” If you want something beautiful to put on the dinner table, pick up a sockeye, the salmon species with the most vivid red flesh.” -Tom Douglass
A while ago I learned from Chef Tom Douglas’ Seattle Kitchen cookbook that one of the best ways to cook salmon and retain all of its flavor is low and slow. This means no more than 250° in the oven. Depending on the thickness of your piece of salmon cooking time can be anywhere from 25 to 35 minutes. Thicker is better for flavor and for not drying out.
You can put any kind of seasonings you like on salmon cooked this way. But usually some spice mixture with a bit of brown sugar gives it a sweet and savory flavor that brings out its best. There are off-the-shelf rubs you can buy but we usually make something ourselves. A combination of light brown sugar white pepper black pepper paprika powder and onion powder garlic salt and we add a herb spice mixture called Sunny Paris from Penzeys.com. Don’t go overboard on the sugar, you need just enough that it slowly caramelizes along with all the other spices as you’re cooking the salmon.
2-3 lbs Salmon (skin on, farm raised or wild)
3 Tbs light brown sugar
1 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp hot paprika (optional)
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
Preheat oven 250 degrees. Pat salmon dry with paper towels. Mix spices together in a medium bowl. Sprinkle mixture over top and sides of fish evenly. Place in oven on middle rack. Bake for 25-35 minutes depending on thickness. You’ll see some of the salmon fat bleed out white as it cooks. You want the flesh warm and juicy, not dry.