July 13, 2022

If you’re looking for a healthy and simple meal that’s packed with flavor, honey mustard roasted salmon could fit the bill. By combining tender fish with a vibrant basil vinaigrette and flavorful pearl couscous ragout, you’ll end up with a well-balanced meal that makes the most of the summer bounty of tomatoes and basil.

Escoffier Chef Instructor Scott Cohen calls on his 40+ years of cooking experience to provide some helpful tips and tricks so you can learn how to make honey mustard roasted salmon.

How to Make Honey Mustard Roasted Salmon

A few ingredients combine to form a sweet and tangy honey mustard dressing that accents the salmon without overpowering its delicate flavor. The salmon only takes about five minutes to cook, so prepare the basil vinaigrette dressing and ragout before placing the fish in the oven.


  • 2 oz honey
  • 1 oz Dijon mustard
  • 1 oz grainy mustard
  • 6 oz Atlantic salmon
  • 1 oz olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Turn your oven broiler on to preheat.
  2. Combine the mustards and honey in a medium bowl then mix well.
  3. Brush a baking sheet with olive oil. Then lay the salmon fillets on the pan, skin side down. Brush the top of the filets with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the salmon in the preheated oven for two minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and then brush the salmon fillets with the honey mustard. Return the salmon to the oven to cook for two more minutes.
  6. Once again remove the salmon from the oven, brush with honey mustard, and return to the oven. Cook for two to three more minutes. The salmon is done when the center is firm and light pink.

How to Make a Basil Vinaigrette

Red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, and basil combine to form a bright vinaigrette that pairs well with the sweetened honey mustard salmon.

Chef pouring oil from a glass bottle into a metal bowl


  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 basil leaves, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tsp olive oil


  1. Whisk together the vinegar, mustard, basil, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.
  2. Slowly add the olive oil while whisking well until the mixture forms an emulsion.

How to Make Tomato and Pearl Couscous Ragout

This quick side dish combines pearl couscous, also known as Israeli couscous, with tomatoes, shallots, garlic, and basil. You can use either heirloom cherry tomatoes or sliced tomatoes for a burst of flavor.


  • 3 oz pearl couscous, cooked al dente
  • 2 oz heirloom tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tsp chopped basil
  • ½ tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp shallot
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 oz olive oil


  1. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the tomatoes, garlic, and shallots, and then cook until soft.
  2. Add the cooked couscous then stir until combined. Turn down the heat to low then cook for five minutes, stirring a few times.
  3. Remove from heat, add the basil, and season with salt and pepper.

Tips and Tricks for Making the Dish Shine

Although this dish has three separate components, each element contains only a handful of ingredients. While this may lead you to think the dish is simple, implementing a few tricks from Chef Cohen can help create a finished product that’s vibrant in both flavor and texture.

Cook the Couscous Al Dente

Despite its name, pearl couscous isn’t related to couscous. Instead, it’s a type of pasta! Like any type of pasta, overcooking can lead to an unpleasant, mushy texture.

To achieve an al dente result, cook the dried couscous for nine to ten minutes. Once the pasta is done cooking, pour it into a colander and then stop the cooking process by dousing the couscous with cold running water. At this point, the couscous is ready to be combined with the other ragout ingredients and simmered for five minutes.

Create Fine Basil Strips

Although you can tear or mince the basil, cutting it into narrow strips helps create an elegant appearance. This knife technique is known as a chiffonade.

Chef Cohen shares that his go-to method for cutting basil involves stacking and rolling the leaves. Begin by stacking four to six basil leaves on top of each other and then roll the leaves up into a tight tube. Next, use a sharp knife to cut the tube of basil into narrow strips.

Start with Fresh Ingredients

Since this recipe relies on a few simple ingredients, it’s essential that you choose high-quality options.

When it comes time to select tomatoes for the ragout, look for heirloom varieties that are packed with flavor. Chef Cohen says to look for tomatoes that have ripened on the vine for the best flavor. Ripe tomatoes will be tender to the touch and exhibit a bright color and juicy interior once sliced.

As Escoffier students discover during the Farm to Table experience, talking directly with farmers is one way to explore local produce and find the best-tasting options.

Escoffier student wearing a red and white shirt smiling outside

Explore New Flavors and Techniques in Culinary School

With the help of Chef Cohen’s tips as well as your fresh, flavorful ingredients, you’re ready to create honey mustard roasted salmon! After practicing making this recipe and dining on the results, you may find yourself interested in experimenting with other techniques.

Escoffier’s Culinary Arts programs offer students the opportunity to practice working with a variety of tools and ingredients, all under the guidance of talented Chef Instructors like Chef Cohen. And since we offer programs in-person as well as online cooking classes, enrolling in culinary school may be more attainable than you imagined.

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