How to Cook Salmon Fillet with the Skin On

by Christopher Godwin

Salmon steaks with the skins on.

Azurita/iStock/Getty Images

Fishmongers and markets commonly sell salmon fillets with the skin remaining on one side. You might be tempted to remove the skin, but don't. Heart-healthy omega-3 fats are just under the skin, and leaving the skin on helps keep the fish from falling apart ... and it tastes good! A common method for cooking salmon at home is simply to bake it. This method will retain the fish's natural flavor and much of its nutritional value. Serve baked salmon with sauteed asparagus, roasted red potatoes and a rich Chardonnay for a simple, yet elegant, meal.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Rinse 1 lb. salmon fillet under cold water and allow it to drain in a colander for five minutes. Pat with paper towels until it is completely dry.

Brush the skin side of the fish with extra virgin olive oil and place, skin side down, in a baking dish or roasting pan. Then, brush the other side with olive oil and season with sea salt or kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper to taste.

Bake for until desired doneness -- 11 minutes for rare, 12 to 14 minutes for medium, and 14 to 17 minutes for more well done fish with a crisp, lightly browned outside.

Transfer the fish to a large serving platter or individual serving plates. Allow it to rest for 5 minutes before serving, so the internal juices can redistribute, making the meat moist and tender.


  • If the salmon fillet is frozen, thaw it in the refrigerator for 24 hours before you cook it.

    Lemon pairs well with baked fish. Either place thin slices on top of the fish before cooking, or serve with fresh lemon wedges or a light lemon-based pesto sauce.

    Fresh herbs and spices like dill, flat leaf parsley, rosemary and garlic are commonly used to season salmon before cooking. Add them to the top of the fillet with the salt and pepper.

    Before using in cold salads, refrigerate the salmon fillet for 1 hour after allowing it to rest for 5 minutes.


  • "Fish: The Complete Guide to Buying and Cooking"; Mark Bittman; 1999
  • "Fish and Shellfish"; James Peterson; 1996

Photo Credits

  • Azurita/iStock/Getty Images

About the Author

Christopher Godwin is a freelance writer from Los Angeles. He spent his formative years as a chef and bartender crafting signature dishes and cocktails as the head of an upscale catering firm. He has since ventured into sharing original creations and expertise with the public. Godwin has published poetry, fiction and nonfiction in publications like "Spork Magazine," "Cold Mountain Review" and "From Abalone To Zest."