After years of making unsatisfactory, overcooked salmon, I finally figured out the best way to cook salmon and am sharing the foolproof recipe that yields restaurant quality “medium”, melt-in-your mouth salmon.
As a pescetarian for 15 years, seafood has always been one of the staple protein sources in my diet. I’ve also always really enjoyed the taste of seafood too. I remember when I decided to give up meat at the ripe age of 12, I asked my Mom do I have to give up seafood too as the words “clam chowder” stared me dead in the face on a restaurant menu. I was relieved when she said of course, not (and I believe she too was relieved as a concerned mom of a vegetarian teen would be). And go figure now I live in New England – one of the best areas in the country for fresh seafood and clam chowdAH.
My Mom really did an awesome job cooking for our divided family growing up considering I was the only pescetarian in the household. This basically meant she had to cook a separate piece of fish for me every time she cooked meat for the rest of the gang. What a woman. And that piece of fish 90% of the time was salmon.
And I continue to eat salmon regularly today. The only difference being now I make it for myself ;). Steve calls salmon my “detox meal” because whenever I come back home after being away on a trip somewhere, I always want the same meal – salmon, brown rice, and kale. He doesn’t even bother asking anymore, he just knows to stock the fridge appropriately upon my return.
But salmon is one of those foods that makes me feel really good when I eat it. Probably because it’s a nutritional powerhouse: it’s packed with healthy omega-3 fats, protein, vitamin D, B-vitamins, and antioxidants.
But my problem with salmon, up until a year ago, was that I ALWAYS overcooked it, without fail. It didn’t matter if I pan seared it, baked it, or poached it. It never had that texture and consistency that I only could find at a good restaurant. Until, one day, all hail Chef Jeremy Sewall and the folks at Stop & Shop for hosting a cooking class where he taught us his preferred slow cooking method for salmon. By cooking salmon at a higher heat for a shorter amount of time, the proteins coil up and are constricted, causing the oils to secrete, making the fish dry, chewy, and chalky. When you cook salmon at a lower temperature, it coils the proteins more slowly, allowing the fish to retain its moisture and oils, giving it that melt-in-your-mouth texture.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 tsp parsley
- 1/8 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 lb fresh salmon
- salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: slice of lemon for serving
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, mix together olive oil, garlic, parsley, thyme and lemon juice for your marinade.
- Brush the olive oil mixture all over the salmon and sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper over top.
- Bake salmon for 20-25 minutes or until salmon is slightly opaque in the middle and flakes easily.
- Optional: serve with lemon slice and squeeze a little extra lemon juice over top.
If I'm pressed for time, I also use Wegmans' Basting Oil & lemon for my salmon marinade. If you have a Wegmans near you - find this stuff. I use it on all my veggies and fish. The marinade recipe I included here was my closest attempt to recreating Wegmans' Basting Oil. Enjoy :)
Ever since I started cooking salmon this way, Steve now requests it weekly. And I won’t tell you much he can consume in one sitting. But yeah, it’s that good. Seriously, once you try slow cooking salmon, I can guarantee you won’t be cooking it any other way.
Tell me, do you eat salmon? What’s your favorite way to prepare it? See the recipes below for more salmon ideas: