An easy way to cook salmon

January 28, 2020

ingredients to use when cooking salmon

Can we talk about cooking salmon? Many of us have heard that eating more seafood and less meat is better for our health and our planet.  Despite the popularity of the Mediterranean diet, many of us eat far less than the minimum recommendation of eating seafood rich in omega-three oils at least twice a week.

What gets in the way of us eating more seafood?

Yes, some people don’t like salmon. (There are many other types of fish and seafood to enjoy!)  Many of the reasons the rest of us don’t eat it as frequently are related to cooking it.

The top reason people tell me they don’t eat more fish is that they don’t know how to cook it.  The second reason I often hear is that when they’ve tried to cook it, it’s not as good as they’ve had in a restaurant.   The final reason that people give is that it makes a mess in the kitchen.

Fear not! There is an easy way to cook salmon

If you like salmon, here’s an incredibly easy and delicious way to prepare it:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Take an oven-safe baking dish and put about half a teaspoon of oil in it.  Spread it around with your fingers until the bottom of the dish has a light coating.  The few seconds you spend doing this will make your clean up much easier!

Place your piece of salmon in the center of the dish.  Squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice on the fish.  I like to use half a medium lemon for about a pound of salmon.  If you don’t have a fresh lemon juice, you can substitute about a tablespoon and a half of bottled lemon juice.

If you’re out of lemon juice or don’t like it, be sure to add an equivalent amount of liquid for this cooking method to work.  Water or a subtle white wine could be easily used.

Toppings: The choice is yours…

There are many different toppings you can use when cooking salmon, but I frequently turn to one fo the simplest: a bit of fresh ground pepper and a thinly sliced fresh scallion which is also known as a green onion.  (For a FODMAP friendly dish, use the green parts of two scallions instead of one whole scallion.)

Cooking your salmon

Once you’ve put your toppings on cover the baking dish with aluminum foil.  Or, for a more environmentally friendly method, use a baking dish that has a glass cover.  Resist lifting the foil or lid to often to check on its progress as this lets moisture and heat out.  (That’s one of the reasons I love clear glass baking dishes!)

How long will it take?

How long your salmon takes to cook will vary based on its weight and thickness.  For a pound of salmon that is being cooked as one piece and is fairly thick, I usually plan on about 35 minutes of cooking time.  Smaller amounts, or thinner pieces, or salmon cut into individual portions will cook more quickly.

When in doubt, cook the salmon for a bit longer than you think it needs.  This method is very forgiving and overcooking is less of an issue than undercooking.  It also means if your meal gets delayed for some reason, your salmon isn’t ruined!

Side dishes

If you’ve met with me in my office or had a virtual appointment with me, you know how I feel about including non-starchy vegetables on your plate.  There are so many options that work well with this dish, but one of my favorites is ginger garlic broccoli.  Spaghetti squash works well too and you can even cook it in the oven at the same time!

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