Fish Virgin (No More)

Or: First Time Fish Cooking From a Gal Who Doesn’t Like ‘Fishy’ Fish


Food Stuff:
Large piece salmon — cleaned, deboned, with or without skin on one side
1-2 Tbsp butter
1-2 Tbsp Minced garlic
Lemon sea salt (or sea salt and a dash/squeeze of lemon juice) to taste
Parsley to taste
Cracked pepper to taste
Smoke Seasoning (or some smoky paprika)
1 Cup prepared rice*

Tools needed:
Small bowl
Baking pan/sheet

Make It:
Preheat oven to 425.
Line baking pan with foil, then get another sheet of foil large enough to wrap the salmon in. Grease that sheet with butter. In a small bowl, combine garlic and seasoning. Lay fish, skin side down, on foil. Spread spice mix evenly on the fish. Dot with butter. Wrap foil around fish, not tightly, but enough to cover it all. Put on baking sheet and place in heated oven. Cook about 10 minutes, let rest for a few more. Serve with a side of rice.

Before oven
Before oven
After oven

Things I Learned:

      • Fish is super easy to cook in the oven.
      • Even so, I overcooked mine just a bit. It was still tasty, and tender and flaky and juicy, but it was a bit overcooked.
      • Seasonings are all to taste. I could have done more garlic and lemon salt for even less fish flavor.
      • Quality butter makes a huge difference. This butter could make anything taste 10x better, I’m convinced.
      • Salmon is super filling. The serving pictured I polished off and immediately had to go for a walk or I probably would have just passed out on my floor.

*Rice tip — people make rice differently. It’s about what works for you. I love buttery rice. So I drop a bit of butter in the pot with the water when I start it. Cuts down on the amount of butter I add to the rice later 😉

Magic butter is magic
Magic butter is magic

The Story:
I admit it. I’ve never made fish. I grew up in Michigan, surrounded by lakes and rivers full of them. Another admission? I don’t really like fish. Not ‘fishy’ fish, especially. It’s just not a taste or smell that appeals to my palate.

But I’ve had some good fish over the last decade. Fresh lake whitefish, broiled — tastes like whatever you season it with, really. Skillet cooked mahi-mahi — surprisingly not fishy. Grilled tilapia in tacos, similar to the whitefish. Baked salmon and cod — more fishy, but with enough butter and/or seasoning and strong veggies, it’ll do.

Fish is good for you, though. And sometimes you’re over-chickened. I was over-chickened and feeling experimental. I’ve got a food blog now, aren’t you supposed to try new things and share your screw ups for all to see? Well, this definitely wasn’t a screw up. As someone who’s not into fishy-fish, I found it really tasty. Wild rice would probably have made it better. I’m not sure if cooking for less time would have made a difference in fish taste or not, but even though I overcooked a bit, it had no negative effect on texture, flavor, or juiciness.

Once again, I consulted Pinterest and was quite overwhelmed. I then remembered an episode of the Jacques Pepin & Julia Child cooking show I love where they made salmon in paper, two different ways. I went in search of those recipes, and concluded that it’s really just about using what you like. I was tempted to add tomatoes like Julia, but decided that for my maiden fish voyage I would keep it simple, and only worry about cooking the fish.

I don’t see myself becoming a fish aficionado, but I do already have the desire to try making a few more easy fish dishes. Maybe one day I’ll even try eating fish & chips…


One thought on “Fish Virgin (No More)

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