Oven-roasted Salmon, Cook's Illustrated


For an oven-roasted salmon recipe that would give us a nicely browned exterior and a silky, moist interior, we developed a hybrid roasting method, preheating the oven to 500 degrees but then turning down the heat to 275 just before placing the fish in the oven. The initial blast of high heat firmed the exterior and rendered some excess fat. The fish gently cooked in the oven and stayed moist as the temperature slowly dropped. Our oven-roasted salmon recipe was complete when we added an easy relish with acidity and bright flavor to balance the richness of the fish.


  • 1 skin-on salmon fillet (1 ¾ to 2 pounds), about 1 ½ inches at thickest part (see note)
  • 2teaspoons olive oil
  • Salt and ground black pepper



To ensure uniform pieces of fish that cook at the same rate, buy a whole center-cut fillet and cut it into 4 pieces. If your knife is not sharp enough to easily cut through the skin, try a serrated knife. It is important to keep the skin on during cooking; remove it afterward if you choose not to serve it. To serve, top with any of the related relishes.

1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees. Following step by step illustrations below, use sharp knife to remove any whitish fat from belly of fillet and cut into 4 equal pieces. Make 4 or 5 shallow slashes about an inch apart along skin side of each piece, being careful not to cut into flesh.

2. Pat salmon dry with paper towels. Rub fillets evenly with oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Reduce oven temperature to 275 degrees and remove baking sheet. Carefully place salmon skin-side down on baking sheet. Roast until centers of thickest part of fillets are still translucent when cut into with paring knife or instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of fillets registers 125 degrees, 9 to 13 minutes. Transfer fillets to individual plates or platter. Top with relish (see related recipes) and serve.

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