This baked lemon side of salmon is so easy and I really mean it!
With just 3 ingredients and very little preparation, you can serve this to your guests in under 30 minutes.
Delicious served hot as a main meal or served cold, this recipe is one of my favourites for stress free entertaining. After all, we all need a few easy recipes, don't we?
Perfect for Christmas or Easter entertaining too.
When it comes to fish I always choose salmon and eat it at least twice a week. It's a great one to try for reluctant fish eaters as it tends to have less bones and a less fishy taste than many other varieties.
It is so versatile and holds its shape well, so if you are new to cooking fish salmon is a good place to start.
We always have fish on Christmas eve and at Easter too and this recipe is ideal. It's practically foolproof and cooked so quickly so you can spend more time with guests and less in the kitchen.
- Side of salmon - I normally buy these frozen as it's better value.
- Lemons - this dish is so simple so fresh lemons with give it great taste and keep the flesh really moist.
- Tarragon - the slightly aniseed flavour of tarragon goes really well with fish.
- Seasoning - flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
See recipe card for quantities.
- Large heavy oven tray - about 40 cm wide.
- Wide foil - if you don't have this just join 2 pieces together by folding the edges over twice to secure. If you prefer not to use foil then use baking parchment.
Line the oven tray with enough foil to cover the salmon generously.
Pat the salmon dry with kitchen paper. Leave the skin in place as it helps to keep the fish together while its cooking. It will be easy to serve the fish and leave the skin behind when you serve.
Zest and juice one of the lemons and slice the other two. Take care to remove the pips.
Chop a tablespoon of the tarragon and put the remaining leaves on the foil, then lay the salmon on top. I find that often the salmon fits better on the diagonal of the tray.
💭 Top tip
- Run clean fingertips across the flesh of the salmon to see if there are any obvious bones. You should be able to just pull them out with your fingers, but I prefer to keep a set of tweezers for this purpose in the kitchen to make this easier.
Pour the lemon juice over the salmon and season with the salt and pepper.
Arrange the lemon slices over the top then sprinkle over the chopped tarragon and lemon zest.
Pull together the long foil edges and fold them over, leaving plenty of air in the parcel. This will allow the steam to circulate to cook the salmon and keep it moist.
Fold over the ends so that none of the juices escape.
💭 Top tip
- This form of cooking is known as en papillote by its French name and it's perfect for cooking fish without the need to add any butter or oil. The contents of the parcel are baked and steamed at the same time.
⏲️ Baking time
Bake in a preheated oven at 180C/350F/160FAN/Gas4 for about 20 minutes.
If the salmon is more than 2 cm thick it may take slightly longer to cook through, so you may need to return it to the oven for 5 minute increments. Keep in mind that it will continue to cook when you take it out of the oven too.
Open the salmon in foil carefully, as the steam will be very hot. The salmon will easily slide onto a plate for serving.
🥗 Side dishes
- Watercress sauce - this is a simple combination of crème fraîche, lemon and freshly chopped watercress. It's delicious served over hot or cold salmon.
- Boiled new potatoes - tossed in butter.
- Green salad - a combination of lettuce and cucumber is light and refreshing.
- Roasted green beans and asparagus. Trim the ends and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and roast at the same time as the salmon.
- Side of salmon - use portions of salmon fillet if you prefer. This will make serving onto individual plates even easier.
- Tarragon - try dill, parsley or basil instead.
- Lemon juice - swap for 3 tablespoons dry white wine
- Baked lemon and garlic salmon - add 2 cloves of crushed garlic
- Baked honey and garlic salmon - mix 2 tablespoons of honey with garlic and brush over the salmon.
Let any leftover salmon cool to room temperature and then cover and store in the fridge for up to 3 days of up to 1 month in the freezer.
Cooked salmon can be used for sandwiches, salads, quiches and pasta dishes too.
Try using individual chicken breast on a bed of sliced leeks and small broccoli florets and make individual parcels for each person for a delicious change and easy cleaning up!
This is also a great way to cook pork chops. Try brushing with honey and adding finely sliced onions, peppers, garlic and mushrooms.
Baked Lemon Side of Salmon
- wide foil
- large oven tray about 40 cm wide
- 1.2 kg side of salmon
- 3 lemons
- 1 bunch fresh tarragon
- 2 teaspoon flaked sea salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Line the oven tray with enough foil to cover the salmon generously.
- Pat the salmon dry with kitchen paper and leave the skin in place.
- Zest and juice one of the lemons and slice the other two.
- Chop a tablespoon of the tarragon and put the remaining leaves on the foil, then lay the salmon on top.
- Pour the lemon juice over the salmon and season with the salt and pepper.
- Arrange the lemon slices over the top then sprinkle over the chopped tarragon and lemon zest.
- Pull together the long foil edges and fold them over, leaving plenty of air in the parcel. Fold over the ends.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 180C/350F/160FAN/Gas4 for about 20 minutes.
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods.
- Never leave cooking food unattended'
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds.
- Always have good ventilation when using gas.
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