Easy salmon recipes please.
September 6, 2012 10:40 AM   Subscribe

Please give me your tastiest, go-to salmon recipe worthy of serving company.

We're having guests with limited diets and we don't cook fish much. Our local fishmonger is having a sale on King Salmon and we'd like to make a nice dish. The only requirements I have are that it be relatively uncomplicated for someone who doesn't really cook fish much and that it's not a pasta dish (because a family member just won't eat pasta unless it's traditional spaghetti with marinara). There are members of the family who are big tartar sauce people so maybe something that has a sauce as well (although it doesn't necessarily have to be tartar sauce)?
posted by Kimberly to Food & Drink (48 answers total) 73 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I've made variations on this slow-cooked salmon and it's always delicious. It's ridiculously easy to make. The yogurt sauce in this recipe sounds tasty and tartar-like.
posted by rtha at 10:43 AM on September 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: This is super simple and, I think, quite good: rinse and dry your salmon filet and place in a lightly greased oven-safe pan, skin side down. Apply a thin-ish layer of Dijon mustard on top and sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake for ~20 minutes (till done / flakes easily) in a 350F oven. The spiciness of mustard and sweetness of the sugar go surprisingly well together.
posted by AwkwardPause at 10:43 AM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Gordon Ramsay's Crispy Salmon Recipe

Yes, that Gordon Ramsay. But it's good.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:45 AM on September 6, 2012

Do you have a BBQ? Because salmon cooked on a cedar plank in the BBQ is pretty god damned amazing. We top it with hoisin sauce before cooking it and maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan... tasty stuff. There are lots of other sauces/glazes you can use too. And bringing in the whole charred cedar plank can be fairly impressive presentation. (Just be sure to follow the soaking directions on the plank you get. If you don't soak it you'll just have a fishy fire instead of deliciously cooked salmon.)
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 10:46 AM on September 6, 2012

Best answer: I love this recipe for Quick Salmon & Couscous with Cilantro Vinagrette. I've made it a number of times, and it's delicious (and I am no master chef). I like it over quinoa instead of couscous, though.
posted by Kriesa at 10:47 AM on September 6, 2012

I've made the above salmon many times, and it's always amazing.

If you find some nice vegetables (usually I use some peppers, some courgette, maybe some potatoes, broccoli, asparagus, ...) you can throw them in a roasting dish, roast for a while, then turn down the oven and just put the salmon in on top.
posted by katrielalex at 10:48 AM on September 6, 2012

similar to AwkwardPause, but instead of mustard + sugar, dice + fry up some sweet onions till they're brown/clear, then add a some ranch to the pan. Simmer for a bit and then pour over salmon and cook it in the oven same way.
posted by pyro979 at 10:49 AM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

2nd the cedar plank. Simple as can be - always turns out great. We use a brown sugar + pepper + olive oil on top...
posted by NoDef at 10:55 AM on September 6, 2012

Best answer: I love Cooks Illustrated's roasted salmon recipe. It's insanely easy and delicious even if you don't make the relish, but just roast the salmon with salt and pepper.
posted by Mercaptan at 10:57 AM on September 6, 2012

Best answer: Salmon En Croute (or Salmon Wellington or Salmon in Puff Pastry) is CRAZY delicious, pleasantly fancy-looking, and actually incredibly easy to make. You can easily find pre-made frozen puff pastry, so this can almost be as easy as wrapping up each piece of salmon and baking until done. Here are some recipes from easiest to hardest:

- Salmon en Croute with Hollandaise (the hollandaise is made from a packet mix, so there's nothing hard or time-consuming about it)
- Salmon Wellington (also with hollandaise, but also adds spinach)
- Salmon in Puff Pastry with Mushroom Duxelles (includes a mushroom duxelles made from scratch which is totally easy so long as you have a food processor)
posted by ourobouros at 11:01 AM on September 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I've had great luck with Salmon Kyoto for company-- not too salmon-y, and after eating it, several of our guests have subsequently adopted it as their own go-to salmon dish. The allrecipes version specifies grilling, but it turns out just as good baked in a little foil packet in a 375-degree oven for 35-45 minutes.
posted by Bardolph at 11:02 AM on September 6, 2012

Best answer: Ultra-simple and plenty tasty:

Put a bit of olive oil on a sheet
Plop salmon on top and smoosh it around a bit so that it's oiled on the bottom
Put a but of olive oil on top of the salmon
Give it a massage
Salt, pepper, and rosemary (or herbs de provence) that bitch up
Give it a massage
Stick it in your oven on broil for 7-11 minutes depending on thickness until it's JUST done. DO NOT OVERCOOK IT.

posted by phunniemee at 11:04 AM on September 6, 2012

Response by poster: How do you know when it is done, but not overcooked?
posted by Kimberly at 11:07 AM on September 6, 2012

Best answer: If they are smaller pieces, as you cook them, look at the cut-side of the fish turn from a translucent dark red to an opaque light pink. This can take between 10-15 minutes, longer for bigger or thicker pieces. Thinner pieces from the tail end will cook faster, so watch out for that, if you have a mix of sizes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:11 AM on September 6, 2012

Best answer: I prefer steamed salmon:

Pour some mirin (Japanese rice wine meant for cooking, check the ethnic aisle at the supermarket) with a glug of sesame oil in a salmon-fillet-sized container. Add some cracked pepper and about one square inch worth of fresh ginger, grated or chopped. Put the salmon into the container, flip it over, shake it gently, and let it marinate at room temperature briefly (5 minutes will do it). I like this marinade because it's subtle, yet brings out the salmon flavor without overwhelming it -- king salmon is much too nice to smother in strong flavors.

Then put the salmon in a steamer basket, pour the marinade on top, and steam until slightly underdone (keep an eye on it, this can happen fast). Pull the salmon out, plate it for a minute to let the juices settle, and serve. If you have two layers in your steamer basket, put some broccoli florets in the top layer and you'll have a complete meal!
posted by vorfeed at 11:16 AM on September 6, 2012

Best answer: this is the recipe that made me start to like salmon.

posted by ibakecake at 11:25 AM on September 6, 2012

We usually cover salmon with mayo and put it in the oven.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:25 AM on September 6, 2012

There's really no need to put any seasonings on salmon or any other fish, except for perhaps salt or soy sauce, or maybe a little lemon.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:26 AM on September 6, 2012 [4 favorites]

I like to make different marinades for salmon each time I cook it. I think last time it was roasted red peppers, feta, and roasted garlic tossed in the food processor (with some salt, pepper, and smoked paprika, i think). Just tossed it on top of the salmon, let it marinade for a bit, then in the oven for 15-20 mins at 400. I've also made an olive tapenade topping that was delicious. It's really up to you--so many options! I like to serve it with mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus. Delicious!
posted by dysh at 11:26 AM on September 6, 2012

For doneness, think of salmon the same way you would think of a nice steak. Cook it to medium rare so that the outside is pink but do that it's still a but red at the very center. This will make whatever else you do to it that much more delicious.
posted by matildatakesovertheworld at 11:28 AM on September 6, 2012

Best answer: How do you know when it is done, but not overcooked?

There's a bit of trial and error, really. The article I linked to suggests, "Roast until centers of thickest part of fillets are still translucent when cut into with paring knife or instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of fillets registers 125 degrees..." When I cook it to those specs, the inside is nice and juicy and the fish is not at all overcooked.

Translucent means when the thickest part still looks a bit raw on the inside (which is good because the fish will continue to cook even after you take it off the heat. Or by temperature, which seems more reliable.
posted by Mercaptan at 11:28 AM on September 6, 2012

Best answer: This sounds really simple but it's really good and my friends always ask for it when they come over.

I basically wrap the fish up in tin foil, squeeze lemon juice onto it, sprinkle it with cilantro, pepper and a bit of salt and bake it until it's done. It usually takes about 10 - 15 minutes at 350 degrees. If you overcook, it's okay because it's wrapped in tin foil and lemon juice, so it won't dry out.
posted by cyml at 11:31 AM on September 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

Fresh dill, chopped coarsely, makes an excellent enhancement to salmon.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:35 AM on September 6, 2012 [4 favorites]

Poach and serve it cold. Basically impossible to overcook, or rather if you overcook it, it remains moist. Really highlights the flavor of wild salmon for those who want just a spritz of lemon, but also provides a nice tableau for a bunch of sauces for people who want to eat fish but don't like fish.

Serve with a sauce gribiche which is fancied up tarter sauce after all. A salsa verde is nice as well. or Dill and Creme Fraiche.
posted by JPD at 11:48 AM on September 6, 2012

oh the other advantage of poaching is that it requires no last minute work.
posted by JPD at 11:50 AM on September 6, 2012

Best answer: Saute that fillet with salt and pepper flesh side down in some olive oil, when it can slide freely in the pan ( I use cast iron) flip it and do the same. You want the skin crispy but not burnt, it's delicious. Take out of pan and add some shallots, saute a bit add white wine and some lemon juice, reduce. Lower heat and whisk in some butter to add body, don't let it boil or simmer.

Pour over salmon, want more, good with capers tossed in too. Again the skin is awesome handled right.
posted by Max Power at 11:57 AM on September 6, 2012

Best answer: This recipe for Salmon with Pecan honey Glaze is fantastic and fast and easy....
posted by HuronBob at 12:11 PM on September 6, 2012

Best answer: I like it poached, too. I make a fragrant poaching liquid with water, soy, ginger, garlic, scallion, chili oil. I cook it for 8 or 9 minutes--I like it rare. Delicious hot, room temp or cold.
posted by feste at 12:33 PM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Just came in to suggest what Rodrigo Lamaitre already said. If it ain't broke, don't fix it; just fry it and provide little dishes of lemon wedges, parsley, dill, and tartar sauce (so people can choose their condiments) and enjoy it the way it is. Fresh, simple salmon is one of the delights of life.

I would serve with tiny baby potatoes and carrots boiled just barely to the point of doneness, with a little rosemary and cracked black pepper, and a green salad- maybe spinach or arugula, but that's because I don't like lettuce. Salmon's hard to do badly; it's really forgiving.

If the above is too much work, place the salmon in a deep oven-safe dish with a sprinkle of salt, a dab of butter, and a squirt of lemon. Cover in foil and cook until there's this weird nasty-looking white residue and the salmon is somewhat flaky. Done!
posted by windykites at 1:54 PM on September 6, 2012

We make a killer salmon that goes as follows:

Pre-heat oven to 350.

Place salmon skin down on baking sheet, season lightly with salt.

Brush with a fair bit of maple syrup. Lay thin slices of lemon on top.

Bake for about 15-20 min depending on thickness.

Done, and wow. Canada style.
posted by tatiana131 at 2:23 PM on September 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: My salmon en croute recipe has gone over well at Metafilter before, so here it is again. It is really easy to throw this together, trust me. And the great thing is you can do all the prep ahead and just bang the thing in the oven at the appropriate time.
posted by Decani at 2:28 PM on September 6, 2012

Oh, I have two excellent recipes.

1). Place slab of salmon on tinfoil. Add whole grain mustard, maple syrup, olive oil, splash of lemon juice, in proportions that make sense to your tastes. Coat with crushed cashews. Wrap foil packet. Grill. I serve this to guests all the time.

2). Cook salmon. Top with sorrel sauce. Sorrel sauce: butter, minced sorrel, splash of white wine, sautéed for about a minute. Done. Excellent. So excellent. Created this recipe out of thin air for dinner tonight and it was phenomenal.
posted by slateyness at 8:14 PM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Isn't the "white residue" fat? I feel like when the fat turns white and bubbles up, you are approaching done-ness. When there's a bunch of that over the whole fish, you're good. I'm not sure if this is different for pan-frying of fish as we mostly grill it.
posted by amanda at 8:19 PM on September 6, 2012

No it is albumin. It's a side effect of overlooking the flesh and proteins coagulating
posted by JPD at 8:28 PM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Gdamn autocorrect overcooking. Those little white bits are considered a sign of overcooked (by french standards) salmon.
posted by JPD at 8:30 PM on September 6, 2012

Really?! Well. Huh. I will look into this.
posted by amanda at 8:41 PM on September 6, 2012

Marinate with maple syrup, soy sauce, peppercorns for an hour or so. Fry in a pan with sesame oil. Done. Seriously, try this--it's phenomenal.
posted by anonnymoose at 8:47 PM on September 6, 2012

There's really no need to put any seasonings on salmon or any other fish, except for perhaps salt or soy sauce, or maybe a little lemon.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:26 AM on September 6 [3 favorites +] [!]

This is the best advice given in my opinion. If you must have some kind of sauce leave it on the side please.

You can steam it , fry it, broil it, or barbecue it, but if you over cook it it is kinda wrecked. Remember that it continues to cook on the plate so slightly under cooked might be perfect. I like it just as it becomes flake-able. (Is that a word?) So experiment with a couple of little pieces and you will figure it out real quick. Yum!

Remember, optional sauce on the side!
posted by snowjoe at 10:12 PM on September 6, 2012

Best answer: First of all, I am not a cook . . but I swear this the world's best recipe for salmon - and it's super easy. I only make enough for two, so you'll have to adjust the amounts and the size of your pan.

Line an 8x8 baking pan with foil and lightly coat with olive oil or spray with Pam.
Place two 6oz salmon fillets, skin side down, on the foil. I like to poke holes in the salmon using a fork - but I really don't know if this makes a difference.
In a bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup of honey, 1/4 cup of Dijon mustard, and 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar.
Pour the mixture over the salmon. Sometimes I'll add a little more balsamic vinegar - I like the salmon to be sitting in a nice big puddle.
Cover the baking pan with more foil and bake at 375 degrees for no more than 20 minutes.
Serve on a bed of wild rice or brown rice and pour the remaining sauce in the baking pan over the salmon. Green beans or glazed carrots on the side make for a beautiful presentation.

On preview I read snowjoe's answer and imagine him shaking his head and muttering "no sauce" but the flavor of this sauce is really delicious and works great with both the salmon and the rice (IMO).
posted by kbar1 at 10:59 PM on September 6, 2012 [5 favorites]

Best answer: This method of cooking fish in cooling waterhttp://blog.khymos.org/2007/03/08/cooking-fish-in-cooling-water/ is an easy way of consistently getting flawlessly cooked fish.
posted by tallus at 11:14 PM on September 6, 2012

Best answer: This is my favorite way to cook it.
posted by Aizkolari at 6:26 AM on September 7, 2012

Best answer: I use a simple technique from Ina Garten.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Heat an oven-safe, dry skillet over high heat for 4 minutes. I use a cast-iron skillet.

Rub the salmon fillets with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

After the 4 minutes, lower the heat to medium and place the salmon in the pan for 2 minutes. Carefully, flip and then put in the oven for 5-7 minutes.

I often make a simple sauce that would please your tartar sauce loving family. I use mayo (or sometimes yogurt or sour cream or a combo), lemon, salt, pepper, and capers, and one garlic clove). This was stolen from a salmon sandwich I had once in Clinton, NJ. It is fresh delicious, let your guests decide whether to use it. I've made this for company many times -- more people, use 2 skillets. And all of them have loved it. The salmon also tastes great the next day cold over a salad.
posted by hrj at 7:00 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: These are wonderful answers and I look forward to cooking salmon more to try them out! Thanks everyone!
posted by Kimberly at 7:19 AM on September 7, 2012

I was always taught to cook it just until the white stuff became visible; I've never heard that it's a sign of overcooking. I learned that overcooking= dryness.
posted by windykites at 8:30 AM on September 7, 2012

well north americans generally prefer their fish more well cooked than the rest of the world. Its not a problem if that's how you like it.
posted by JPD at 8:43 AM on September 7, 2012

I mean its like trying to tell someone a slightly pink middle is medium rare. It isn't but if you like your steak medium well then god speed.

The Albumin leeches out at about 150 degrees or so and Salmon is cooked at something like 135 to 145.
posted by JPD at 8:47 AM on September 7, 2012

3rding the cedar plank. It's really impressive because how often do you have to buy a special plank of wood to cook fish, and it's really easy because, well, you put the fish on a plank and that's a lot of the prep out of the way right there.
posted by town of cats at 12:09 AM on September 8, 2012

Salmon in a Bengali Mustard Sauce.
posted by srboisvert at 10:28 AM on September 9, 2012

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