How to Bake Salmon Fillets


Whenever we cook salmon on the stovetop, the kids complain, “Whew!  It smells fishy!”  They’re right.  Salmon is a very fatty fish and searing a salmon fillet in a hot skillet does create an odor.  They don’t complain when we bake salmon.

It’s easy to bake salmon fillets.  Place the skinned fillets in a shallow baking dish and bake for 12 to 16 minutes at 400 degrees.  (It’s done when it flakes easily with a fork.)   When you remove the pan from the oven, pour off any moisture or remove the fish from the pan so that the fish does not become soggy, and serve.  That’s all there is to it at its basic best.

But it’s fun to be adventurous and flavor the fish.   You can use a marinade or your favorite sauce.  Our simmer sauces and Asian sauces work great.  Just pour the sauce over the fish before baking.  If you prefer to marinade, place the skinned fillets in a zipper-type bag with the marinade and refrigerate for several hours.

We think you’ll enjoy baking your salmon.

For those who want to cook from scratch instead of from a bottle, here is a recipe for maple glazed salmon that we have tested and like.

Maple Glazed Salmon with Spicy Maple Cream Syrup

We love salmon and this sweet and spicy sauce pairs perfectly with the fish.

Baking the fish eliminates the odor that often is created when salmon is cooked on the stovetop.  The marinade assures that it will be moist and tender.  It is done when it flakes easily with a fork.

 The fresh ginger and the mustard add a spicy kick to the sweetness of the syrup.  Taste the sauce before you use it and alter the ingredients to get the balance you like.  Remember that when you cook the ginger, the flavor will intensify.

We first made the sauce without the cream.  The cream improves it, blending and tempering the flavors.

Ingredients

1 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1-1/2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
4 salmon filets with the skin removed, about 10 ounces each
salt and pepper
1/4 cup walnut pieces
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/3 cup heavy cream

Directions

  1. Mix the maple syrup, lemon juice, soy sauce, ginger, and mustard together.  Set aside 1/2 cup of the mixture in the refrigerator.
  2. With the remaining mixture, marinate the fish by placing the fillets in a sealable plastic bag with the mixture, sealing, and refrigerating for several hours.
  3. To prepare the fish, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Place the fish in a shallow baking dish.  Baste the fish with the marinade from the bag.  Salt and pepper each fillet.  (The soy sauce in the marinade will add a bit of sodium but not much.)
  4. Bake the fish for a total of 12 to 16 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.  After the fish has baked for 8 minutes, open the oven door and sprinkle the fish with nuts.  Close the door and continue baking.  Do not over bake.
  5. While the fish is baking, prepare the sauce from the 1/2 cup set aside mixture.  Place the cornstarch in a small bowl or cup.  Add just enough marinade to make a thick paste of the cornstarch.  Gradually stir in the rest.  Remove the sauce mixture to a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring with a whisk, until the sauce begins to bubble and is thickened.  Stir in the cream.  Set aside.
  6. When the fish is done, immediately remove the fillets to serving plates and drizzle with the prepared sauce.

Serves 4.

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