Béchamel sauce, more commonly known as 'white sauce' in the American kitchens is one of the classic mother sauces in French cuisine. It is the magic ingredient in creamy casseroles, baked macaroni, and savory soufflés. It lends any dish a luxurious, creamy texture without throwing in gobs of cheese. It can also be dressed it up into a pasta sauce with a little extra liquid and some herbs. Traditionally, this sauce is made with flour-butter-roux and hot milk and flavored with nutmeg. There are multiple ways in which this versatile sauce can be combined with other ingredients.

Usually, when I am in a hurry, and not sure what to make for dinner, I opt for salmon. Most of the time, I either grill/bake salmon with different types of sauces or pan-sear it. Tonight I decided to try something new, so I cooked salmon in the decadent bechamel sauce but added a secret ingredient too, fresh basil from my little garden and boy did it work! It was magic, the salmon was juicy, all soaked in the creamy white sauce and the tomatoes and basil added to the deliciousness.


For a great salmon recipe to happen, the most important thing is to buy the best quality salmon. For optimum results, you don't want the salmon to sit in your refrigerator for longer than 2 days. If using frozen ones, thaw the salmon completely before seasoning. Although salmon is quite simple to cook it is very easy to go wrong with it. If you overcook salmon, it loses its naturally smooth texture, if you don't cook it adequately, it would increase your risk of foodborne illness. Different varieties of salmon have different cooking times. I have used Atlantic salmon here. Make sure to check the cooking instructions whenever cooking salmon or any other fish. 


The key to this recipe is the bechamel sauce. Follow the instructions to make the best bechamel sauce ever! If you don't like the aroma of nutmeg, or you don't have it at your disposal, just skip it. The sauce would still taste great. Season with herbs of your choice, if you prefer. If you have prepared the bechamel sauce in advance, you can make this recipe in a matter of minutes. While it is great on a weeknight, it is equally good for entertaining guests. Try this recipe and you will never feel like having your salmon in any other way.


Is bechamel sauce same as cheese sauce?

No, bechamel sauce is made with flour-butter-roux and hot milk but cheese sauce is usually made by reducing half and half or light cream, then adding grated cheese along with some salt and pepper.

Is bechamel sauce gluten-free?

No, bechamel sauce is not gluten-free. However, if you wish to thicken your bechamel sauce without flour simply reduce the heat to low and simmer the sauce while stirring. This allows evaporation to reduce and thicken the sauce, though it will take longer.

Can I use cornflour instead of flour in my bechamel sauce?

Yes, cornflour can be used as a substitute for flour but the sauce will be much lighter in consistency. If you are using cornflour, take the pan with the butter off the heat, add the cornflour, and stir until smooth.

Can the salmon be baked instead of pan searing?

Sure. If you are in a hurry or not in a mood to chop tomatoes and shallots, just bake the salmon and pour the bechamel sauce on it. Top with basil and chili flakes. That would work wonders too!


You can serve it with pasta, rice or steamed/roasted veggies, or cauliflower rice. I like it with garlic bread to soak up the last bit of the creamy sauce.


This recipe is so delicious that I am sure you will not have leftovers. If you do have some leftover, store in the refrigerator in an airtight container and consume within a day. You can however store the bechamel sauce safely for up to 4 days. Cool the sauce completely andplace a piece of cling film directly in contact with the surface of the sauce before refrigerating it so that the oxidation process is slowed down.

Looking for a baked salmon recipe?

Check out the super easy Baked Salmon.
salmon, bechamel sauce, white sauce, french, new recipe idea, tasty
Yield: 3
Author: The GradChef


Soft, melt-in-your mouth salmon in creamy bechamel sauce.
Prep time: 5 MCook time: 30 MTotal time: 35 M


Béchamel sauce
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg powder
Salmon in the sauce
  • 1 pound salmon fillet (skinless) cut into 3 pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Béchamel sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 plum tomato diced
  • 1 small onion or 2 medium shallots, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 5-6 basil leaves chopped
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • salt to taste
  • freshly ground pepper


  1. For the sauce, melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add flour and stir until smooth. Stir constantly until it turns into light golden color.
  2. In another small pan, heat milk until just boiling. Slowly add hot milk to the butter-flour mixture. Whisk vigorously until smooth. Bring to a boil and cook for another 7-8 minutes. Add salt and nutmeg. The sauce is now ready.
  3. Season the salmon fillet on both sides with salt, paprika, and pepper.
  4. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and sear the salmon fillet for 3 minutes on each side, or until cooked. Remove and set aside.
  5. Melt butter in the same pan and add the garlic, fry until fragrant.
  6. Add the onion and continue frying. Pour in the white wine, and allow it to reduce slightly.
  7. Add the tomatoes and cook until a little mushy.
  8. Pour in the bechamel sauce and let it simmer. Stir occasionally and adjust the seasonings.
  9. Add the salmon back into the pan; sprinkle with the chopped basil, and spoon the sauce over each filet.
  10. Cover and cook for about 2 mins.


You can use chicken stock instead of white wine. You can substitute salmon with Trout or Cod.

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The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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