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I have an Atlantic salmon fillet in my frig at the moment, but I really have no idea what the normal cooking temperature and time are for a salmon fillet.

What's the best temp and time to cook a 1lb salmon fillet in the oven?

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Why cook in the oven? My favorite is fried in butter :) –  zanlok Jan 19 '11 at 21:31
    
For some reason frying stuff scares me, and I've become obsessed with the oven. It's the lazy mans grill! –  Mark Rogers Jan 19 '11 at 21:33

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

When you're determining the doneness by time, you're doing it wrong :)

There are too many differences between individual fish to go just by weight, thickness, oven temperature, and time. The best way is to measure the internal temperature (stick a thermometer into the thickest part of the fillet); I like about 120 F (50 C) for salmon (carryover cooking raises the temperature a little higher after taking it out of the pan), but then it has to be good quality fish. You need to check early and often, because it can go from undercooked to overcooked fairly quickly. Now, like zanlok says, my experience is mostly with pan frying, and I'd expect using the oven would be a bit slower than using a pan because of slower heat transfer; so you should be a bit safer.

If you don't have a meat thermometer, an easy way to test fish for doneness is to look for translucency. Salmon can still be just a little translucent in the middle. Also, properly done fish flakes along the natural "seams". Another nice trick (which doesn't work for boneless fillets - sorry) is to find a bone in the thickest part of the fish: if it comes out fairly easily, then the connective tissues have mostly dissolved and it's done.

That leaves the temperature for your oven. I would go with very high - that way the fish gets the least possible time to dry out (which is going to be a big risk with this cooking method, I would think - unless you wrap your salmon in bacon or something like that). At a guess, I'd try 450 F (230 C).

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Salmon needs to be significantly overcooked before drying out, since it's so fatty. I usually cook it at 350 F, and check often. Otherwise, your comments are spot on. –  Martha F. Jan 20 '11 at 14:59
    
Thanks @Martha, that makes sense. –  Erik P. Jan 21 '11 at 4:01

I wrapped the fillet in foil and cooked it for 42 minutes at about 375°F (190°C).

It was delicious.

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