Have you ever played the Barefoot Contessa drinking game? One drink for every time she asks, “How easy is that?”, two for each time she mentions Jeffrey (that lucky dog), social for any time she implores you to use only “really good (insert expensive ingredient here)”. It’s a fabulous game.

By the end, you are tipsy as a Hamptons housewife at a clam bake. You are also starving from all the delectable dishes taunting you on the screen. And, you may or may not be sporting a sweater draped over your shoulders at this stage in the game.

Oh, Ina, I joke because I love. (And because I am secretly envious of your BMW convertible, Pottery Barn kitchen, and herb garden the size of my apartment.)

In all seriousness, I do adore many of the Barefoot Contessa’s recipes. They are classic dishes that any domestic-goddess-in-training needs to know, wholesome home-cooking with a French slant. Things like roast chicken and brownies from scratch…or roasted fish in a creamy mustard sauce.

This is one of my favorite Ina recipes. It is a staple in my weeknight dinner rotation because it is incredibly easy to make, ready in 15 minutes, full of flavor, and healthy. I’ve made some adaptations to her original recipe, swapping out red snapper for salmon, and substituting yogurt in place of crème fraiche. I prefer salmon because I think the flavor works well with the creaminess of the yogurt and the tang of the mustard and capers. I choose yogurt over crème fraiche because it has all the flavor you need without the fat, it’s much cheaper, plus I always have some yogurt in my fridge.

Turnip slice

Turnip slice

For this particular weeknight supper (I feel like Ina would have called it “supper”), I served the salmon with a side of turnip gratin and a lovely salad of wheat berries, kale, and cranberries from Whole Foods. Dare I say, I think the Contessa would have approved.

Salmon with Creamy Mustard Sauce

Yield: Serves 4


  • 4 (8-ounce) salmon fillets
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
  • 2 teaspoons capers, rinsed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped dill for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Line a sheet pan or baking dish with parchment paper. Place the fish fillets skin side down on the sheet pan. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Combine the yogurt, mustards, and capers in a small bowl. Spoon the sauce evenly over the fish fillets, making sure the fish is completely covered.
  4. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, until it's barely done. You can tell the fish is done if it flakes away easily when prodded with the tines of a fork.