Breaking with Tradition

By / Food / December 2nd, 2013 / 1

Christmas is in the air. My family is Eastern European, so we probably celebrate a bit different than some. For instance, everything happens on Christmas Eve, while Christmas Day we rest. Yes, we still have a Christmas tree and keep the tradition of Santa alive for everyone (he is real, you know), but there are some subtle differences. For example, Santa comes during the Christmas Eve post-dinner; his jolly old self storms into the house and hands out presents to everyone. On the flip side, that means we get to sleep in the next morning.

Before all this happens, the fun for me is just getting started: dinner. (Or better called the feast.) Christmas Eve is always a fast for us, which means no meat. But that doesn’t stop us from eating like kings. You can expect to find a wide variety of herring available. Who knew you could have five types in one sitting? There are also spectacular sides of vegetables and salads. The star, though, is always fish. A classic whole white fish stuffed with salt, pepper, lemon, parsley and butter. After many years of the same old dish, last year, I was asked to change it up a bit, and I gladly accepted the challenge. There is a lot of pressure-cooking for the main course, but I was more than willing to give it a try. So I embarked on a journey to update the boring old fish dish, and based on the reviews, I succeeded. Welcome the new star of Christmas Eve dinner, horseradish salmon!

The key to this dish is the fresh horseradish, but be warned it does burn the eyes a bit during prep. The flavour it produces is ten times better than the pre-made stuff. Also, before your guests go running for the hills, let them know the taste mellows out while baking. Here’s to new traditions.

Horseradish Salmon

Rating: 51

Serves: 4


  • 450 g salmon fillet, skin optional (divided into 4 equal pieces)
  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated horseradish (in the produce section of most larger supermarkets)
  • 1/4 cup parsley, freshly chopped (divided into 2)
  • 4 tbsp mustard (whole grain or Dijon)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 325?F. Preheat an ovenproof frying pan on the stove over medium heat.
  2. Mix breadcrumbs, butter, horseradish and half the parsley in a bowl to combine.
  3. Pat dry salmon (if the skin is on, place skin-side down), season with salt and pepper and spread 1 tbsp of mustard on the top of each piece . Evenly divide horseradish mixture between each piece of salmon.
  4. Add olive oil to a frying pan. Place salmon in the pan with horseradish up and space evenly. Leave on stovetop for 45 seconds (double if using skin-on).
  5. Place pan in oven for 15 minutes or till salmon is firm to the touch (time will depend on salmon thickness).

Drink Suggestion:

Serve with a vibrant Viognier or stinging Riesling.

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