Oven-Baked Salmon

Oven-Baked Salmon

Ingredients

  • 4 6oz wild salmon fillets skin on, about 1 inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Ground sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 Teaspoons lemon juice

Directions

  1. Baking salmon in the oven is so easy. The oven does all the work! The detailed instructions are included in the recipe card below. Here are the basic steps:

  2. You start by coating the fish fillets with olive oil:

  3. Then you sprinkle them with salt and pepper. I use light salt (one or two twists from a salt grinder pet filet) and lots of coarse pepper, but your taste may vary.

  4. Now, place the fish on a parchment-lined, foil covered (to aid cleanup) rimmed baking dish and bake it, uncovered, until cooked through, about 13.5 minutes.

  5. Use a thermometer to check for temperature at 12 minutes.

  6. About one minute before you take it out of the oven, dribble the lemon juice onto the filets.

  7. There’s no need to cover the fish in foil when you bake it. Its internal temperature should reach 130°F and you should only keep it in the oven until it reaches this temperature. You don’t want to overcook it.

  8. EXPERT TIP

  9. The USDA says that you should cook fish to medium (145°F). This temperature will result in your fish being overdone, but it is the safest option. I recommend cooking to 130.

  10. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can check with a fork. The center of each fillet should be opaque and flaky. If it’s still translucent and resists being flaked with a fork, it’s not done yet.

  11. For even cooking, it’s best to cut a big chunk into individual, 6-oz portions. It IS possible to bake a large piece, but then you do run the risk of the edges becoming overcooked while the middle is still raw. So I prefer to use smaller pieces.

  12. How long should I bake salmon?

  13. Not long! You don’t want to dry it out. Generally speaking, you should bake 6-oz fillets in a 425°F oven for just 12-15 minutes.

  14. The only way to know for sure that the fish is done is to use a thermometer. So for example, if your fillets are significantly larger than 6 oz, they will need more time in the oven. Especially if they’re thick.

  15. Can I cook salmon from frozen?

  16. Yes. Simply increase the baking time to about 20 minutes for 6-oz fillets. In fact, baking fish from frozen often helps avoid drying them out.

  17. However, you should only do this with smaller, 6-oz fillets. Bigger fillets will likely be undercooked in the middle if you cook them from frozen.

  18. And when cooking from frozen, it’s especially important to check for doneness with an instant-read thermometer or to use a fork to make sure the center is opaque and flaky.

  19. What sauce goes with salmon?

  20. I don’t usually serve this dish with a sauce. Unlike poached salmon, which has a very mild flavor and can benefit from the addition of sauce, baked salmon is very flavorful on its own, especially when cooked with the skin on and when not overcooked.

  21. Rarely, when I make steamed asparagus, microwave asparagus, or roasted asparagus to go with this dish, I make hollandaise sauce to drizzle on both.

  22. RECOMMENDED SIDE DISHES

  23. There are so many sides to choose from - this is a very versatile main dish. But since I bake it in a 425°F oven, I like to serve the salmon with a side dish that I can cook in the same oven. So I often serve it with one of the following:

  24. STORING LEFTOVERS

  25. You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to 3 days. I don’t like reheating them - they often end up too dry. So I flake them and use them cold as a salad topping the next day.

  26. If you prefer to reheat them, do so very gently. Cover the fish pieces and reheat them in the microwave on 50% power, turning often, until heated through.

  27. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Line a baking dish with parchment paper.

  28. Run your finger across the salmon fillets to check for bones. If your fish have bones in them, remove the bones with fish bone tweezers (I found mine on Amazon).

  29. Brush the salmon fillets all over with olive oil. Arrange them on the baking dish, skin side down. Sprinkle with kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and thyme.

  30. Bake the salmon until it’s opaque and cooked through, and the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F. Depending on your oven, this should take about 12-15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Notes

The USDA says that you should cook fish to medium (145°F). If you don’t have a thermometer, you can check with a fork. The center of each fillet should be opaque and flaky. If it’s still translucent and resists being flaked with a fork, it’s not done yet.

To cook from frozen, simply increase the baking time to about 20 minutes for 6-oz fillets. In fact, baking fish from frozen often helps avoid drying them out. However, you should only do this with smaller, 6-oz fillets.

Bigger fillets will likely be undercooked in the middle if you cook them from frozen. And when cooking from frozen, it’s especially important to check for doneness with an instant-read thermometer or to use a fork to make sure the center is opaque and flaky.

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