Impressive and fancy, this baked salmon recipe is our family's favorite meal and a sure way to impress guests when hosting dinner parties. Best of all, it's amazingly simple to cook the perfect salmon every time with this no-fail recipe!
The contrasting yet complementing colors of this herbaceous baked salmon are perfect to add to your festive spread. Each ingredient of the earthy green marinade surprisingly holds its own in this flavor-packed dish.
I did not grow up eating salmon. So when I first tried it, I loved the meaty, buttery, and bold taste as compared to the white fish I was used to. Given all the health benefits of salmon, it soon became part of our regular meals. From the tandoori broiled salmon to the salmon tikka skewers and the salmon tikka masala recipe in my Indian Instant Pot Cookbook, I have developed several healthy salmon recipes.
I first enjoyed this recipe made by my talented friend Rupa who is not only an amazing cook but an expert when it comes to cooking fish. Everyone who has tried her "Baked Hariyali Salmon" loves it and so we have officially declared it to be the BEST BAKED SALMON RECIPE ever!
This recipe also reminds me of my mom's cooking! Growing up I enjoyed her herb steamed fish wrapped in banana leaf or Hariyali fish as she calls it, where she threw every herb she had in her garden into a blender and spread over “today’s catch".
This baked salmon has a delicious marinade or as I like to call it a chutney that is made with fresh cilantro, mint, parsley, scallions, ginger, garlic and green chili. The chutney marinade is SO GOOD that not only it makes the most flavorful salmon but we love to make a huge batch so it can also be served along the baked salmon fillet.
The chutney marinade recipe can also be easily adapted to your taste. Love cilantro, add a whole bunch and if you don't, simply skip it and add more of the other herbs. You can add lots of chilies if you love spicy food or skip them altogether for little kids. But before you try any of the variations, I would highly recommend you to try the recipe as is, only because it is simply AWESOME!
Best way to eat Salmon
Although I enjoy salmon, I know many people who are not particularly fond of salmon. So, to all of you who want to eat more fish and eat the best kind of fish, here is a recipe that will make you fall in love with salmon. Here are just a few reasons why:
- fresh tasting
- perfectly cooked
Health benefits of salmon and why you want to include it in your diet:
- Salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12 to reduce the risk of heart disease and improve brain function
- Great Source of lean protein with 26 grams of protein per 4 ounces of serving which may help you lose weight
- Good source of potassium that balances blood pressure
- Have polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin D that can improve bone health
- The inflammation-fighting fatty acids in salmon may improve recovery from injury making it a great post-workout meal
- Can lower the risk of chronic disease
Check out this article from WebMD for more detailed health benefits of eating salmon.
Here is a step-by-step recipe for the best-baked salmon:
Step 1: Rinse the salmon fillet and dry it on both sides with paper towels. Place the salmon on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Tuck a few slices of lemon under the fillet. Note: If you do not have parchment paper, you can line the baking tray with aluminum foil instead and grease it well with oil. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Step 2: Make the Chutney Marinade. Toast cumin seeds in a small pan over low-medium heat and allow them to cool. Add green chilies, ginger, garlic, toasted cumin seeds, scallions, cilantro, and parsley to the food processor. Add salt, lemon juice, olive oil, and pepper. Pulse a few times until all the ingredients are finely chopped. Then add the mint and pulse a few more times until the mint blends well with the remaining marinade. (Note: Over-pulsing mint can sometimes make the marinade turn brownish, so adding it in the end) The marinade will have the texture of pesto and not a fine paste. This should make about 1.5 cups of marinade.
Step 3: Marinate the salmon. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon salt on the salmon. Spread about ½ cup of the chutney marinade over the salmon. Reserve the remaining to serve with salmon. Optional step: sprinkle a handful of thinly sliced red onions on the top. Allow the fish to marinate in the refrigerator at this point for 20 minutes or go ahead and bake it right away!
Step 4: Brush the top of the salmon with olive oil or use olive oil spray all over the salmon. Bake for 25 minutes, but check for doneness around the 20-minute mark. Enjoy hot with reserved chutney.
How to check for the doneness of Salmon
- To check for doneness you can simply use a fork and see if the salmon flakes easily.
- Since the thickness of the salmon fillet can vary, I like to use a basic thermometer to check for doneness. According to FDA, salmon should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees. So insert the thermometer at the thickest part of the fillet.
- If you like slightly undercooked salmon, an internal temperature of 135 degrees works well.
I LOVE serving this baked salmon with Lemon rice - a recipe from my The Essential Indian Instant Pot Cookbook. The flavors go so well together so an incredibly satisfying meal.
Here are some of my favorite salads and sides that pair really well with this baked salmon:
- Arugula Salad with lemon balsamic dressing
- Kale Salad with almonds
- Spicy Mango Salad
- Fiesta Quinoa Salad
- Saffron Risotto
- Beet Risotto
Tips and FAQs
- Skin on or off - I recommend cooking with the skin on as it keeps the moisture in the fish locked in. Once cooked it's very easy to scoop up the fish without the skin
- Do I need to turn the fish halfway through - The answer is NO! Another reason why we love this recipe
- Do you need to rinse the fish - Yes, I recommend rinsing and then pat drying really well with paper towels
- How long to bake the salmon - depending on the thickness and size of the fillet the cooking time may vary. The best way is to use a thermometer and check for an internal temperature of 145 degrees. Thin and small fillet can cook in as less as 4 to 6 minutes
- How to tell when salmon is done - The easiest way is to use a fork to see if the salmon flakes easily
More Salmon Recipes
Here are some more salmon recipes you will enjoy:
- Instant Pot Tandoori Salmon
- Pan-Fried Salmon with Garlic & Fresh Fenugreek Leaves
- Tandoori Salmon Tikka
- Grilled Salmon Skewers
- Salmon Tikka Masala
And if you love seafood as we do, here are our family's favorite fish recipes
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Baked Salmon with Fresh Herb Chutney
- 1 to 2 lemons sliced
- 3½ pounds salmon fillet wild or organic
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 3 small green chilies
- 2 tablespoons ginger peeled & chopped
- 8 garlic cloves peeled
- 1 cup scallions chopped
- 2 cups cilantro chopped
- 2 cups parsley chopped
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 Lemon juiced
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup mint leaves
- ¼ cup red onion thinly sliced (optional)
- Rinse the salmon fillet and dry both sides with paper towels.
- Place the salmon on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Tuck a few slices of lemon under the fillet.
- Note: If you do not have parchment paper, you can line the baking tray with an aluminum foil instead and grease it well with oil. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Toast cumin seeds in a small pan over low-medium heat and allow them to cool.
- Add green chilies, ginger, garlic, toasted cumin seeds, scallions, cilantro, and parsley to the food processor. Add salt, lemon juice, olive oil, and pepper. Pulse a few times until all the ingredients are finely chopped.
- Then add the mint and pulse a few more times until the mint blends well with the remaining marinade. (Note: Over pulsing mint can sometimes make the marinade turn brownish, so adding it in the end) The marinade will have texture of a pesto and not a fine paste. This should make about 1.5 cups of marinade.
Apply the marinade
- Sprinkle ½ teaspoon salt on the salmon.
- Spread about ½ cup of the chutney marinade over the salmon. Reserve the remaining to serve with salmon.
- Optional step: sprinkle a handful of thinly sliced red onions on the top. Allow the fish to marinade in the refrigerator at this point for 20 minutes or go ahead and bake it right away!
- Brush the top of the salmon with olive oil or use olive oil spray all over the salmon.
- Bake for 25 minutes, but check for doneness around the 20-minute mark. Serve hot with the reserved chutney.