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Salmon fillets with Scandinavian pickled cucumbers and dill dressing

Diana Henry / 14 August 2013

Easy, quick and delicious. Try this recipe for salmon fillets with Scandinavian style pickled cucumbers and creamy dill dressing.

Salmon fillets with cream and dill sauce and quick pickled cucumber
Salmon fillets with cream and dill sauce and quick pickled cucumber. Photograph by Laura Edwards, food styling by Joss Herd.

Cooking time

10-15 minutes




For the Scandinavian-style salmon fillets and dressing:

  • 25g (1oz) unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, very finely chopped
  • 100ml (3½fl oz) double cream
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • 1½ tbsp chopped dill
  • 2 tsp oil sunflower
  • 2 x 175g-200g (6-7oz) salmon fillets

For the Scandinavian quick pickled cucumber:

  • ¼ large cucumber, finely sliced
  • ½ tbsp flaked sea salt
  • ½ tbsp rice vinegar
  • ¾ tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill


For the Scandinavian pickled cucumber

First, make the Scandinavian pickled cucumber dressing. If you’re going to serve the cucumber immediately, you don’t need to salt it. Otherwise do – or the water leaches out and dilutes the lovely dressing.

Layer the cucumber in a colander with the salt, weigh down with a plate and leave for 2 hours. Rinse and dry the cucumber gently. Mix with the vinegar and caster sugar.

Add the dill and toss together just before serving.

For the dressing

Melt 10g (just under half) of the butter in a small saucepan and sauté the shallot until soft but not coloured. Add the cream and bring to the boil; stir in the mustard, seasoning and lemon juice and pull off the heat. The cream will thicken immediately you add the lemon juice, so don’t add too much. If you overdo it and the sauce thickens too much, just add a little water.

Add the dill and taste to see if you need to adjust anything.

For the salmon fillets

Heat the oil and the remaining butter in a frying pan. Season the salmon all over and cook over a medium-high heat, skin side down first, for 1½-2 minutes or until the skin is golden and almost crispy. Turn the fillets over and cook for another 1½-2 minutes on the other side. Cook for about 30 seconds on each of the other two sides.

Turn the heat down, cover the pan and leave the salmon until cooked through but still moist – it will cook in the steam created by the moisture in the pan. How long this takes depends on the thickness and weight of your salmon fillets, but we're talking a matter of minutes. You can check by poking the tip of a sharp knife into the thickest bit of flesh – the flesh shouldn’t look glassy.

Add the dill to the pickled cucumber and toss everything together then reheat the sauce. Serve the salmon with the sauce and the cucumber.

Try one of our other salmon recipes, such as gin-cured salmon, roast salmon with potatoes and blueberry-glazed salmon.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.