How to Bake Perfect Salmon
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Fool-proof method for delicately tender and juicy baked salmon every time! You’ll love melt-in-your-mouth buttery salmon layers infused with flavorful pesto sauce!
My goodness, I’m so stoked to share this recipe with you today. Actually, it’s hardly a recipe. It’s too simple to be called a recipe, you know?
It’s more about the method than anything. I learned it from watching yet another Food Network show. The Kitchen, to be exact. Did you notice the trend here? I’ve been kind of obsessed with FN earlier this year when all I did was lounge on the couch with my little guy. I didn’t waste any time, I was learning. 😉
Anyway, chef Geoffrey shared this super easy baked salmon recipe one day.
What caught my interest is that instead of baking the salmon fillets at high temp, as I’ve always done, he instructed to bake the fillets at very low temperature, like 250°F I think. He said that way the fish comes out juicy and tender without gross white stuff oozing out of the sides- a sign of overcooking.
Well, since I try to eat fish at least once a week, I had plenty of time to test it out. Very first time I tried this method, I had to extend the cooking time by 10 minutes, then another 10 minutes, and then another. Finally, I got really hungry, increased the heat a bit and cooked for the final 10 minutes.
The salmon turned out buttery soft and juicy, and incredibly flavorful! Imagine all that pesto soaking into the meat during cooking. Gah, it’s so so good!
Now, here’s what I learned. If you like your salmon on rare side, then yeah, 15-20min at 250°F would probably be enough. I, on other hand, prefer my salmon medium well– around 130-140°F internal temp. You see, I don’t have access to sushi-grade fish around here, and I’m guessing most of us use previously frozen salmon that’s better not consumed rare, yes? So, I made some adjustments. I found 300°F is happy medium! It’s fairly low temp and still produces perfectly tender salmon every time without waiting for eternity to cook!
Another quick tip from chef GZ: remove the skin! Otherwise, the skin gets soft and slimy from low-heat-cooking. If you like crispy skin, try pan-frying-method like I’ve shared with my steelhead trout recipe.
This’s such a quick and effortless weeknight dinner. Pair it with some steamed veggies, or fried rice, and you’re all set for really delicious, feel-good dinner. Speaking of which, that fried rice you see here will be on the blog on Thursday! So stay tuned!
Thanks for reading!
How to Bake Perfect Salmon
- 3 skinless salmon fillets
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons pesto
- Lemon wedges for serving
- Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C).
- Line a baking sheet with foil.
- Drizzle the olive oil all over the prepared baking sheet and evenly sprinkle half of the salt and pepper on the baking sheet.
- Arrange the salmon fillets over the olive oil and sprinkle the remaining salt and pepper.
- Spread 1 tablespoon of pesto on each filet.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes. Depending on the thickness of the fish, it’ll take more or less. I prefer to cook the fillets until internal temp reaches around 135°F.
- Drizzle fresh lemon juice and serve immediately.