Savour the homemade goodness of this salmon and asparagus gratin. Tender salmon fillets and fresh asparagus spears come together in a creamy cheese sauce, topped with a satisfyingly crunchy layer of cheesy breadcrumbs. And the beauty of it is that this restaurant-quality dish comes together in no time at all and needs just 15 minutes in the oven.
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Easy cheesy salmon and asparagus bake
It’s not often I impress hubby with a fancy dish. His idea of a good meal is meat and 2-veg! But I managed it this time with this delicious salmon and asparagus gratin.
Fresh asparagus is in season at the moment, and there were some lovely salmon fillets on promotion in my local supermarket. So what’s a girl to do? Come up with a recipe to use them of course!
I had great success with my puff pastry asparagus and ham wraps (if you’d like to Google it, it’s on page 1!) so it was a bit of a no-brainer to add some cheese sauce to the mix and turn the salmon and asparagus into a cheesy supper, although I did add a side dish of extra veggies for hubby 🙂
The result exceeded my expectations! The cheese sauce was creamy and delicious, the asparagus was tender (but still had a little bite) and the salmon fillets were perfectly cooked. Hubby’s comment was ‘This is nice, I wouldn’t mind having it again‘!
And it was an absolute breeze to make! I fried off some chopped shallots in butter, then added the stalks of the asparagus (I kept the tender tips and added them later). Then I stirred in some flour and added milk, cream and grated cheese to make a sauce.
Finally, I poured it all into an ovenproof dish, stirred in the asparagus tips and nestled the salmon fillets into the sauce and covered with a mixture of parmesan cheese and panko breadcrumbs. Then it was into the oven for 15 minutes, which was just enough time to cook the salmon to perfection.
Apart from hubby’s extra veg, I decided to serve this salmon and asparagus gratin with a dish of buttery noodles. The cheesy sauce and pieces of asparagus complemented the noodles perfectly.
And the result was amazing – a truly restaurant-quality dish in less time than it would take you to get dressed up for a night out!
Couldn’t be easier.
Let me show you!
What you will need
For making the cheesy sauce you will need a saucepan (I used a frying pan, but only because I wanted the photos to show the steps properly. You will also need an ovenproof baking dish large enough to hold the salmon and asparagus gratin.
This recipe will feed 4 people.
**You can get the complete list of ingredients and full instructions for making salmon and asparagus gratin on the printable recipe card at the end of this post**
Salmon – these are salmon fillets with the skin left on. Leaving the skin on helps hold the salmon together as it cooks. You can easily remove the skin once it has been served onto your plate. You will need one fillet per person – approximately 100 grams (or 3 and a half ounces) each.
Asparagus – fresh asparagus – the stems are cut into short lengths and fried with the shallots, and the tips are stirred into the sauce just before it goes into the oven.
Panko, parmesan cheese and parsley – these are combined to make the crispy cheesy topping. I’ve included a link to panko breadcrumbs I buy on Amazon. These are amazing value for money – much cheaper than buying a packet in the supermarket!
Shallots – I’ve used banana shallots, but you could use the little round ones, or even a small mild onion.
Cheddar cheese – this gets stirred into the sauce. You can use any cheese that melts easily.
Flour – for thickening the sauce. If you are scaling the recipe up you will need one tablespoon of flour for each cup of liquid.
Butter and olive oil – used to fry the shallots and asparagus stalks. It also forms the base for the sauce. A little extra butter is dotted on top of the breadcrumb topping to encourage browning.
Milk and cream – for extra richness I’ve used half milk and half cream. If you are watching your calories you could substitute the cream with extra milk.
Salt – for seasoning and to your own taste.
What to do
Combine finely grated parmesan cheese, Panko breadcrumbs and chopped parsley and set aside. This will be sprinkled on top of the dish before it goes into the oven.
Cut the tips off the asparagus and chop the stems into approximately 2-inch lengths.
Melt the butter in olive oil and stir fry the finely chopped shallots for about 3 minutes on a moderate heat until they start to soften. Don’t let them brown.
Add the chopped asparagus stems and continue to stir fry for another 2 to 3 minutes. The time will depend on the thickness of the asparagus.
Add the flour and stir well to remove any lumps.
Stir in the milk and cream over a moderate heat until thickened.
Add the cheese and stir until it has melted and you have a thick sauce. If the sauce seems too thick you can add another splash of milk but don’t make it too thin – the salmon and asparagus will leak liquid into the sauce when it is in the oven. Taste the sauce and add salt to your own taste.
Stir the asparagus tips into the sauce and then transfer it to an ovenproof dish. Nestle the salmon fillets (skin-side down) into the sauce.
Sprinkle the cheese and breadcrumb mixture over the top of the salmon and sauce, and then dot with a few small pieces of butter.
Bake in a preheated oven (200C/400F) for 15 minutes until the fish is cooked and the breadcrumbs are golden.
Serve hot with your choice of vegetables and a dish of buttered noodles. A fresh green salad also makes a tasty accompaniment.
If you prefer you could serve the salmon and asparagus gratin on a bed of white rice.
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Salmon and asparagus gratin FAQ
This is an easy one. Boil your favourite noodle shapes in salted water according to the package directions. Drain through a colander then return the noodles to the pan and stir through a knob of butter while the noodles are still hot. I like to use a ridged noodle shape so that the butter clings more easily to the noodles. Serve them hot alongside the salmon and spoon the asparagus and cheesy sauce on top of the noodles.
If you would like to freeze the salmon and asparagus gratin, you can freeze it once it has been assembled, but before it goes into the oven. If you intend freezing it, I would recommend assembling the dish in a disposable aluminium container. You can freeze it for up to 3 months. Cook from frozen, but add an extra 7 to 10 minutes to the cooking time.
Yes, you can make this dish to the point where it has been assembled, then cover and refrigerate for a day. Bake as per the recipe instructions.
The stalks of the asparagus are not as tender as the tips, so separating them and frying the stalks with the onions give the stalks a little extra cooking time.
If you are unsure of how to prepare asparagus, see this article on how to prepare asparagus before cooking it.
Save for later
If you would like to try salmon and asparagus gratin for yourself, why not save the recipe to one of your Pinterest boards so you can find it easily? Just click on the image below.
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Other recipes using asparagus
If this recipe isn’t quite what you are looking for, why not take a look at some of my other asparagus recipes?
- Puff pastry asparagus and ham wraps – made with ham and asparagus wrapped in flakey puff pastry with a deliciously cheesy filling.
- Salmon and asparagus parcels with lemon – salmon and asparagus spears, seasoned with herbs, butter and lemon and oven-baked in tinfoil parcels.
Salmon and asparagus gratin
(Click the stars to rate this recipe)
- 1 pound / 450 grams salmon fillets (4 fillets – skin left on)
- ½ pound / 225 grams asparagus ends trimmed
- ½ cup / 30 grams Panko breadcrumbs
- ½ cup / 50 grams finely grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
- 1 cup / 125 grams grated cheddar cheese or any cheese that would melt into a sauce
- ¾ cup / 180 ml milk
- ¾ cup / 180 ml single cream or substitute with milk
- 3 tablespoons / 30 grams flour for thickening
- 1 cup finely chopped shallots about 4 banana shallots
- 1 ounce / 25 grams butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt to taste
- Extra butter for dotting onto the breadcrumbs
- Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F
- Combine finely grated parmesan cheese, Panko breadcrumbs and chopped parsley and set aside. This will be sprinkled on top of the dish before it goes into the oven.½ cup / 30 grams Panko breadcrumbs, ½ cup / 50 grams finely grated parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
- Cut the tips off the asparagus and chop the stems into approximately 2-inch lengths. Keep the stalks and tips separate, they are used at different times in the cooking process.½ pound / 225 grams asparagus
- Melt the butter in olive oil in a pan, and stir fry the finely chopped shallots for about 3 minutes on a moderate heat until they start to soften. Don't let them brown.1 ounce / 25 grams butter, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 cup finely chopped shallots
- Add the chopped asparagus stems and continue to stir fry for another 2 to 3 minutes. The time will depend on the thickness of the asparagus.
- Add the flour and stir well to remove any lumps.3 tablespoons / 30 grams flour
- Add the milk and cream and stir over a moderate heat until thickened.¾ cup / 180 ml milk, ¾ cup / 180 ml single cream
- Add the cheddar cheese and stir until it has melted and you have a thick sauce. If the sauce seems too thick you can add another splash of milk but don't make it too thin – the salmon and asparagus will leak liquid into the sauce when it is in the oven.1 cup / 125 grams grated cheddar cheese
- Taste the sauce and add salt to your own taste.Salt to taste
- Stir the asparagus tips into the sauce and then transfer it all into an ovenproof dish. Nestle the salmon fillets (skin-side down) into the sauce.1 pound / 450 grams salmon fillets
- Sprinkle the cheese and breadcrumb mixture over the top of the salmon and sauce, and then dot with a few small pieces of butter.Extra butter
- Bake in a preheated oven (200C/400F) for 15 minutes until the fish is cooked and the breadcrumbs are golden.
- Serve hot with buttered noodles and your choice of vegetables.
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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