Perfectly Baked Salmon

I’m not much of a baker. Truth be known, I rarely even bake cookies. Cake? Maybe a few times a year. Pie? Hold on a sec …. I need to regain my composure … pie? Hahahaha. Like one I make myself or do the ones that Marie Calendar so kindly makes for the freezer section of my grocery store count? Because I do not bake pies. Well, once a year I do buy Pillsbury pre-made crust and fill it with berries or peaches or apples. Does that count?

Moving on … so I’m not much of a baker when it comes to desserts, nor do I use the oven to bake other dishes on a regular basis. Alas, every now and then the simplicity of putting something into the oven is exactly what I need … and as we’re heading in to the tail end (pun intended) of salmon season, I’m going to bake this amazing Copper River Sockeye, rather than grill it besides, with fall on the horizon and cooler temperatures around the corner, cooking indoors is far more appealing than grilling. So below, are three super easy, super fun, super good ways to bake salmon but first, a little bit about Alaska salmon.

There are no salmon farms in Alaska (nor are there any fin-fish farms) so if you see salmon, regardless of the variety, that hails from our 49th state, you can be assured its wild-caught.

Alaska’s Prince William Sound is home to the Copper River—a glacial-fed river with a nearly 35-mile-wide gorge where the river dumps over 500,000 cubic feet of water per second into the Gulf of Alaska, and where thousands of young salmon leave their birthplace in the Copper to feed at sea for the next few years. Then, some two to seven years later, the now-adult salmon leave the Gulf to make their 300-mile-long journey home to spawn—an arduous task fueled by their high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, an inimitable trait that makes salmon, especially those from the Copper River, one of the most coveted of all seafoods, worldwide. So next time you’re in the grocery store, ask if they have any Copper River salmon OR just Google “where to buy Copper River salmon” and you’ll easily find retailers ready to ship fresh fish directly to you. 

Perfectly Baked Salmon

PREP TIME: 15 minutes | COOK TIME: 30 minutes

  • Salmon fillets
  • Cooking spray or olive oil
  • One half a stick butter (preferably non-dairy) cut into squares
  • One lemon, sliced
  • 2-3 TBS Herbs de Provence

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray bottom of oven-safe dish and place salmon skin-side down. Sprinkle with seasoning. Place butter pads evenly over fish and interspersed lemon slices. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 15-20 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillet. Done!

Honey Mustard Baked Salmon

I’m not going to lie. This isn’t my favorite way to cook salmon. Heck, it’s not even in my top 10. Or top 20 for that matter. But almost everyone I know absolutely raves about this flavor profile so I’m putting it out here because if it appeals to you, then you should definitely try it because I seem to be in the minority.

PREP TIME: 20 minutes | COOK TIME: 25 minutes

  • Salmon fillets cut into single servings
  • 1 C panko (or other bread crumbs)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 head garlic, minced
  • 2-3 Tbs parsley, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup honey mustard

Combine chopped parsley, lemon juice, minced garlic and panko in a bowl. Toss with 2-3 Tbs olive oil. Set aside. Heat cast iron skillet or Dutch oven to med-high, with 3-4 Tbs olive oil. Place salmon, skin-side down, on wax paper or whatever you want, you’re not cooking on it, just prepping. I used a pink cutting board Spoon enough honey mustard onto each filet so it spreads thin and even. Then press equal amounts of panko mixture on each filet. Transfer to cast iron skillet and sear skin for 3-4 minutes. Remove from stove top and put skillet or Dutch oven, uncovered, in the oven where it will finish cooking for 15 minutes. Done. Serve with whatever sides you like but I suggest something simple as the salmon itself has a lot of flavors. Enjoy!

Panko-crusted Parmesan Salmon

Don’t like the whole mustard idea? Add a little Parmesan (preferably non-dairy) and replace mustard with Veganaise. Lightly brush tops of fillets with the mayo then coat with Parmesan-Panko mixture. Cook the same way as described above! Serve with whatever floats your boat : )

DISCLAIMER: Our recipes are just that, ours. Some are modified versions of dishes we’ve had elsewhere or old-favorites that contained animal proteins, while others are a concentrated effort of trial and error. But all are intended to be altered by you and made to suit your tastes. So if you want more garlic or none at all, go for it. You do you ; ) 

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