How to Cook Salmon in the Oven: A Step-by-Step Guide

Salmon is a popular and healthy seafood option that is loaded with essential nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. Cooking salmon in the oven is a great option for those who want to prepare it with ease and convenience. Follow this step-by-step guide for a perfectly cooked salmon every time.

Choosing the right salmon

Before cooking salmon in the oven, it is important to choose the right piece of fish. Look for shiny, firm, and bright-colored salmon fillets that have no signs of discoloration, dullness, or dark spots. The smell of the salmon should be fresh and subtle, not overly fishy or sour.

Preparing the salmon

To prepare the salmon for baking, rinse it with cold water and pat it dry with a paper towel. Place the salmon fillets on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, skin side down. If the salmon has scales, use a scaler to remove them and trim any excess fat from the edges.

Seasoning the salmon

The seasoning options for salmon are endless. You can keep it simple and sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of the fish, or you can experiment with different herbs, spices, and marinades. Some popular salmon seasonings include garlic, lemon juice, dill, parsley, and paprika. Brush the salmon with a generous amount of olive oil or melted butter for extra flavor and moisture.

Baking the salmon in the oven

Preheat your oven to 375°F. Bake the salmon for 12 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillet. A good rule of thumb is to cook the salmon for 4 to 6 minutes per ½ inch thickness. For a crispy skin, broil the salmon on high for the last 2 to 3 minutes of cooking.

Checking the doneness

To check if the salmon is cooked, use a fork to gently flake the flesh. If the flesh is opaque and flaky, it is ready. The internal temperature of the salmon should reach 145°F to be safe to eat. If the salmon is still raw or undercooked, put it back in the oven for a few more minutes.

Serving the salmon

Once the salmon is cooked, let it rest for a few minutes before serving. You can serve it with a side of roasted vegetables, rice, or salad. Garnish the salmon with fresh herbs, lemon wedges, or a drizzle of sauce for a beautiful and flavorful presentation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Can I use frozen salmon for baking?
A: Yes, you can bake frozen salmon in the oven. Just make sure to thaw it completely before baking and adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Q: Do I need to remove the skin before baking?
A: It is up to personal preference. The skin can help hold the salmon together and adds extra flavor and texture, but if you prefer to remove it, you can use a knife to gently slide it off before baking.

Q: What can I do if the salmon is too dry?
A: If the salmon turns out dry, try brushing it with more olive oil or butter before and during baking. You can also cover it with foil during the baking process to retain moisture.

Q: How long can I store leftover salmon?
A: Leftover salmon can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. You can also freeze the salmon for up to 2-3 months.