Oh, salmon, how I love thee. Let’s count the ways: you’re delicious, nutritious, and super versatile. You can be pan-fried, grilled, smoked, or baked. And, let’s face it, who couldn’t use an extra dose of omega-3 fatty acids in their life? So, if you’re a baking beginner and looking to up your salmon game, we’ve got you covered. Today, we’re going to dive into the art of baking a perfect salmon in the oven, step by step. Let’s get cookin’!
1. Start with Quality Salmon
The first step in baking a delicious salmon is choosing the right fillet. You want to make sure it’s fresh and high-quality. Wild-caught salmon is generally a good choice because it’s not only tasty, but also free from chemicals and antibiotics that may be used in farmed salmon. When selecting your fillet, inspect it closely, ensuring that it has bright, clear eyes, firm flesh, and a pleasant smell. Consider the skin, too. If you want to eat the skin, make sure it’s visibly healthy and free from any marks or blemishes.
2. Season Your Salmon
Once your salmon is chosen, remove any bones, rinse it under cold water, and pat it dry with a paper towel. Now, it’s time to season it according to your taste.
Easy Steps to Season Your Salmon
- Step 1: Start by ensuring your salmon fillet is clean and dry. You can pat it dry with a paper towel.
- Step 2: Sprinkle a bit of salt on both sides of the salmon fillet. Salt not only enhances the flavor but also helps to keep the fish moist during cooking.
- Step 3: Add some freshly ground black pepper to both sides of the salmon for a little heat.
- Step 4: Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the salmon. This acidity will help balance out the richness of the salmon.
- Step 5: If you’re using fresh herbs like dill, parsley, or thyme, chop them finely and rub them all over the fish. These herbs add a fresh and aromatic note to your dish.
- Step 6: Minced garlic and finely chopped shallots can be sprinkled on the salmon for extra flavor. If you prefer, you can sauté them lightly before adding to the salmon.
- Step 7: For an Asian twist, drizzle a bit of soy sauce on the salmon. It adds a wonderful umami flavor.
- Step 8: Allow the salmon to rest for at least 15 minutes to let the flavors meld together before cooking.
3. Get the Oven Ready
Preheat your oven to 425℉ and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the seasoned salmon fillet onto the parchment paper, skin-side down. Make sure to leave enough room on the baking sheet so the salmon cooks evenly and doesn’t crowd. If you want to prevent sticking, you can lightly grease the parchment paper with some cooking oil.
4. Bake Your Salmon
Now, it’s time to bake! The general rule of thumb is to bake salmon for 10 minutes per inch of thickness. Therefore, if you have a salmon fillet that is one inch thick, bake it for 10 minutes. To check for doneness, use a fork to separate the flesh slightly. If it flakes easily and there is no raw inner part, then it’s ready. If not, put it back in the oven and check it for a few more minutes. Remember that the salmon will continue cooking a bit once you take it out of the oven, so don’t overdo it.
5. Serve and Enjoy
Once your salmon is cooked to perfection, it’s time to serve it up! You can keep it simple and enjoy it as is or pair it with a side like roasted veggies or a salad. A drizzle of olive oil or a dollop of plain Greek yogurt can add a nice finishing touch. And, of course, don’t forget to take a photo to show off your cooking skills!
There you have it, folks!
Baking a salmon in the oven is easy-peasy and can yield amazing results with just a few simple steps. By choosing the right salmon, seasoning it well, and baking it to the perfect doneness, you’ll have a healthy and tasty dish that’s sure to impress. Plus, you can customize it to your liking with different herbs and spices.
So, the next time you’re in the mood for some fish, don’t hesitate to give this recipe a try. You might just become a salmon-baking pro in no time!