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 someone who was pescatarian for 18 of her (almost) 32 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 if being a vegetarian meant I had 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 (rockstar Mom status). 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 ;). Salmon has become our welcome home meal. Whenever I come back home after being away on a trip somewhere, I always want the same meal – salmon, brown rice, and kale. It’s easy, simple, tastes good, and feels good in my body. He doesn’t even bother asking anymore, he just knows to stock the fridge appropriately upon my return. Bonus points for salmon being a nutritional powerhouse too: it’s packed with healthy omega-3 fats, protein, vitamin D, B-vitamins, and antioxidants.
But my problem with salmon, up until a few years 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 could only 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.
Ever since I started cooking salmon this way, Steve now requests it weekly. Seriously, once you try slow cooking salmon, I can guarantee you won’t be cooking it any other way.Print
If you’re tired of overcooked, chewy salmon, you’ve got to try this slow cooked salmon. It’s seriously the best way to cook salmon! Cook longer at a lower oven temperature, and you’ve got restaurant quality medium melt-in-your-mouth salmon!
- 1 lb fresh salmon
- 1 small clove garlic, minced or grated
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice (from 1/2 small lemon)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground cracked pepper
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F and line baking sheet with parchment paper. Pat salmon dry with a paper towel and place on baking sheet.
- In a small bowl, whisk garlic, dijon mustard, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper until combined.
- Brush sauce over salmon until coated.
- Bake salmon until salmon flakes easily with a fork or a thermometer inserted into the center reads 125-135 degrees F, about 20-25 minutes (for a 1.5 inch piece of salmon).
- Optional: garnish with freshly chopped herbs like parsley
- For food safety, the FDA recommends cooking seafood until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. Consuming raw or undercooked seafood may increase your risk of food borne illness.
- Cooking salmon until 125-135 degrees F yields a medium or medium-rare texture (which is what you get in most restaurants).
- You may need to cook your salmon longer if it’s a thicker cut (I used a 1.5 inch piece salmon).
- Prep Time: 2 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Seafood
- Method: Bake
Keywords: slow cooked salmon, salmon slow cook in oven
This recipe was retested, reshot and revamped to bring you the most delicious (and most beautiful) dish! The original post was published in February 2015.
Last Updated: September 2019