Simple Baked Salmon with Lemon

Salmon is a tasty, healthy dinner option that’s loaded with protein and healthy fats. It doesn’t take many ingredients to create a flavorful meal with this powerhouse fish. Some salt, pepper, and lemon are all you need for perfectly cooked salmon fillets in 15 minutes.

Health Benefits Of Salmon

The health benefits of salmon cannot be understated. Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and B vitamins, salmon is a powerhouse cuisine. Omega-3 fatty acids are considered “essential,” which means that the human body does not produce them on its own and they must be consumed. Eating two servings of salmon per week is all you need to get your recommended dose of omega-3s.

Salmon is also an excellent source of protein. A 3.5-ounce piece of salmon contains 22 – 25 grams of protein. Unlike red meats, salmon is incredibly low in saturated fat. About 80 percent of the fat in salmon is unsaturated, as compared to about 50 percent in red meat. What’s more, salmon is low in calories! A 3.5-ounce piece of wild salmon contains 182 calories. Compare that with a 3.5-ounce beef patty, which clocks in at almost 300 calories. This is useful information if you’re accustomed to checking nutrition facts on your meals.

Loaded with vitamins like selenium and vitamin B, salmon is also known for decreasing inflammation in the body, reducing the risk of cancer, lowering blood pressure, and nourishing your brain and nervous system.

Baked Salmon And Citrus

In addition to its health benefits, it’s also worth mentioning that salmon and citrus together are totally delicious! Baked salmon pairs particularly well with citrus fruits like lemon (as seen in this recipe). For a different variation, try pairing salmon with orange or grapefruit!

Baked Salmon Side Dishes

The simplicity of this salmon recipe would go well with a variety of different side dishes, such as grilled asparagus and fennel, wild rice pilaf, or roasted fingerling potatoes. For a lighter option, try substituting the wild rice pilaf for cauliflower rice. Pro tip: A food processor makes quick work of ricing raw cauliflower, but be sure to work in batches.

Baked Salmon Variations

If you’re not a fan of salmon, feel free to make this easy recipe using a different type of fish. Our recommendations would be cod, halibut, or tilapia. Pro tip: Since white fish is less oily than salmon, be sure to watch carefully while baking so the fillets don’t dry out.

If you’d prefer to cook the salmon on the stovetop rather than the oven, use an uncoated pan (such as a cast iron skillet) for the best sear. Heat a little avocado oil in the skillet (make sure it’s ripping hot) and place the salmon filet in the pan, skin side down. Pro tip: use an oil with a high smoke point, such as avocado oil, for searing your fish.

Before you put the salmon in the skillet, check to make sure it’s hot enough. Do this by heating the oil and flick a tiny bit of water into it; if the water bounces and pops, the skillet is ready for salmon. Cook the salmon skin-side down until the salmon is almost completely cooked through. Then flip it over and sear the top of the fish (the fleshy part) for one minute. Plate and immediately squeeze fresh lemon juice on top of the salmon. Serve with fresh lemon wedges.

Ingredients

  • 4 salmon fillets (Atlantic, 5 oz each)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 lemon (large)

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Rinse the salmon filets under cool water. Gently pat them dry with paper towels, then place on the baking sheet, skin side down.
  4. Using a butter knife or the back of a spoon, gently spread an equal amount of the softened butter over the top of each salmon filet.
  5. Sprinkle the top of the salmon with the salt and black pepper, to taste.
  6. Slice the lemon into 12 rounds, a scant ¼” thick.
  7. Lay three lemon slices directly on top of each salmon filet.
  8. Transfer the baking sheet to the preheated oven.
  9. Bake the salmon for 12-15 minutes on the middle rack of the oven, until it flakes easily with a fork.
  10. Remove the baking sheet from the oven.
  11. Plate and serve immediately.

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