Salmon is an extremely healthy protein choice, and is easily cooked using aluminum foil. Foil isn't a necessity to cook a tasty salmon dish, however. You can easily grill or bake salmon without foil.
Why Choose Salmon
The American Heart Association, along with other well-known health organizations, recommends that you eat two 3.5 ounce servings of fish per week. It's an added bonus if the fish choices are of the fatty variety, such as salmon or mackerel.
Salmon is a quality protein choice. While varieties offer slightly different nutrient breakdowns, farmed, Atlantic salmon contains 177 calories per 3 ounce serving, with 17 grams of protein and 11 grams of fat. Salmon may seem to have a high fat content, but it's healthy fat that supports good health.
Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids , which are a positive addition to your diet. Of the fat in a 3 ounce serving, 3.3 grams are polyunsaturated fats, and 3.2 grams are monounsaturated fats. These are considered heart-healthy fats, ones that reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke, unlike saturated or trans fats that may contribute to your risk of chronic disease.
Read more: How Much Salmon is Healthy to Eat Per Week?
Salmon also has an abundance of an essential fatty acid called DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, in particular. This fat helps keep the brain functioning normally and efficiently.
Your entire nervous system prefers to use DHA as a building block. Low levels of DHA are even associated with the onset of Alzheimer's disease in ones older years.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics explains that out of the recommended 8 ounces of seafood you eat per week, the majority of it should come from fatty fish such as salmon. Other fish rich in DHA include herring, farmed trout and mackerel. You can get DHA without a gourmet baked salmon recipe.
Healthy Baked Salmon Recipes
Healthy baked salmon recipes do sometimes have you place a fillet of salmon, skin-side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet. However, this isn't the only way to cook the fish. Many techniques have you bake salmon without foil.
Salmon is a perfect item for the grill — indoor or outdoor. If you plan to grill, take steps to make your fillets or steaks perfect every time.
Always oil salmon thoroughly with a neutral oil that has a high smoke point, and season the fish thoroughly. This recipe for Grilled Sweet-n-Spice Salmon with Rice recommends you place the salmon flesh side down (or any fish fillet or steak) on high heat to char first. Flip after 4 to 5 minutes and then cook for an equal amount of time on the other side.
If you prefer to make a gourmet baked salmon, use parchment paper instead of foil, when cooking the fish. Line a baking tray with the paper, which is specially made to resist grease and moisture. It's designed for oven use — unlike wax paper, which can melt.
Some healthy baked salmon recipes may call for you to make a pouch with the parchment paper. You place salmon fillets on a large sheet of the parchment, add seasoning and vegetables, then fold the parchment around the fish, vegetables and herbs.
You then bake it in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. This en papillote method yields a delicate, elegant fish that makes for a super easy clean-up even though you baked the salmon without foil.
When you cook salmon, make sure it reaches an internal temperature of at least 145 F, says the USDA. Cooking to this temperature helps keep you safe from foodborne illness.