I always feel fantastic after eating salmon. My energy level goes up and I feel fully satisfied by this pink protein without it weighing me down. Of course my “salmon high” right after eating may be partly due to the placebo effect. “Powerhouse for Omega-3s!” “Fantastic source of B12 and Vitamin D!” After reading article upon article about this ‘superfood’, my brain is primed to feel awesome when consuming salmon. But I’m confident that even if I didn’t feel the immediate effects, I’m investing in our family’s future health by regularly including salmon in our diet.
Wild vs Farmed Salmon
As a family, we most often consume canned wild Alaskan salmon. From research conducted in recent years, there seems to be no substantive difference in omega-3s between wild and farmed salmon. But because of cost and sustainability issues, canned Alaskan salmon wins out as a weekly staple for us. I might make salmon salad sandwiches on the weekend, serve salmon cakes for a breakfast protein, or create a salmon pasta salad for school and work lunches.
Although we enjoy all our canned salmon dishes, eating fresh salmon is a big treat for our family. Beautiful fresh and tender salmon served hot out of the oven is at most a monthly event, so it’s very important to us that it be prepared to perfection.
What prompted the timing for this posting on the best baked salmon is an email I received recently. A reader asked how I prepared and cooked my salmon in the oven. She was getting results that varied between too mushy and too tough. Do I have a preferred method? Absolutely!
Best Baked Salmon Method
This Best Baked Salmon recipe comes from Cook’s Illustrated, a trusted source of exhaustively tested recipes. The issue Cook’s Illustrated was trying to solve with baked salmon was how to get a slightly crispy outer layer, yet tender and evenly cooked insides. By starting the oven on a high heat and quickly lowering the heat they found their answer to achieving this duality. This extra hot start and immediate drop in heat they call a hybrid roasting method. Crisp the outside quickly, then slowly cook the insides to keep the meat moist, flaky, and light.
Every time I use this method I get perfect baked salmon, so I am happy to introduce you to this easy, fool-proof recipe. This baked salmon recipe is exclusively from Cook’s Illustrated, but I included my own simple fresh tomato garnish for the salmon. Give this method a try, and add your own marinades and sauces. Let me know how you like it!
Note on Salmon contaminants: It’s a bit of a downer to read about PCBs and mercury in salmon. However, based on recent studies, I’m convinced that the amount of pollutants found in salmon aren’t enough to outweigh all the health benefits of our family consuming salmon once or twice a week. Here are a few of my resources: 1,2,3,4
Note on Sustainability: Sustainability in farmed salmon is fortunately improving. The Monterey Bay Seafood Watch provides excellent, updated advice on sustainable salmon choices, whether farmed or wild.