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Salmon with Basil Aioli

For many years now (since I discovered my love of salmon), my preference has been to season it with lemon and dill. Until I was browsing through an old issue of Bon Appetit (see, I really am keeping my commitment to go through my unreasonably-large magazine stash!) and found a recipe for Grilled Salmon with Basil Aioli. I filed it away in my "to make" column.

Aioli (pronounced ay-oh-lee) is a French sauce made of egg yolk, garlic and oil. It is often flavored with herbs. It is an emulsion, a mixture of two substances that are, in most cases, unmixable. 

I'd never heard of aioli until I worked as an assistant pastry chef at a local fine dining restaurant. They served The Best Crab Cakes EVER with aioli sauce. That aioli sauce, as well as the one below, take a shortcut by starting with another emulsion: mayonnaise. If you would like to make the emulsion completely from scratch, see the original recipe at Bon Appetit's site. 

The combination of salmon, lemon and basil is delicious. This recipe will make regular appearances on our table. It's so easy to prepare and cooks quickly. It's not the healthiest, but we try balance healthy and indulgent meals. 

Salmon with Basil Aioli
Slightly adapted from Bon Appetit
Yield: 6 servings


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoon fresh basil, chiffonade
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 lbs salmon fillet
  • Olive oil for brushing


  1. In a small mixing bowl, thoroughly whisk the mayonnaise, basil, garlic, salt, Worcestershire sauce, red wine vinegar, water, and lemon juice. 
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a sheet pan with tin foil and spray with nonstick spray. 
  3. Brush salmon with olive oil and bake for 12 to 18 minutes, until the fish is opaque and flakes easily. 
  4. Cut salmon into six portions. Serve with a spoonful of the aioli sauce. 

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