Foil Baked Salmon with Leeks and Bell Peppers

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

The first and most important thing I learned about cooking fish, is that you should only buy the freshest fish you can, and then cook it the day you buy it.

The second most important thing I learned is that salmon can smell up the house if you cook it on the stove-top, so unless you can easily air out your kitchen, it’s best to poach it, or bake it in the oven.

Actually, I learned both tips from my father, who, in spite of being raised in land-locked Minnesota, loves all forms of seafood, and has a keen eye for freshness and high standards when it comes to fish.

Here is a kitchen aroma friendly way to prepare salmon fillets. It’s also incredibly easy and delicious!

In this recipe we prepare julienned bell peppers and thinly sliced leeks, gently cooked in butter and olive oil. Then we create a bed of the cooked peppers and leeks on a large piece of aluminum foil, top it with a salmon fillet, and wrap up the salmon in the foil. Bake it for 10-12 minutes and it’s done!

The salmon cooks in its own juices while the foil makes sure none of the flavor escapes.

Tarragon is especially good with salmon prepared this way, but if you don’t have any you can easily use thyme.

Foil Baked Salmon with Leeks and Bell Peppers Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds of salmon fillets, cut into 4 portions
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large red, yellow, or orange bell peppers, cored and sliced (about 3 cups)
  • 3 medium leeks, cleaned and sliced, white and light green parts only (see How to Clean Leeks)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon (can sub thyme)
  • 4 teaspoons dry vermouth or dry white wine (optional)
  • 4 lemon wedges


1 In a large sauté pan, heat the butter and olive oil on medium heat until the butter is melted and foamy.  Stir in the sliced leeks and bell peppers, sprinkle with salt and dried tarragon, and gently cook until completely soft, 10 to 15 minutes.

2 Preheat oven to 375°F. Prepare 12x12-inch foil pieces for each of the salmon fillets. Portion out the leek and bell pepper mixture evenly onto the centers of each of the foil pieces. Top with a salmon fillet. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Sprinkle each fillet with a teaspoon of dry vermouth or white wine if using. Fold up the foil packets to allow some room over the salmon, but seal so that steam is not allowed to escape. (There are many ways to fold the foil, do which ever way works best for you!)

3 Place the salmon filled foil packets on a baking sheet and  place in the oven in the middle rack. Bake until the salmon is just cooked through, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Sprinkle with lemon juice to serve or serve with lemon wedges.

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Salmon Baked in Foil

Showing 4 of 12 Comments

  • Janet Campbell

    thank you again this salmon is so good…

  • Dan

    I was looking for a salmon recipe and came across this one. I had never cooked with leeks before (and I’m a little embarrassed by the fact that I had to Google them to see what they were similar to), so thanks for the link to the leek cleaning guide. I added mushrooms and garlic to the vegetable mix and it turned out wonderful. Leeks are definitely being added to the standard rotation.

  • Shawna

    I need some helpful suggestions with this recipe. Can I use salmon steaks instead of fillets? Would it change the cook times?
    I bought salmon steaks and I don’t know what to do with them or how to cook them.
    Also thank you for including the link for cleaning leeks, I have never cooked with them before either :)

  • Becky

    Great idea to use leeks. Here is my own recipe that I made up for baking salmon, using onions and bell peppers with salmon. I will make it the same, but replace onion with leeks. Cut up leeks into small pieces and slice bell peppers thin (prefer the mini bell peppers). Put on top of the fish. Salt fish. Squeeze slice lemon on top of fish.Put either butter or olive oil on top, sprinkle parsley. Cook about 20 minutes at 325 degrees. Add slice swiss cheese until melted. Eat fish with fish sauce

  • franky

    Nice recipe.

    I prefer to cook salmon browned, on the stove top, but yes fish smells can be nasty. However, there’s a very simple method to get rid of nasty fish smells.

    Food odors, on the pH scale, are basic. Therefore, counteract with acid.

    I buy the largest cheapest vinegar from Walmart, Simmer/boil 1/4-cup vinegar with 1/4-cup water. Yes the kitchen will smell of vinegar but after 10-15 minutes, no more vinegar smells and more importantly no more fish smells :)

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