Turkish 10-Spice Salmon (Best Way to Season Salmon)
What is the best way to season salmon? Read on to find out the best spices for salmon, when to salt salmon, and whether a dry rub or wet marinade is best way to get the most flavor out of your salmon.
Best Way to Season Salmon
One of the most common complaints I hear about salmon is that it tastes “fishy”. This unique taste happens for a few reasons, one being is that salmon has a high oil content–this is why we’re eating it, for the healthy Omega-3 oils! The bold flavor of salmon can hold up to other bold flavors, like the turmeric in this Turkish Curry Spice Blend. As a rule of thumb if you don’t mind the strong flavor of salmon, go ahead and season with salt and pepper, and a squeeze of lemon after cooking. If you or others at the table are sensitive to the strong taste, using a spice blend to complement the flavor of the salmon can help turn salmon haters into salmon lovers!
When to Salt Salmon
Always be sure to salt salmon before it’s cooked. This gives time for the salt to penetrate the protein, creating more flavor from the inside out. However, since a fillet of salmon is relatively thin (as opposed to a Thanksgiving turkey), it’s only necessary to salt it up to 30 minutes before cooking. Any longer runs the risk of drying the salmon out when it’s cooked.
Dry Rub for Salmon
The best way to season salmon is with a dry rub, and my favorite method, to make a spice paste. To do this, I put a little bit of my chosen spice blend in a bowl, add just enough olive oil to make a paste (too much and it will be too runny and not stick to the salmon!), and salt. I use approximately 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt per pound of salmon. For example, if you have two pounds of salmon total, use 1 1/2 teaspoons of fine sea salt to season. For spice blends, I use approximately 1 teaspoon of blend per pound.
When marinating fish, I suggest NOT using a wet marinade that contains an acid (like lemon juice for example), because it starts to break down the protein, essentially starting the cooking process (think ceviche). This makes it easy to end up with a dried out piece of fish. If you like lemon flavor infused in your fish, try adding lemon zest to the spice paste, and then finishing with a squeeze of lemon after it’s cooked.
Best Way to Cook Salmon
Two of the easiest options for cooking salmon are in the oven at a higher temperature or lower temperature. Baking at a higher heat like 400 degrees F means the salmon will be dryer (hopefully not dried out!) and a more toothsome texture in the mouth. Cooking at a higher temperature means dinner is ready sooner! However, if you have the time, one of my favorite ways to cook salmon is low and slow. Baking at 275 degrees F for about an hour, like in this recipe, yields delectable final dish with a softer texture. At this temperature, the salmon might actually look raw when it’s in fact cooked! Cooking salmon to a final done temperature of anywhere from 120 degrees F and up is a personal preference, and depends if you have wild salmon (best option) or farmed salmon.
Turkish 10-Spice Salmon
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Remove salmon from the refrigerator 30 minutes before you plan on cooking it to allow it to come to room temperature.
- In a small bowl, combine spice blend, olive oil, and salt. Stir until it makes a paste.
- Rub salmon with spice paste. Bake for 15 minutes or until desired done-ness is achieved. This will depend on the thickness of the fish. Serve hot. Leftovers are also delicious served cold over a salad.