Salmon with Fish Sauce Glaze

This deeply flavorful roasted salmon is served with an aromatic sweet-savory fish sauce glaze accented with lemongrass and shallots.

Salmon with Fish Sauce Glaze

Frederick Hardy II / Food Styling by Melissa Gray / Prop Styling by Christina Brockman

Active Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
50 mins
4 servings
4 salmon fillets, about 1 cup sauce

This roasted salmon recipe takes direct inspiration from the Vietnamese dish cá kho tộ, or catfish in a clay pot with fish sauce caramel (known as nước màu). Gently roasting the salmon results in a super tender texture. The glaze is seasoned with lemongrass, shallots, and garlic. Adding cornstarch to the sauce turns it into a glaze; if you don’t have cornstarch on hand, the sauce will be less of a glaze and have more of a caramel consistency. Whatever you choose, it’s delicious. 

The recipe comes together in less than an hour but if you make the sauce ahead of time, it can be on the table in less than 30 minutes, making it perfect for a weeknight dinner but also elegant enough to serve at a dinner party. While the recipe calls for a braiser, it can also be cooked in a Dutch oven or Vermicular Musui-Kamado. Lime wedges and cilantro add brightness and fresh herbal notes. Serve the salmon alongside a steaming pile of rice and drizzle the sauce on top. It is also delicious with fried rice or vegetable stir-fry.


  • 2 1/2 tablespoons canola oil, divided

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot (from 1 small shallot)

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic (from 4 medium garlic cloves)

  • 2 teaspoons thinly sliced lemongrass (from 1 [3-inch] stalk)

  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce (such as Squid)

  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 3/4 cup, plus 1 tablespoon water, divided

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, divided

  • 4 (6 - 8-ounce) skin-on salmon fillets or steelhead trout fillets

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal)

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

  • Roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves

  • 1 medium lime, cut into wedges


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons of the oil in a small saucepan over medium until shimmering. Add shallot, garlic, and lemongrass; cook, stirring constantly, until softened, 1 to 2 minutes, adjusting heat as needed to prevent overbrowning. Add brown sugar, fish sauce, crushed red pepper, 3/4 cup of the water, and 1/2 teaspoon of the black pepper. Increase heat to medium-high, and bring to a simmer, stirring to help sugar dissolve. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture is reduced by one-quarter (about 1 cup), 8 to 12 minutes; adjust heat as needed to maintain a simmer.

  2. Pat salmon dry using a paper towel. Sprinkle evenly with salt and remaining 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.

  3. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch braiser over medium until shimmering. Add salmon, skin side down. Pour 1/2 cup fish sauce mixture over salmon, reserving remaining mixture for later. Cover braiser, and transfer to oven. Bake in preheated oven until salmon is just cooked and an instant-read thermometer registers 110°F to 125°F, 8 to 10 minutes.

  4. Transfer salmon to a platter using a fish spatula; add reserved fish sauce mixture to braiser. Whisk together cornstarch and remaining 1 tablespoon water. Whisk cornstarch mixture into fish sauce mixture in braiser; bring to a boil over medium, whisking often. Cook, whisking constantly, over medium until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes.

  5. Spoon and spread thickened fish sauce mixture over fish. Garnish with cilantro; serve with lime wedges and any remaining fish sauce mixture.

Make Ahead

Reduced (but not yet thickened) fish sauce mixture may be kept in an airtight container in refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.

Related Articles