This Baked Salmon is my preferred way to cook the fresh salmon from the grocery, as it is easy, delicious, and cleanup is a breeze. Serve it as the main dish for dinner, toss it in a mixture with the green salad, shred it for picnic-friendly salmon salad, and more. I am not exaggerating when I say I cook this salmon at least once a week. It is an integral part of my meal preparation and my family always loves eating this recipe. If I am being honest about my favorite way to eat the salmon, it is my hands down a pan-seared Crispy Skin Salmon just like at saw in the restaurant, where the skin of salmon is like a crunchy potato chip on top of the fish. However, that is a more involved process that involves descaling the fish and perfecting the sear, and it is only meant to be eaten salmon right away. The Baked Salmon Recipe is also simple as heck to prepare, and you can enjoy the salmon as is, with flavorings like dill, Dijon mustard, or lemon, or in many other dishes. I usually roast it off in the oven, then add it as the protein for the lunchtime salads, or make Salmon Salad out of it. Because I cook salmon so often, I have experimented with many different temperatures and cooking times. I find that cooking salmon in the oven is best at higher temperatures for less time. All the time I roast salmon in the oven like this, I end up with moist pieces of the salmon that flake gently.
Remove the Bones First:
Always remove the pin bones from your salmon fillet, as they are particularly the big and thick, and a choking hazard. Sometimes the fishmonger has already removed the pin bones from the salmon, but when you must do it yourself, it is easiest with the tweezers. Trust me, you cannot pull the pin bones out with your fingers. I have also been able to pull them out with tongs in a pinch, but it is a little difficult and harder to grip. To remove them, you can feel along the flesh to see where they are poking out, then grab them with the help of tweezers. Next, season the salmon with the salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Sometimes if I have it, I will add freshly chopped dill. Other nice toppings are Dijon mustard mixed with the pure maple syrup, teriyaki sauce, or simply a sprinkle of smoked paprika. If I am using the salmon for salads or for other dishes, I will just leave it plain with salt and pepper. After removing the pin bones from the salmon, salmon with salt and freshly cracked black paper its must should be cooking salmon in the oven.
How to Bake Salmon:
First, I like to prepare a foil-lined or parchment paper-lined tray to place the salmon on the tray for baking. Even if you grease the bottom of the pan with the oil, the skin of salmon always sticks anyway, and it is a pain to scrub it off. So, I make cleanup salmon easy by lining the pan. Typically cooking salmon in the oven, about 12-14 minutes is perfect at a temperature of 425F. Remember that the maximum temperature you want to cook the salmon to is 140F, which is fully cooked. I usually aim for 125-130F so there is still some pink inside. If you are using wild salmon, you will want to watch the salmon more closely, as there is less fat there and it is easier for it to dry out.
How to Check for Doneness:
I buy the same size piece of salmon from the store, so I have learned what the timing is, but if you crack the oven door and look, you will see when the salmon has changed the color from the deeper orange and shiny/glossy exterior to the cooked lighter orange color and opaque exterior. Cooking salmon in the oven is perfect because in the oven the cooked salmon is very shiny, glossy, exterior and deeper orange. Once the shiny exterior is gone, it should be done within a minute or two minutes, and you can double check with a thermometer.