Does anyone have a foolproof method for making salmon or halibut filets in the oven? I have a convection oven.

  • Posted by: ATL
  • March 14, 2012


bigpan March 15, 2012
Living a few feet from the Pacific ocean, I cook sockeye salmon and halibut weekly. Both in a 400F oven with a drizzle of oil until done. Done, depending on size of piece means just until crispy on the outside and "wet" in the middle.

Salmon is best as sashimi, halibut too - but very nice from the oven with a squirt of lemon.

Timing depends on your taste, the thickness of the fish, and type of 'cut',

I prefer to leave marinates and sauces away and let the flavor of the fish come out. Enjoy whichever you choose to do.
Greenstuff March 14, 2012
When I really want FOOLPROOF, I slow-roast salmon. I haven't tried it with halibut. Place a shallow pan of water in the lower part of your oven, and heat the oven to 200. The water creates a nice, moist environment. Place salmon (one nice big piece with or without skin is good) in/on another pan, brush with olive oil (and anything else you like), and roast. The foolproof part of the recipe is that at that low heat, you're not going to overcook it. I typically roast a nice big piece of fish for about an hour and then let it rest for 10 minutes. It's also good at room temperature, making it even more foolproof. Delicious and a great dinner party dish--no need to worry about exactly what time you're going to sit down to eat.
pierino March 14, 2012
My answer is closer to SeaJambon's. I use parchment rather than foil (the technique is called "en papillotte"--- in paper). Cooking time will depend on the thickness of the filet but 15 minutes is a good benchmark. Your packages can contain other flavorings; soy glaze, lemon zest, minced shallots, tarragon, dill....your decision.
eggnation March 14, 2012
I used to go salmon fishing with my dad in the seventies, in the Straits of Juan de Fuca, when the coho/silver runs were so plentiful we were allowed four silvers and two kings not in a season, but in each day of sportfishing. Turned out to be bad policy, but anyway, my dad had a veey simple method of baking the salmon that worked even in the crappy little fishing cabin's oven up there at Neah Bay, WA. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil/parchment what have you, and lay your fillet(s) on it, skin side down. Dot the top with butter (I now brush the fillet lightly with a bit of a neutral oil such as grapeseed and dot with less butter). He then sprinkled the top with some bread crumbs mixed with dried spices: (dill, garlic powder, S&P to your liking). He broiled the top for a few minutes, until the bread crumb/spice melted into the butter and formed a thin crust to seal in moisture, then baked the fish (filets should be as even a thickness as possible) for ten to twenty minutes depending on thickness, at maybe 375, if I remember rightly. If you press on the top of the fish and it's pretty firm, no longer squishy, it's probably close to done. Check if you have to to prevent overcooking; using a fork, the fish should flake into layers when it's done, but still have a hint of deeper color in the middle. I know this is far from a sophisticated recipe, but when salmon is fresh caught three hours before, when you can still see a rainbow of translucent color shining brightly in the scales, you want to keep it simple. Serve with lemon wedges. Nowadays, the only change I make is using fresh herbs whenever possible in the seasoned bread crumbs that I also make myself, from the freshest, healthiest white bread I can get.
ATL March 14, 2012
Thanks so much! Very helpful!
SeaJambon March 14, 2012

Decide on your sauce/flavoring (pesto is great; sliced lemons with salt and pepper is also fabulous... many, many ideas). Take a piece of foil quite a bit larger than your filet. Put filet in the middle of the foil. Top with sauce/flavorings. Fold foil into an "envelope" sealing tightly at all the edges. Place in oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. It is nearly "foolproof" as you are actually steaming the fish, and if you forgot and left it in too long it wouldn't be fatal. For example (embarrassing but true) I recently prepared salmon this way (a foil packet for each family member), intentionally preheated the oven a little higher than usual (probably 400), and put the packets in (note: it is a good idea to put the packets on a cookie sheet; no matter how tightly you think you've sealed the foil, it sometimes leaks) and left home to pick up a child from sports practice. I knew I would be gone about 30 minutes, but had intended to turn the oven off and have the fish cook with only the residual heat but forgot (!), so instead, they cooked, hotter than usual, MUCH longer than usual -- AND IT WAS STILL GOOD! Drier than I'd like --yes. But when your teenager not only doesn't complain, but says its good that way, well -- is there higher praise? :)

I learned this technique at my mother's knee, typically with halibut, lemon slices, salt, pepper, and sometimes butter. Since then, our family's favorite is the wild salmon in chimichuri sauce that are in the freezer at Trader Joe's -- cooked in foil packets.

Good luck!
Sam1148 March 14, 2012
I can't speak for salmon. I don't care for it.
Halibut, I prefer pan frying or grilling. To me the oven isn't the best device for fish, with the exception of broiling with high heat from the broiler, as mentioned above.
toocourt March 14, 2012
Season with oil, salt, pepper, spices. Use the broiler- 6 minutes, flip then 3 minutes. You know it's done when a fork comes out with no effort.
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