Recipe: Parmesan and Herb Crusted Salmon with Roasted Broccoli

Cary, NC — This recipe has become the one I’m known for. It all started just over two years ago when I had invited over the woman I was dating for our first meal at my place. I knew it needed to be something fresh, something healthy, something impressive — but also something that I couldn’t screw up.

I had spent hours diving into blog posts and trying to find the perfect dinner, and as luck would have it, I did. I still make it regularly for both of us more than two years since that night. Now I’m not saying this is the magic food of romance, but hey, worth a shot!

Starting with ingredients, as long as you keep a decently stocked spice rack, the beauty of this dinner is you will likely only need to purchase 3 or 4 items from the store. Check out the recipe notes below for tips on the type of salmon I recommend and how to adapt the recipe for your gluten-free and dairy-free friends. 



  • A few heads of broccoli crowns, chopped into bite-size pieces. Aim for 1-2 lbs. depending on the number of people you’re cooking for
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt and black pepper


  • (6 oz) skinless salmon fillets, get one for each person eating

Mix in One Bowl:

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice (zest lemon first)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Mix in a Second Bowl:

  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil

Okay, deep breath. That seems like a lot, but just take it one step at a time.


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Get your rimmed baking sheet or stone ready to go! For a quick and easy clean up you can use aluminum foil.
  2. Place broccoli in a mound in the center of the baking sheet. Pour olive oil over broccoli along with garlic and toss to evenly coat.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste and spread near edges of the baking sheet, leaving enough space in the center to fit salmon fillets.
  4. Salmon time! Put those bad boys front and center with about 3/4 inch between each fillet so they cook nice and evenly.

    Note: Skin. It can be gross or, for some people, they love it. I used to have the grocery store butcher cut the skin off for me, but a lot of the time I would be paying for the full weight with the skin on and some of the meat would get taken off by them in the process. So, now I put the salmon, skin and all, right on the pan and after cooking, the fish is so tender that you can use a spatula to separate the fish meat from the skin, making it easy to toss the skin out and enjoy the good stuff.

  5. In a small bowl whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice and garlic and brush on top of each fillet. Consistency should be similar to a paste. If it appears runny, add more mayo. Season top with salt and pepper.
  6. In a mixing bowl whisk together parmesan, bread crumbs, parsley, lemon zest and thyme, then drizzle 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil into the bowl and stir with a fork until evenly moistened. Spread the mixture evenly over tops of salmon fillets. Getting hungry yet? YUM!

  7. Bake in your preheated oven until salmon fillets have cooked through, about 12 – 15 minutes (for a more golden crust you can broil during the last 1 – 2 minutes of baking if needed).

Recipe Notes & Tips:

  • The Salmon: When getting your ingredients, I recommend purchasing farm-raised salmon versus wild Alaskan. This is up to preference, but the reasons I like it best is the flavor is less “fishy,” they are generally a few bucks cheaper and it results in a nice color and pulls apart with ease.
  • The Broccoli: Skip the frozen aisle and get fresh! It makes a difference! Also, if you like your broccoli more browned and roasted, then let it roast for 5 minutes, then remove from oven and spread to edges before adding salmon to the sheet pan. If you like it crisp-tender and slightly roasted, then no pre-roasting needed.
  • The pan dilemma: If you make this for 2 or 3 people, all ingredients should fit on one pan, but if cooking for more people or if you’ve just gotten a lot of broccoli, don’t fret. Bake your salmon on one pan and the broccoli on another. 

Gluten and Dairy Free Adaptations

  • My better half has gone gluten-free and dairy-free since I first made the dish and we equally love the taste when I make the adapted version.
  • For dairy-free folks, just take out the parmesan and double-check that your mayonnaise doesn’t contain any milk products. Most will contain egg but no milk.
  • For gluten-free folks, swap out your bread crumbs for GF bread crumbs or chopped up nuts. We’ve found pistachios and cashews work very well.

Giving this a try? Share!

Please enjoy and don’t be shy! We want to see how it all works out, so share your photos and experiences with us on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook and tag @FoodCary.

Recipe and photos by Ashley Kairis.