Perfect Oven-Roasted Salmon

Salmon seems to be one of those dishes that people either love or hate, and I’m willing to go out on a limb here and say that those who dislike it, probably do so because they've had a bad experience with it, either because the salmon wasn't very fresh to begin with, or it was overcooked or poorly prepared.  When overcooked, salmon is really quite unlovable.  Also, when salmon is past its prime, the texture and flavor and are just "off", and at that point it doesn't matter how it's cooked, there's no bringing it back. So I guess the first rule of cooking good salmon is to make sure it's really fresh (wild salmon if available).  We used to live near a professional salmon fisherman who taught me to always put my salmon on ice as soon as I got it home to keep it as fresh as possible, and I still do that if I'm not going to cook it right then.

When it comes to cooking salmon, there are many good and fine methods, but this is far and away my favorite.  What I love about this recipe is #1 how easy it is, and #2 how consistent it is.  Perfect every time.  So all you do is sear the salmon a couple of minutes on each side, throw the pan in a 250 degree oven for 20 minutes and voila!  Perfect. 

There really are few things quite as lovely as a perfectly moist, melt-in-your-mouth bite of salmon.  I love the crispy top that forms after searing it first in a really hot pan.  Sometimes I make an easy sauce of thick yogurt combined with a little lemon juice, olive oil, a little salt and pepper and chopped parsley and chives, but I don't think it actually needs it.

Oh, this is good stuff, folks.  If you love salmon, or think you don’t, you really must get out your skillet and give this a go.   

Perfect Oven-Roasted Salmon

For a printable recipe, click here

Serves 4

2 pounds center-cut salmon fillet, about 2 inches thick at its thickest, with skin

2½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees

1. Cut salmon into four uniform portions. Pat dry with paper towel. Salt and Pepper both sides of the fish.  Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy ovenproof skillet over high heat; skillet should be large enough to hold salmon without crowding. Add salmon skin side up, and sear quickly about 2 minutes, until it can be lifted easily with a spatula without sticking. Turn, and sear about 2 minutes skin side down. Thickest part should still be raw in center.

3. Brush top of salmon with remaining olive oil and place in oven about 20 minutes, until medium-rare in center. (An instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part should register 100 to 110 degrees.) Remove from oven, and serve with citrus yogurt sauce.

For sauce:

½ cup drained yogurt

1 T olive oil

Chopped fresh chives

Chopped fresh parsley

Salt and pepper

½ small clove of garlic, minced fine (optional)

1 tsp lemon juice

Combine all the ingredients and warm briefly in the microwave.  Serve over the salmon.