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Perfect Slow-Roasted Salmon

Makes 4 servings5 minutes hands on time30 minutes total time

By Catherine Newman

Makes: 4 servings

Total carbohydrates: less than 1 gram per serving

Hands-on time: 5 minutes

Total time: 20-30 minutes

This is my very favorite way to cook salmon (or cod or striped bass, for that matter): the fish ends up meltingly tender, with a velvety texture and a very fresh, mild flavor. Don’t expect it to brown (alas), and don’t expect it to look the way you might expect cooked fish to look, since it won’t turn pale pink and opaque. It’s perfect as a regular main course, or atop a salad for a leafier meal.


1 ½ tablespoons olive oil (divided use)

Grated zest of 1 lemon (quarter the lemon after zesting it)

1 clove garlic, smashed, peeled, and minced

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped, or another herb of your choosing (optional)

4 pieces of thick salmon fillet (ask for center-cut), 1- 1 ½ pounds total

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Simple tartar sauce, below (optional)


  1. Heat the oven to 275° F. Cover a baking sheet with foil, then brush or rub it with the half tablespoon of olive oil.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the lemon zest, garlic, and remaining tablespoon of oil.
  3. Put the fish on the baking sheet, skin side-down. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper, then drizzle the lemon-garlic oil evenly over the fillets. 
  4. Roast for 15 to 25 minutes, until the flesh is just beginning to flake when you press a fork into it, and you can separate the fish from its skin. It might look different from the way you’re used to cooked fish looking – rosier and less opaque. That’s okay!
  5. Serve with the lemon wedges, warm, at room temperature, or cold.

Simple Tartar Sauce

Whisk together ½ cup mayonnaise (use full-fat; look for Best Foods or Hellmann's; otherwise, check that there are 0 grams of sugar per serving), 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped capers1 tablespoon chopped parsley1 tablespoon lemon juice, and ½ teaspoon salt. Feel free to add finely chopped cornichons (mini sour pickles) or dill pickles, and/or chopped dill.

About Catherine

Catherine loves to write about food and feeding people. In addition to her recipe and parenting blog Ben & Birdy (which has about 15,000 weekly readers), she edits the ChopChop series of mission-driven cooking magazines. This kids’ cooking magazine won the James Beard Publication of the Year award in 2013 – the first non-profit ever to win it – and a Parents’ Choice Gold Award. Last year they started the WIC version of the magazine for families enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and are currently developing Seasoned, their senior version, commissioned by the AARP. They distribute over a million magazines annually, through paid subscriptions, doctor’s offices, schools, and hospitals. Their mission started with obesity as its explicit focus – and has shifted, over the years, to a more holistic one, with health and happiness at its core. That’s the same vibe Catherine brings to the diaTribe column.

[Photo Credit: Catherine Newman]