Best Baked Salmon

Luxurious and healthy, this really is the Best Baked Salmon.

Best Baked Salmon

There are many fish in the sea, but salmon is my favorite because of its distinct taste and the way it adapts itself to so many seasonings and sauces. You can prepare salmon in a variety of ways, but I find that baking it for a short time in a hot oven yields the silkiest texture and the most rich flavor–that’s why this recipe really is the Best Baked Salmon.

The herbs and garlic and lemon are perfect mates for salmon, creating an earthiness with a citrusy zing that will appeal to any palate. When you taste it, you’ll be amazed that something this delicious is so easy to prepare and takes so little time.

Salmon is also one of the healthiest things you can eat. Low in saturated fats but high in Omega-3s, the “good” fat, salmon is also high in protein and low in calories. This is a food your heart will thank you for eating! And your friends and family will thank you, too, especially when they see how well it goes with Easy Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans Almondine. Hmmm…I think I might make that tonight!

What does ‘wild caught’ mean?

Wild caught means that the fish is caught in the wild (was that too obvious?), in its natural habitat like a lake or river or the ocean. It’s the opposite of farmed, which means the fish are raised in big tanks. Wild caught salmon is considered tastier because its diet is more varied, and healthier because it gets a lot more exercise constantly swimming around looking for food, which makes it leaner than the farm raised variety. Although farm raised has been criticized for environmental issues, the industry has taken pains to remedy these problems and both farm raised and wild caught salmon have similar nutritional profiles.

Ingredients

  • 4 salmon fillets about 6 ounces each, preferably wild-caught
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning blend or you can use a mix of dried thyme, parsley, oregano, and basil
  • 1 medium lemon
  • Fresh parsley or dill for garnish (optional)
Best Baked Salmon

How to Make Baked Salmon

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 400°F and lightly oil a baking dish. Arrange the salmon fillets skin-side down and season.

Best Baked Salmon

Step 2: In a bowl, whisk together olive oil, garlic, herbs, and the juice from half the lemon. Drizzle over each fillet.

Best Baked Salmon

Step 3: Bake to Perfection: Slide the salmon into the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes. Your goal is an opaque and flaky center when tested with a fork. If you are after a golden finish, broil for an additional 1-2 minutes.

Best Baked Salmon

Step 4: Transfer the baked salmon to plates, garnish with fresh herbs (parsley or dill) if you like and serve with the remaining lemon slices.

Best Baked Salmon

FAQs & Tips

How to Make Ahead and Store?

Best Baked Salmon can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or up to 3 months in the freezer. If frozen, thaw it overnight in the fridge and then reheat it, either in the oven at 300 degrees for 10 minutes or in the microwave at 30 second intervals until it is warmed through.

Is there only one kind of salmon?

There are actually several kinds of salmon–Sockeye (aka Red), Coho (aka Silver), Atlantic…and many others. While they vary a bit in texture and flavor (for example, Sockeye Salmon tends to be more firm and has a richer taste), any type of salmon works perfectly in this recipe.

Don’t be showing skin!

It’s important to put the salmon filets skin-side down in the lightly oiled baking dish, so that the bottoms will get crispy and the tops golden.

What does baked salmon look like when it’s done?

It looks good enough to eat! And it is! The color will become paler, the fish opaque, and you’ll be able to flake it with a fork. Our cooking time, 12-15 minutes in the hot oven, will produce perfect fish.

Best Baked Salmon

Serving Suggestions

Here’s the thing about Best Baked Salmon–it goes with everything and suits any occasion. For weeknight meals, try serving it with Sauteed Corn with Basil Butter or Cucumber and Tomato Salad. Or throw a dinner party and serve Best Baked Salmon with Potatoes au Gratin and Grilled Asparagus.

This baked salmon is also very versatile where flavors are concerned…you can change the herbs (dill and parsley are lovely with salmon) or do an Asian version substituting the Italian seasonings with ginger and coriander (but keep the garlic!). And so many sauces are perfect with salmon: try drizzling it with Easy Green Goddess Dressing or Tzatziki Sauce (and then serve it with Greek Lemon Potatoes).

Best Baked Salmon
Best Baked Salmon

Best Baked Salmon

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 210 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 salmon fillets about 6 ounces each, preferably wild-caught
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning blend or you can use a mix of dried thyme, parsley, oregano, and basil
  • 1 medium lemon
  • Fresh parsley or dill for garnish (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 400°F and lightly oil a baking dish. Arrange the salmon fillets skin-side down and season.
  • In a bowl, whisk together olive oil, garlic, herbs, and the juice from half the lemon. Drizzle over each fillet.
  • Bake to Perfection: Slide the salmon into the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes. Your goal is an opaque and flaky center when tested with a fork. If you are after a golden finish, broil for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  • Transfer the baked salmon to plates, garnish with fresh herbs (parsley or dill) if you like and serve with the remaining lemon slices.

Nutrition

Calories: 210kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 23gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 244mgPotassium: 590mgFiber: 1gSugar: 0.5gVitamin A: 56IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 26mgIron: 1mg
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