Quick Salmon Recipe

October 14, 2014

quick and easy Salmon with Chives and Lemon


Guys, I want to teach you a technique.  The quick and easy salmon recipe is baked salmon with lemon + chives.

The lemon + chives are a bonus.  But you can do this with salt + olive oil and nothing else.  You can do with simply with lemon zest and no chives.  You could even sprinkle with cayenne.

And it will be delicious.

Two keys to success:

  • Not over baking the fish.
  • Using enough salt: the ratio for 1/3 pound of fish is 1/4 tsp.  You can probably safely go up to 1/3 tsp salt.  1/3 lb of fish is roughly one portion of fish)

Seriously, when I made the salmon in the pic above, I had two pieces: one came out slightly underseasoned with salt, and the other was perfectly seasoned.  It’s just salt but it made a HUGE difference in the final result.

I only use Diamond Kosher Crystal salt to season food.  It’s a chef thing.  And a great salt for seasoning.

You need a cookie sheet and a microplane zester.  If you don’t have one, you should.

The microplane zester is in my top 5 kitchen tools.

Don’t use farmed salmon.  Use whatever wild salmon you can find – Whole Foods has decent frozen wild @ $11 for 12ounces – roughly 3 portions.  If you have frozen fish in the freezer, it takes 1 hour to defrost.  15 minutes to prepare it this.  It’s an excellent way to make a genuinely quick weeknight meal seem fancy.

The idea is for you to know how to cook the fish without a darn recipe.  Because looking at recipes takes time.  And when you understand how to really cook an ingredient you begin to rely less on recipes and you start to rely on your ability to cook.

Here’s the lowdown.

Cooking for 1?

Use 1/3 to 1/2 lb salmon.

Cooking for 2?

Use 2/3 to 1lb of salmon cut up in two portions.

Cooking for 4?

Use 1.5 to 2 lbs of salmon cut up in 4 portions.


  • Olive oil
  • Fish for 1, 2, 3 or 4
  • Salt, preferably Diamond Crystal
  • Lemon, 1
  • Handful chopped chives (optional)


  • Cookie sheet
  • Microplane Zester
  • Measuring spoons


  1. Place your fish skin side down on a cookie sheet.  Heat your oven to 275 –> the low heat is the #1 principle of this technique.
  2. Drizzle about 1.5-2 tablespoon of olive oil per pound on the salmon.  This doesn’t need to be exact but don’t use any less.
  3. For 1 pound of salmon, use 1 tsp. of salt.  You can also add a tiny pinch of cayenne for a boost of flavor.
  4. Now take your lemon + microplane zester: grate lemon zest on your fish.  You will need about 1/2 lemon per pound of fish but add to taste, which means add more of you want your fish to be lemony, less if you don’t.
  5. Place the fish in the oven for 10-12 minutes.
  6. Do you see the way white bubbles appear at the bottom of the fish above?  This is your cue that the fish is ready.  If there are too many of those, your fish is overcooked.  Bigger pieces of fish may take 1-2 minutes more, but don’t let it go more than 13 minutes.

You can serve the fish with a sprinkle of chives and squeeze of lemon juice.  You can sprinkle a pinch of finishing salt, like Maldon.

But you don’t have to do any of that.

The beauty of this technique is that while the fish may not appear fully cooked: it is.

If you see the pic above the fish itself has not changed much in color as you would if you baked at a higher temp.  But this is also what keeps the fish moist and the texture beautiful.

This is a great technique for fattier fish – halibut would be good too.  But I don’t see tilapia, sole, catfish or other fish working with this technique.

Mastering this technique helps you look way fancier than you are in the kitchen.

Know how much you need, how much salt needs to be on the fish, and watch it so that it doesn’t develop too many white bubbles.

That’s it. A quick salmon recipe 15 minutes to done!

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