Salmon is in my top 5 faves, both to make and to eat. I love it for a quick and healthy weeknight dinner, and I think the best way to serve a dinner party crowd is with an impressive (but so easy) whole roasted side of salmon topped with citrus slices. I used to be all about a quick broil with high heat that got the top of the salmon crispy golden-brown and left the inside tender… but then I experimented with this slow-roasting method, and I became an instant convert. Scroll on to see how easy the technique is and find out why I may never make salmon any other way again.
photos by Hannah Haston
Okay, there are two secrets to this recipe that yield the most tender, moist, buttery salmon you’ll ever put in your mouth. First, the slow-roasting technique on a low oven temperature, and second, the abundance of olive oil that gently poaches the salmon without drying it out. Fat-a-phobes, don’t be scared: the salmon doesn’t actually absorb most of the oil. Plus, this kind of fat is really good for you (promise.)
The broiling technique that I used to use was yummy, but the cook time was so fast and if you didn’t take it out of the oven at the exact right time, you’d end up with overly dry fish. This recipe has a lot more room for error; since the cook temperature is so low, if the salmon gets left in the oven for a few extra minutes, no sweat. It’s still gonna be delish, which is perfect for those like me who are constantly getting distracted and forgetting about whatever it is they’ve got going in the oven.
I love casually breaking this one apart into irregular, slightly imperfect pieces to serve. It feels modern and unfussy, and then you can go crazy with scattering fennel fronds and more herbs and extra drizzles of olive oil and more sea salt and pepper. Don’t be afraid to get a little messy.
Feel free to use this technique as inspiration for an endless amount of experimentation! I’ve done a great Asian version where the salmon gets brushed with a soy-sriracha glaze before going in the oven, and next up I’m going to try it with grapefruit slices and a little honey. Just stick to the 275 degree oven temp and the same cook time, and you’ll be good to go. I usually serve this with some roasted broccoli or asparagus on the side, and some quinoa or sweet potato makes it a super satisfying dinner. Read on for the recipe.