Lime Butter Salmon

I’ve read a bit about compound butter. It’s an interesting idea but seems like a lot of work for something you can neither use right away or keep around for an extended period of time. I found this amazing Lime Butter Sauce (to be used on this Grilled Salmon with Lime Butter Sauce) which seems to be taking the good parts of compound butter – being butter with stuff in it to make it better – without all of the… (dare I say “smooshing”?) effort and time.

Really really amazing.


  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted

The first time I made this I actually thought it was supposed to be compound butter so I used softened butter in the mini food processor and wondered how you’re supposed to get the liquid to blend in. Then I read closer and saw that it’s melted butter. So much easier! In fact you can be lazy and skip the food processor altogether if you chop the garlic well enough.

Purée garlic with lime juice, salt, and pepper in a blender until smooth. With motor running, add melted butter and blend until emulsified, about 30 seconds.

Well they say blender, not food processor, but I’d feel silly making butter in my smoothie maker…

Then for the salmon:


  • 6 (6-oz) pieces center-cut salmon fillet (about 1 inch thick) with skin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lime zest
  • 6 tablespoons lime butter sauce

I always wonder who these recipes are written for. Who cooks six pieces of salmon at a time? If I had that many people to feed I don’t think I could afford to feed them all salmon. At least it divides easily.

First thing I skip the zest. You have to be really convincing to get me to mutilate a poor piece of citrus fruit so that I can… eat it’s skin. Is that weird or what?

Actually the real reason is because I keep bottles of (good) lemon and lime juice in the fridge at all times, but I’d have to plan ahead to need fresh fruit to zest otherwise it would go bad on my counter waiting for its day. Then once you’ve zested it’s definitely going bad unless you have a use for the rest of the fruit right then and there.

Season salmon all over with salt and pepper, then grill…

I use the George Forman grill so all the instructions on flipping aren’t relevant. I’ve always had trouble with my fish sticking to the grill (fine for the skin because it peels it off but bad for the top) but I found if I keep the fish well olive-oiled and keep watch it will brown nicely without sticking.

Sprinkle fillets with zest and top each with 1 tablespoon lime butter sauce.

Sockeye salmon is supposed to be the most flavorful on its own and works really well in this recipe. This is served with some red mashed potatoes, skins on, with sour cream. Even if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t like the foods on your plate to touch, you’ll want to let the lime butter run into the mashed potatoes while you eat them… or just go all the way and poor the leftover butter on the potatoes themselves.

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