How Do I Cook a Salmon Fillet in a Conventional Oven?

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Salmon has a reputation to live up to, and you can do your part by not trying to complicate matters for this blissfully low-maintenance fish. This said, if you want to cook a salmon fillet in a conventional oven, it always helps to keep the salmon moist while it bakes, beyond the traditional splash of lemon juice and butter. Salmon makes an especially eager companion for a French-style cream that will keep its reputation intact and greatly enhance yours at the same time.

Things You'll Need

  • ½-inch thick salmon fillets
  • Bowl
  • Milk
  • Baking dish
  • Nonfat cooking spray
  • Aluminum foil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Crème fraiche
  • Parsley flakes
  • Meat thermometer
  • Soak the salmon fillets in a bowl of milk for about 30 minutes, then rinse them under the faucet and pat them dry. This step achieves two goals: it cleanses the salmon of its notoriously “fishy” aroma and provides a sweet and clean palette for the cream as you bake it.

  • Preheat your oven at between 400 and 450 degrees Fahrenheit, erring on the lower end of the temperature range if you’ve never cooked salmon in a conventional oven before or if your oven is a bit erratic. Salmon cooks quickly, and it’s always better to slightly undercook salmon than to dry it out.

  • Spray a baking dish with nonfat cooking spray or cover a sprayed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the fillets in the dish or on the sheet, being sure not to overcrowd them. Sprinkle the fillets with salt and pepper.

  • Top the fillets with crème fraiche, which is similar to sour cream but without the bitter aftertaste. Grocers stock this French cream.

  • Sprinkle the fish with dried parsley flakes. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil to keep the salmon moist.

  • Bake the salmon for about six minutes. Remove the baking dish from the oven and test the salmon with a meat thermometer. Fish should reach a temperature of 145 degrees F. It also should be white, firm and flaky.

Tips & Warnings

  • It's less expensive to make your own crème fraiche, but you need to plan ahead if you want to use it to cook your salmon. Combine 2 cups of heavy cream with 2 tablespoons of buttermilk in a bowl and cover it. After sitting out at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours, the cream will rise and thicken and be ready to top the salmon.
  • Serve the salmon fillets with baked red potatoes, and dip the potatoes into the crème fraiche.
  • Store leftover crème fraiche in the refrigerator.

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References

  • Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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