Salmon is one of the healthiest and most luxurious foods available, and it is a fish that finds itself in popping up in cuisine all over the planet. When it comes to choosing the fish that has the most omega-3 fatty acids and other health benefits, nothing can beat salmon. One of the best – and healthiest – ways to prepare salmon is to bake it, and while many people are unaware of how long salmon should be baked, it is actually a very easy, straight-forward process. So how long to bake salmon?
This question does not have a straightforward answer, as the length of baking depends on multiple factors. For instance, will the salmon be marinated before cooking? If so, the cooking time will likely increase. Did you just take the salmon out of the refrigerator? If so, again you will have to increase the cooking time. Only by taking the steps that professionals recommend can you decide upon how long to bake salmon.
SHOULD I USE A MARINADE?
Professional chefs recommend that salmon should not be marinated before baking. While many people do in fact utilize this method, it is counterproductive as it will negatively affect the way the salmon cooks, causing the outside to be overdone and the inside to still be raw. If you choose to add the flavor of a marinade, it is best to baste the salmon with it once it is almost done cooking, as this will not affect the internal temperature and will actually cause the flavors of the marinade to come through more than if you were to marinate the fish.
COOKING SALMON CORRECTLY
The best way to be sure that your salmon is perfectly cooked is to use a simple cooking method. Since salmon cooks rather quickly, you will want to heat your oven to the relatively high temperature of four-hundred degrees Fahrenheit. Allow the oven at least thirty minutes to warm up before cooking your salmon, as this will ensure that the oven temperature is stable and will not decrease significantly when a piece of cold fish is placed inside.
Speaking of cold fish, you will want to pull you salmon out of the refrigerator at least thirty minutes before cooking. This will ensure that the temperature of the fish is stable throughout; when taken directly out of the refrigerator, the middle will always be colder than the outside and will result in a raw middle when cooked.
PREPARING YOUR SALMON
Take the fish out of the fridge thirty minutes before cooking and liberally season it with salt and pepper. The best way to cook salmon is directly on a rack in your oven. By using this method, you can ensure that the entire exterior of the salmon will be caramelized. Place the room-temperature salmon on a rack and close the oven tightly. Generally, salmon should be cooked to be no more than one-hundred and forty-five degrees in the very center, or medium rare. There are a few ways to ensure this happens. The safest way is to cook the salmon for ten to fifteen minutes and begin checking with a thermometer. A thermometer will ensure that your salmon is the right temperature, and will eliminate the need for guesswork.
Otherwise, you can use the salmon’s flakiness as an indicator. After ten of fifteen minutes in the oven, begin to check for flakiness. If the salmon flakes easily, this is an indication that the center is cooked through. Check with a fork and knife to be sure.