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Hard Cider Poached Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce

This recipe has been making the rounds with the staff at Grapevine Cottage recently – at least four of us have made it, along with one customer. And no wonder – it can be ready in 20 minutes or so, and for such a small investment in time, the payoff is quite rewarding!

Serves 4


1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
4 salmon filets
1 cup (240 ml) hard cider
1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream (substitute coconut milk if desired)
3 tablespoons dill, chopped, reserving a couple of pinches for garnishoing this while you do the sauce and eggs)


Preheat the oven to 475°F. Melt the butter in an ovenproof skillet (e.g, cast iron) over moderate heat. After the butter has stopped foaming, add the shallots and cook until softened, about three minutes.

While the shallots are cooking, season the flesh of the salmon fillets with salt and pepper. Place them on top of the shallots, then pour in the hard cider and bring it to a simmer.  After the cider has begun to simmer, transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the flesh is cooked through.

Remove the skillet from the oven and transfer the salmon to a plate while you make the sauce. Cover it with foil or a lid to keep it warm.

Put the skillet back on the stove over medium heat and add a splash of cider to deglaze the pan if necessary. Whisk in the cream (or coconut milk) and dill and simmer until the mixture reduces and thickens, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. 

To serve, place the salmon back on the sauce in the pan or serve on individual plates, pouring the sauce over the fish and garnishing with the reserved dill.

Recipe from

Notes: The Pilton hard cider we sell at the store works well with this dish, and you still have 500ml left over to drink with dinner. Jim Bandy substituted a fruity white wine with good results; since unoaked Chardonnay often has apple flavors, that would probably be a good choice.

Jim served his salmon with steamed green beans and tomatoes Provençal. I’ve paired it with risotto and asparagus on the side and on top of homemade egg noodles. You’ll want to have some way to mop up the extra sauce!  — Mark Finch