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If I need to cook salmon in the oven at 375° for 15 to 20 minutes and crab cakes at 400° for 20 to 25 minutes, what do I do?

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    Can you tell us what you're cooking? You definitely have some latitude to overlap two items at the same time, but what they are will help dictate how you do it. – Jason Schock Mar 23 '15 at 22:39
  • Do you have a regular or convection oven? – Catija Mar 24 '15 at 2:05
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  • Set shelves high and low.
  • Preheat to 400.
  • Put in the crab cakes for 5 minutes on top
  • Turn down to 387.5 ;-)
  • Put salmon in on lower shelf.
  • Check in 15 minutes.

Most ovens are not all that precise, really, and most recipes allow for that (your 5 minutes of variance on each item.) The top of the oven tends to be hotter than the bottom, so this works that by putting the cooler item lower.

For more drastically different items, you cook one, wrap it up, set it aside to hold, cook the other. You might undercook the first a touch before holding it and put in back in the oven briefly before serving, you might not, depending what it is and how much "hot out of the oven" is an important part of serving it well.

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    And in some cases, large chunks of meat should be rested after baking, which gives you a chance to finish baking things that need to be cooked higher or put under a broiler. – Joe Mar 24 '15 at 14:20
  • Heck, I'd just leave it at 400; the typical variation in oven temperatures would render such a small difference moot. Gets my +1 for general tips. – logophobe Mar 24 '15 at 15:48
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    I agree with @logophobe I would place the salmon in the oven 5 to 10 minutes after the crab cakes, but I would wrap the salmon in a tin foil "boat" still exposing the top of the salmon creating a vent, allowing the steam to escape. – Chef_Code Mar 24 '15 at 16:57

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