This is one of the best methods for cooking extremely moist and tender salmon. It’s quick, easy, and cleanup is a breeze!
When I was young, my mom would let us choose what we wanted her to prepare for our birthday dinner each year. From as far back as I can remember, I always asked for salmon. Kind of weird for a kid, I know, but her simply prepared, amazingly delicious salmon made me a fish lover from a very young age. She baked it simply, without any heavy seasonings, allowing the delicious flavor of the salmon to shine through. It became my favorite meal and it is still at the tippy top of my list.
Salmon is a very low maintenance fish and needs very little to make it happy. A little salt and pepper, some butter and garlic, and definitely a squeeze of fresh lemon juice is enough. It is the baking method that is the key to a good result and baking it in foil is the most fool-proof, simple method around for creating incredibly moist, melt-in-your-mouth fish. If you’ve had issues with your salmon ending up dry, you need to give this method a try.
Let’s do it!
I like to pick up one of these great big salmon fillets at Costco on nearly every visit. They run in the 2 to 3 pound range and will comfortably serve 4 to 6. They carry these massive fillets in different varieties including farmed Atlantic and fresh wild Coho.
Start by laying a very large piece of heavy duty foil over the top of a rimmed baking sheet and lay the salmon fillet, skin-side down, on the foil. In a small saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons butter with a teaspoon of minced garlic. Allow it to simmer for a few minutes until the garlic is fragrant. Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool for several minutes.
Once the garlic butter mixture has slightly cooled, pour it over the top and season the salmon fillet with salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste.
Enclose the salmon in the heavy duty foil, folding the edges up and over to secure it. Pop it in a preheated 400 F degree oven and let it bake for about 12 to 15 minutes. Check it at the lower range of the cooking time to avoid over cooking. You’ll know the salmon is done when it flakes easily and is no longer dark pink in the center.
Spoon the garlic butter sauce over the cooked fish and then squeeze the juice from one lemon over the top. I like to add the lemon juice after I pull it out of the oven to keep the flavor bright and fresh.
It’s a rare thing for me to serve fish in this house without making Creamy Dill Sauce to serve along with it. It is the perfect complement to simply baked fish.
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- 2 to 2-1/2 pound salmon fillet
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 3 fresh lemons
- Creamy Dill Sauce (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.
- Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add minced garlic and allow to simmer for a minute or two until fragrant. Remove from heat. Allow mixture to cool for 2 or 3 minutes.
- Lay a piece of foil large enough to fully enclose your salmon on a rimmed baking sheet. Place salmon on the foil and pour the slightly cooled butter/garlic mixture over the top. Season the salmon with sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste. Enclose the salmon completely in the foil, folding over the ends to seal in the sauce. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until salmon is fully cooked through, flakes easily, and is no longer dark pink in center.
- Remove baking sheet from oven and allow to sit for a minute or two. Open foil and spoon garlic butter sauce over the salmon. Squeeze the juice from one lemon over the top.
- Cut remaining two lemons into quarters. Serve salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce and extra lemons on the side.