Salmon, again

I cook a lot of salmon. Other little fishies have received limited attention (white fish, snapper, tilapia, swordfish) but nothing makes my boy Jonah happier than seeing me prep 4-5 salmon filets when dinnertime is near. So I indulge him, often.


Buy the fish fresh, not frozen. I use Icelandic salmon from Whole Foods. Other types like Coho don't taste as good to us, but try different kinds if you feel adventurous.

Ask the fish monger (the person behind the counter wearing an apron) to cut a whole fillet into 4-5 pieces. This may sound weird, but those precut pieces in the case might come from different fish. Does this matter? I have no idea. But knowing it's all one fish makes me feel like I cast a line off the boat that morning. Dare to dream!

Back in the real world...

Plan on cooking fish that day or the next. If not cooking right away:
  • Unwrap fish and place in a glass or ceramic dish with sides (like a casserole dish) a few inches apart. Place 2 slices of lemon next the the fish (to absorb fishy smell). Cover with foil or plastic wrap. Place in fridge until ready to use. 

Now for the fun part. Open the oven and place one of the racks on the lower third of oven. Put a heavy aluminum baking pan or cookie sheet with 1 inch sides (not nonstick) on that rack. Set oven temperature to 500.

Meanwhile, mix together in a ramekin or 1/4 measuring cup:
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon each, dried thyme and oregano

Set aside the seasonings and remove salmon from fridge. Use paper towels to pat each piece dry. Then, using a small, sharp knife, a steak knife works well, make 3 or 4 slits on the skin, without cutting the flesh. Brush olive oil on both sides of each piece, enough to make them pretty slippery. Make sure to cover where the skin meets the flesh.

Sprinkle the seasoning combo on the flesh side of the salmon pieces.

When oven reaches 500 remove pan from oven and place each salmon piece, skin side down, on the pan. Immediately place pan back into the oven and turn temperature down to 300.  Bake fish for 20 minutes. Check for doneness by cutting into the largest piece. Use a metal spatula to scrape under the skin to remove filets.