Salmon is one of my favorite things to eat and prepare; it has loads of flavor, is full of healthy omega-3s, and cooks up really quickly (I always buy wild salmon, not farmed; and I’m more likely to order salmon on a restaurant menu if it’s wild. Here’s why wild salmon is better than farmed.)
A lot of people find fish intimidating to cook, but it’s quite easy (much easier than trying to get a steak to that perfect medium-rare with a seared crust, in my opinion). I’ve found, actually, that how to cook salmon isn’t the tough part—it’s how to tell if the salmon is done. My preferred method for cooking salmon is roasting it in the oven. Here’s my basic method:
1. Heat oven to 450 degrees F.
2. Season salmon with salt, pepper, and whatever other spices you’d like.
3. Place salmon on a baking sheet and roast for about 10 minutes, or a little more or less depending on how thick your fillets are. I’d check it after about 8 minutes or so.
4. To check if the salmon is done, I usually use a fork or my tongs to gently pry open a small section at the thickest part of the fish. If it breaks apart easily but still has a little resistance, it’s likely medium-rare (this is how I like to eat my salmon). You’ll be able to see that the center is still a little translucent. For medium, the fish should break apart quite easily and be opaque throughout. And if it’s well-done, the fish will be quite firm and practically falls apart when you maneuver it.
Once you’ve done this a couple times, you’ll see how easy it is. What’s great about roasting salmon is that you can easily toss some quick-cooking vegetables like grape tomatoes and asparagus on the baking sheet, too. You’ll end up with a delicious one-pan meal in just minutes.