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How To Catch and Bake a Fish

by Lori on January 22nd, 2011

Salmon is served

For our 10-year anniversary, we took a trip to Seattle. One of the things we were looking forward to was visiting Pike Place Market to watch the famous fish-throwing mongers in action. But when we arrived, we learned there was a catch.

The Catch

You had to buy an entire fish before the mongers would do the fish-throwing routine. I guess it makes sense. It is probably not as exciting to watch a half-pound salmon filet soar through the air as it would be an entire twenty-pound salmon. But since it was just the two of us, and we were only in town a couple of more days, there was no way we could buy and consume an entire fish.

So we waited, with bated breath and camera in hand, for some other hungry family to come along and buy an entire fish. After a short while, someone did, and we got to see the show. Ken also caught this picture of the fish in mid air.


The Moral of the Story

Sometimes it pays to be patient. Had we rushed off after learning about “the catch,” we would have never caught the show.

About the Recipe

So after the show, we picked up our two, small salmon filets, and headed back to the bungalow we had rented to bake them. The recipe I used is one I use so much I knew it by heart. It’s Garlic Salmon from Allrecipes.

The Cast of Characters

For this demonstration, since I am no longer on vacation in Seattle, I had to get by with frozen salmon from the grocery store here in Iowa. As far as frozen fish goes, this brand was pretty good. However, if you live on the coast and have access to fresh fish, all the better. In the meantime, feel free to pity me because I’m in the Midwest and am making due with frozen.

Frozen salmon filets

The Play-by-Play

If using frozen salmon, thaw it per the packaging instructions before you begin. Then preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Line the bottom of a 9×13 pan with foil, and drizzle olive oil over the foil to prevent the fish from sticking. Place two half-pound salmon filets skin side down on the foil.

Fish on foil

Then sprinkle the fish with chopped garlic and green onion, and sprinkle with dried dill. The original recipe calls for three chopped cloves and two green onions. But we are garlic- and onion-loving folk, so I normally double that. Then, if you have fresh dill, by all means use it. Unfortunately, when I made this, I was lacking both fresh salmon and fresh dill, so I just sprinkled it with some dried dill.

Salmon with garlic and green onion

Finally, place a couple of thinly sliced lemons on top the fish.
Salmon filets topped with lemon

Now, place another piece of foil on top and tightly seal the edges. This will keep the salmon moist as it “steams” in the oven.
Salmon packets in the oven

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until you can flake the salmon with a fork.
Salmon packet surprise

The Footnotes

Here are a few things I’ve learned about this recipe over the years of making it:

  • Fresh or frozen fish: This recipe works well either way you go. If you go with frozen, just thaw it first.
  • Salmon, halibut or cod: This recipe also works with a variety of types of fish. These are a few of the varieties I’ve tried, but I’m sure it would work well with others too.
  • Dried or fresh dill: It works either way. If using dried, I don’t really measure the amount. I just sprinkle what I think looks good over the fish.
  • Lemon slices: The trick is to slice them thinly. The first few times I made this, I sliced the lemon too thickly, so it took longer for the fish underneath to cook. I eventually had to move the lemons to the side so the fish could finish baking.
  • Steam burns: You’ll want to avoid these by opening the tin foil packet carefully after it is done baking.

The Recipe: Garlic Salmon

Catch the complete recipe for Garlic Salmon at Allrecipes.

What’s your favorite way to bake a fish?

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