill marks, about 2 to 4 minutes more. To serve, cut 4 (1/4- to 1/2-inch-thick) rounds of the lemonpepper butter. Immediately place a round on top of each piece of fish and serve with the grilled lemon halves.