Beginner’s Salmon: Lemon Butter & Thyme

Everyone knows how good fish is for you but in reality a lot of my friends don’t cook it because they ‘don’t know how’. Come to think of it I was intimidated by the thought of cooking something that came with scales on it until I tried this salmon recipe of my mom’s. It’s a great way to get your feet wet. ((modest pun intended)) In fact, it’s so simple I almost went with the title “Can’t Screw it Up Salmon”.

Go to your seafood counter and if you don’t know how much to order just ask, they should be more than happy to help you. And if they aren’t than poopoo on them, they’re a jerk. The usual recommendation is 8 oz per person so for two small children & two adults I order 1.25 lbs. If scales creep you out big time no worries, just ask them to take the skin off. Here’s a tip however, if you leave the skin on then after your salmon is done you should be easily able to slide your spatula right between the meat & the skin. Skin stays in the pan & nobody ever sees it. If your butcher takes it off you might lose a bit more meat than if you had removed it after cooking.

Beginner’s Salmon: Lemon Butter & Thyme

  • 1.25-1.5lb atlantic salmon
  • 2-3tbs butter
  • Fresh or dried thyme
  • zest & juice of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a glass baking dish with olive oil, place salmon in center. Season well with lemon juice (I like to always add my juice first otherwise you could ‘rinse’ off your seasonings if you add it at the end) salt, pepper, thyme, lemon zest & several pats of butter. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the salmon easily flakes apart when touched with a fork. Using the side of a spatula divide salmon into portions then slide the spatula between each filet & it’s skin for easy removal. Spoon pan juices over salmon after plated if desired.

For me this was an all oven meal & I love love love when that happens because a.) I hate scrubbing pots & pans & b.) I hate cleaning my cooktop. Basically anything to encourage avoidance of cleaning I’m down with. HOTY. Housewife of the Year.

While the salmon was cooking I also roasted some baby potatoes in a separate glass dish with chopped onion, garlic, coarse salt & a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Then on a baking sheet I did the same thing with a bundle of asparagus spears. I probably tossed the veggies once or twice throughout the process. If the potatoes are tiny enough the 25 minutes should suffice but if they’re larger you might want to toss them in the oven 10 minutes before the fish. If the asparagus is on the very bottom rack it should be fine for 20 minutes but I wouldn’t go much longer or you’ll get some droopy spears. And nobody likes a droopy spear.

So what do you think, have I tempted any of you fish virgins to give it a whirl??

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  1. Snorted my coffee over the droopy spears comment. Not the best feeling ;)
    Sounds delish! My hubby doesn’t like salmon AT ALL, but bless his little heart, he’ll put it in the smoker for me and then the girls and I eat delicious smoked salmon for lunch when he’s not around to make gagging noises. Yum!

  2. Wendy

    I make an easy salmon recipe that is good for beginners who want to be virtuous and eat fish because of its health benefits, but don’t actually love the taste of it… Similarly done in the oven, but with maple syrup, soy sauce and minced garlic. Yum.

  3. Jackie

    I usually just do olive oil, minced garlic, and parsley wrapped up in tin foil and baked in the oven. I do love me some butter, so I’ll be sure to try this one too!!

    • Natasha

      I used to always make my salmon in foil steam pouches too but let me tell you, once you go butter you never go back. It makes it so, well, buttery!

  4. Rachel A.

    I wonder how this would work with chicken? I am allergic to fish so I can’t eat it even though it is good for you. :-( But it sounds like it would be delish on chicken. And I love me some baby potatoes!

    • Natasha

      Hmm, maybe pork chops? Chicken breasts would be tough. Perhaps if you left the skin on & tucked the butter under the skin it could be good. Almost like individual roast chicken breasts?? Let me know if you try it! Sorry you’re allergic ):

  5. Sydney

    I haven’t ever cooked salmon and I really don’t know why, I do think the skin intimidated me. I will definitely be trying it, thanks!!


  1. [...] a few pats & serve with fish, chicken or even spread on a toasted crostini. We had ours with my easy lemon salmon & it took it to a new level. Looks are deceiving however, this stuff is richer than you’d [...]

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