The first and most important thing I learned about cooking fish, is that you should only buy the freshest fish you can, and then cook it the day you buy it.
The second most important thing I learned is that salmon can smell up the house if you cook it on the stove-top, so unless you can easily air out your kitchen, it's best to poach it, or bake it in the oven.
Actually, I learned both tips from my father, who, in spite of being raised in land-locked Minnesota, loves all forms of seafood, and has a keen eye for freshness and high standards when it comes to fish.
Easy Foil Wrapped Baked Salmon
Here is a kitchen aroma friendly way to prepare salmon fillets. It's also incredibly easy and delicious!
In this recipe we prepare julienned bell peppers and thinly sliced leeks, gently cooked in butter and olive oil. Then we create a bed of the cooked peppers and leeks on a large piece of aluminum foil, top it with a salmon fillet, and wrap up the salmon in the foil. Bake it for 10-12 minutes and it's done!
The salmon cooks in its own juices while the foil makes sure none of the flavor escapes.
Tarragon is especially good with salmon prepared this way, but if you don't have any you can easily use thyme.
Foil Baked Salmon With Leeks and Bell Peppers
- 1 1/2 to 2 pounds (680 to 900 g) of salmon fillets, cut into 4 portions
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large red, yellow, or orange bell peppers, cored and sliced (about 3 cups)
- 3 medium leeks, cleaned and sliced, white and light green parts only (see How to Clean Leeks)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried tarragon (can sub thyme)
- 4 teaspoons dry vermouth or dry white wine (optional)
- 4 lemon wedges
Sauté leeks and bell peppers:
In a large sauté pan, heat the butter and olive oil on medium heat until the butter is melted and foamy. Stir in the sliced leeks and bell peppers, sprinkle with salt and dried tarragon, and gently cook until completely soft, 10 to 15 minutes.
Prepare foil packets:
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Prepare 12x12-inch foil pieces for each of the salmon fillets. Portion out the leek and bell pepper mixture evenly onto the centers of each of the foil pieces. Top with a salmon fillet. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Sprinkle each fillet with a teaspoon of dry vermouth or white wine if using.
Fold up the foil packets to allow some room over the salmon, but seal so that steam is not allowed to escape. (There are many ways to fold the foil, do which ever way works best for you!)
Place the salmon filled foil packets on a baking sheet and place in the oven in the middle rack. Bake at 375°F (190°C) about 12 to 15 minutes, or until just barely cooked through.
Sprinkle with lemon juice to serve or serve with lemon wedges.