Want an easy but delish dish for a date night? Salmon, baby.
Don’t be fooled by the fancy-ness. YOU CAN DO THIS. It may sound like a lot of information but I’m the kinda gal that needs to see the whole picture, all details, the ins and outs of what I’m doing to be comfortable. Maybe you’re a gal like me.
Let’s start out by looking at our salmon. Below you’ll see two fillets of salmon with the skin on. This started out as one long fillet that I saw through the glass at the seafood section of our local grocery store. I asked for it to be cut in half because I don’t have a rimmed pan that’s long enough for the whole thing and also I was only cooking for 3. So we have here 2.25 lbs. of salmon fillet – a little over 1 lb. each.
I’m using only one of these chunks (a little over a pound) which is perfect for 3 large servings or 4 regular sized servings in my opinion. Look at the pink flesh closely. Besides checking if it’s clean (obvi) look at where there’s a break in the flesh – this is where the bones have been plucked out. You’ll want to give it a good look over and see if any bones remain. Most of the time I find nothing but other times I find one or two that were hidden. They can be tough to get out so you may even need pliers!
This recipe is an adaptation of one I saw on The Kitchn for Foolproof Salmon Baked with Olive Oil & Herbs. I added a few things and adjusted measurements to what suits my hungry little tastebuds. I pretty much read anything The Kitchn puts out because it’s informative, fun to read, and makes me feel more legit as a home cook. Maybe you want to feel more legit too? Then follow along.
Preheat your over to 250 degrees. Line a rimmed baking pan with foil and drop 1/4 cup olive oil before laying the fillet skin-side down. It sits right in the oil which will keep it nice and moist.
Salt it like crazy. If this is your first time baking salmon you might be surprised at how much salt it would take to make it too salty. Regular table salt is fine but I used kosher because I like how the flecks stay visible and I can more easily tell how much is on the fillet. I also peppered mine but when I’m cooking for my son I use less or leave it out completely since he seems to be extra aware of the tiniest hint of black pepper.
Set the whole pan aside and gather up the rest of your ingredients. We need lemon zest so whip out a zester or grater or even a vegetable peeler if that’s all you got. If you’re super awesome you already have one of these babies…
Wash the lemon and start zestin’. Be careful not to dig too deep because the zesty yumminess is only on the very outside – the yellow. The white is bitter. Bleh. If using a vegetable peeler just try your best.
Once you’ve made the whole lemon “naked” you can toss the zest right into a food processor along with the juice of that same lemon. I use a mesh strainer over a bowl as I juice any fruit so I don’t end up with seeds. You don’t have to go to such great lengths. Just squeeze it right over the processor if you want. I’m just a freak.
- 1½ pounds fresh salmon fillet
- ¼ cup and 2 tablespoons olive oil (separated)
- 1 lemon (juice and zest)
- 1 cup fresh dill (loosely packed)
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- ¼ of a medium sized onion
- pepper (optional)
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line a rimmed baking pan with foil and pour in ¼ cup olive oil. Lay fillet skin side down onto oil and salt liberally. Add pepper (optional). Set aside.
- Place the lemon zest, lemon juice, dill, pine nuts, onion, and 2 tablespoons olive oil into a food processor and grind until a chunky paste forms. Pat paste over the salmon covering the top completely. Bake 25 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to platter or direct to plate.