Mom's Salmon Packet

Friday, September 15th

I want to take this Dinner with Jon and acknowledge the influence my Mother had on my development as a cook and a chef. Her tutelage has lasted throughout my adult life and career in food service.

Now, understand that we had no electricity when I was a kid. We lived up a river canyon in NE Oregon. Mom, understandably, had to be creative and pragmatic in the way she prepared our daily and nightly meals. She became a Master of Cooking Over an Open Fire.

Here is her recipe for what she deemed the “Salmon Packet”. It’s simple and straightforward and delicious! It’s not absolutely necessary to cook this in the coals of a fire, by the way!

You’ll need:

  • 1 Good sized salmon filet
  • 1 Small sized onion
  • 1 Lemon
  • Butter
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Optional ingredients/spices:

  • Garlic
  • Dill
  • Capers


  1. Lay out 2 sheets of tinfoil.
  2. Put 2 small pats of butter directly on the tinfoil and season them with a small amount of the salt and pepper. You can also put some onion slices under the filet as well.
  3. Next, lay the filet directly on top of the butter and spices combo. Once you’ve done that, thinly slice some more onion and the lemon. Place these on the fish and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Lastly, place 2 more pats of butter on top of the filet/onion/lemon combo. Seal the packet by rolling the seam very well. It’s important that none of the steam escapes!

If you are lacking a campfire and a shovel to move the coals around, you can put the packet on a cookie sheet in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees. Leave it there for at least 25 minutes or until it feels firm to the touch when you press on it.

Be careful opening the packet as the steam can burn you! Pair the fish with a nice arugula salad mix from Aldrich’s salad bar and some Powers Viognier 2015 from Columbia Valley from our wine section.
I’ll be sharing more from Marie’s table in future recipes. Remind me to tell you the story about how she rose at 2:30 am to start a fire for a full course Thanksgiving Dinner!

Bon Apetit, Jon