What to CookSalmon

Your Fish Roasting Cheat Sheet (& a One-Pan Salmon Dinner)

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My simplest, most nutritious dinner goes like this: Throw olive oil-tossed broccoli in a big sheet pan and put it in the oven; microwave-defrost a frozen fish fillet that's been sitting in the freezer; salt, pepper, maybe Old Bay it; let it join the broccoli; take it all out and throw a chile vinaigrette over it all. It's done in 30 minutes.

It was only a matter of time before I realized not all fillets of fish cook equal. My method worked well for cod, but when salmon went in the oven, I got impatient, and so did the broccoli, charring away in a decidedly unstylish manner.

Garlicky Salmon with Ginger, Lime & Peanuts
Garlicky Salmon with Ginger, Lime & Peanuts

Enter the very handy Fish Roasting Cheat Sheet, courtesy of Rukmini Iyer's new book Dinner's in the Oven (Chronicle Books), out March 6. The pop art-like book is full of simple but effective, choose-your-own-adventure tips, as well as actual recipes. (We've got both for you.)

But first things first: Memorize—or print, or bookmark, or keep referencing—the following list. Get it tattooed.

The Fish Roasting Cheat Sheet

Iyer ends with a note: "The thinner your fillet, the quicker it will cook, no matter the weight. A cod fillet cut from the tail, which is thinner, will cook faster than one cut from the middle, which is thicker, even though they might both weigh 4 ounces (125g), so bear this in mind when using the chart."

Since everyone's oven is different, keep a close eye on the fish in the last five minutes of it's cook time, cutting a fillet and checking out the inside to check for doneness. Take the time to learn your oven's hot spots (and eat a lot of toast while doing so).

If you want a recipe to guide you before you start riffing, try this garlicky steam-roasted salmon with broccoli and a vinaigrette of lime, ginger, chile, and peanuts.

Garlicky Salmon with Ginger, Lime & Peanuts

Garlicky Salmon with Ginger, Lime & Peanuts

Food52 Food52
Serves 4
  • 1 small head broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 tablespoons sesame or vegetable oil
  • 4 salmon fillets (about 1 3/4 ib)
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 fresh red chile, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) vegetable oil
  • Zest and juice of 2 limes
  • 1/2 cup (30g) finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 6 tablespoons (55g) roughly chopped peanuts
Go to Recipe

Tell us about your roasted fish dinners in the comments!

Automagic Spring Menu Maker!
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Seafood, Sheet Pan, Dinner, Faster