The Creamy Topping That Prevents Roast Salmon From Drying Out

If you've ever roasted your own salmon, you know the importance of keeping the fish moist. You ultimately want to make a tender and juicy meal — rather than serve up salmon that's hard and dried out. Overcooking is a common pitfall in roasting salmon that can cause the fish to turn tough. However, one of the best ways to maintain moisture actually has nothing to do with baking time, but rather what it is cooked with.

The addition of crème fraîche should be more than enough to keep your fish perfectly moist. Creamier and less tangy than sour cream, crème fraîche works wonders when added to salmon. As for why, exactly, the spread does the trick, it's a matter of texture. Unlike other fats — we're looking at you, oil — crème fraîche is more inclined to stay on the salmon. It offers both a richer flavor and better consistency and covers your bases before the fish has had the chance to dry out. 

Before you start divvying up your crème fraîche, there are a few things to keep in mind. It's easy to apply this trick to your own recipes, but you'll want to pay extra attention to adding crème fraîche before the fish hits the oven. 

Add crème fraîche before roasting your fish

To maintain moisture in your fish, it's important to add crème fraîche prior to adding any heat. Simply line out your salmon across your baking dish and add your preferred seasonings. But don't stop with just salt and pepper. You'll want to spread a dollop of crème fraîche directly over your salmon pieces. Only once your fish has been coated should you put the tray in the oven. 

Adding the creamy spread preemptively helps your fish keep its moisture throughout its baking. Once you have success with this trick, you can get even more experimental and make your own crème fraîche. All you need is buttermilk, heavy cream, and some citric acid, and over-baked salmon won't stand a chance. Many recipes also incorporate crème fraîche with lemon as a final sauce as it complements the flavors of salmon and adds brightness to the dish.