How to Cook Salmon in the Microwave

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Fish needn't be a fussy dish, especially if you take advantage of your microwave. Among the types you can cook are salmon steaks or fillets. Salmon takes to even the most simple of preparations and can go from the refrigerator to the table in minutes.


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Careful Cover-Ups

Wrapping salmon before starting the microwave helps seal in moisture. Plastic wrap often works well to cover the tops of the fish but you can make packets to envelop the fish and its side dish using parchment paper. Do not use aluminum foil as it prevents the waves from penetrating and heating the fish. If you're poaching the salmon in cooking liquid, a microwave-safe bowl or casserole dish is best. Choose cooking vessels wide enough to hold the fish in a single layer yet deep enough to allow for covering the fish with liquid.


Simply Salmon

For the cooking method with the fewest steps, start by laying the salmon fillets or steaks on a plate and cover them with chopped herbs or aromatics of your choice, perhaps adding drizzles of olive oil and lemon juice. After covering the plate loosely with plastic wrap, wax paper or parchment paper, cook the salmon for about two minutes per portion. Let the salmon stand for two additional minutes before serving, perhaps with lemon slices or additional oil.


Poached Portions

To cook salmon in liquid, figure on 1 cup of water, wine or broth for every two portions of salmon. After you've put the salmon in a casserole dish or wide, shallow bowl, pour in enough liquid to cover the fish. Float chopped herbs or aromatics into the liquid for extra flavor. The salmon should be cooked on high, covered, for about two minutes per portion. If you wish, use the cooking liquid as a base for a simple sauce by whisking together one part of a fat, such as butter or sour cream, with two parts of the cooking liquid.


Paper Packets

The "en papillote" method involves enfolding an individual salmon fillet in parchment paper after topping the fish with sliced vegetables and a small amount of cooking liquid. The vegetables cook more consistently if they are sliced thinly and in uniform pieces. Choose one or more veggies such as sweet red peppers, asparagus, summer squash or green beans for color and crispness. A bit of water will suffice, but a few spoonfuls of white wine or stock add flavor along with moisture. After creating an envelope-like packet for each serving of salmon and vegetables, microwave the packets on high, multiplying the number of salmon fillets by two minutes to determine the amount of time they need to cook.



To encourage even cooking when microwaving your salmon, set the thicker parts of the fillets or steaks toward the outer part of the microwave plate or casserole dish. Rearranging or flipping the salmon partway through cooking time can help, especially if you don't have a rotating disk in the microwave. Check for doneness by gently piercing it with a fork. If it flakes easily and looks pink and opaque, it has cooked thoroughly. It is important to let salmon rest for about two minutes after removing the portions from the microwave. Additional topping options include salsa, chutney or a sauce you've whipped up on the stove while the salmon cooks, such as creamy dill or hollandaise.