Rich in protein, vitamin B12 and omega-3s, salmon keeps your heart healthy and can turn your meals into a feast. Try cooking baked salmon in foil for a quick, delicious weekday dinner. Wrapping the fish in foil will lock in the moisture and boost its flavor.
This heart-healthy fish can be cooked with the skin on or off — it's a matter of personal preference. Although the skin is edible, it can be quite high in fat.
Eat Salmon for Better Health
Salmon has long been considered one of the healthiest fish. It's chock-full of protein and heart-healthy fats, offering both flavor and nutrition.
The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon may help prevent and reduce inflammation, protect against heart disease and improve glucose tolerance, according to a January 2019 review published in the journal Nutrients. These compounds may lower the risk of chronic inflammatory disorders and keep your immune system strong.
Both wild and farmed salmon are low in mercury and contaminants, reports the Washington State Department of Health. Cooked wild Atlantic salmon, for example, boasts 21.6 grams of protein, 7 grams of fat and 108 percent of the daily recommended vitamin B12 intake per serving (3 ounces). It also provides large amounts of selenium, copper, potassium, phosphorus and vitamin B6 and has just 155 calories.
Several studies have linked seafood to lower rates of obesity, diabetes and insulin resistance, according to an article featured in Nutrition Research Reviews in June 2019. Loaded with omega-3s, salmon may also improve mental function and keep your brain sharp. These healthy fats protect your brain cells from oxidative stress and inflammation, writes Harvard Health Publishing.
Prepare the Fish for Cooking
Baking is one of the healthiest ways to cook salmon and fish, in general. If you're concerned about its high fat content, discard the skin and visible fat before cooking. This may also help lower the levels of contaminants, which tend to accumulate in the fatty parts, according to the Washington State Department of Health.
Read more: The 9 Safest Seafood Options
Cooking baked salmon in foil isn't difficult, but it requires some prep work. To bake salmon fillets in foil, first remove the pin bones from the center of the fillet with a pair of pliers.
Next, place the fish in a baking dish greased with olive oil or butter. Season it with lemon pepper, black pepper, sea salt, dill, horseradish, Dijon mustard and other spices to enhance its flavor.
Another option is to marinate the fish fillets before cooking. Our delicious Baked Salmon recipe, for instance, requires soy sauce, minced garlic, honey, ginger, salt, pepper and sesame oil. Mix the ingredients in a small bowl, pour the sauce into a ziplock bag, add the salmon fillets and marinate them for 15 minutes or so.
Try Salmon Fillets in Foil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, advises celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. Wrap the fillets or steaks in aluminum foil and bake them for eight to 12 minutes or until their internal temperature reaches at least 145 F, as recommended by the USDA food Safety and Inspection Service.
If you're a cooking a whole salmon, you first need to remove its organs, intestines and gills. Consider stuffing it with spinach and cream cheese, crabmeat or leafy greens and sun-dried tomatoes, or try cooking garlic butter salmon in foil, which tastes amazing. Bake it until it reaches a minimum internal temperature of 145 F, as with salmon fillets.
For best results, remove the foil when the fish is almost done at the thickest part. If you cook it with the skin on, simply pull it off before serving.
- Nutrients: "Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids: Benefits and Endpoints in Sport"
- Washington State Department of Health: "Farmed Salmon vs. Wild Salmon"
- USDA: "Nutrition Facts for Wild Atlantic Salmon (Cooked)"
- Nutrition Research Reviews: "Seafood Intake and the Development of Obesity, Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Do Omega-3s Protect Your Thinking Skills?"
- Washington State Department of Health: "Reduce Exposure to Contaminants in Fish"
- Jamie Oliver: "How to Cook Salmon"
- USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service: "Safe Minimum Internal Temperature Chart"