Cooking fish is a bit like riding a bike. You are almost guaranteed to experience a number of disasters before actually being able to do it, but once you can…you forget why it was so difficult in the first place.
Lots of people worry about frying fish (“It falls apart!”), about baking it (“It’s so dry!”) or barbecuing it (“It’s incinerated!”)…but here’s a quick an easy method for cooking fish which is practically foolproof. Well I can do it…
The basics are simple: wrap your piece of fish in a little foil packet filled with ingredients which will give it a delicious infusion of flavour, then chuck it into the oven for 20 minutes. The moisture and flavour are all sealed in with the fish, and so it retains a wonderful smell, texture and taste. Plus it’s never too dry.
If you don’t like or don’t have any bay leaf then you can swap it for a wide number of different herbs – oregano, thyme, basil…you can add shallots to give it more of an edge, or you can swap the white wine for drained chopped tomatoes for a great summery-feel dish. The basics, however, are just black pepper, bay leaf, lemon and white wine. Easy mode.
The simplest way to cook salmon so it ends flaky with a moist, citrus finish
- Salmon - 450g (each steak should be around 150g)
- Lemon - 1 lemon, cut into slices
- Bay leaf - 3 leaves (one per portion)
- White wine - 150ml
- Pepper - 0.5 tsp (To season in the foil packet)
- If your salmon doesn't have any bones in it, or you don't mind getting bones out of your fish, then skip to point 2. For everyone else...in order to make sure there aren't any bones in your salmon, run your finger down the centre of it and feel for the tips of anything that feels like a bone. It sounds delicate, but you'll know if you find one. With a clean pair of tweezers (NOT your girlfriend's from the bathroom cupboard) gently pull out the bones and throw them away
- Ok the rest is simple - lay out a piece of foil (about 200mm by 200mm) and place the salmon in the centre of it. Add a little pepper, then place the bay leaf and a couple of slices of lemon on top
- Now fold up the sides of the foil in order to form a sort of 'bowl' around the salmon, and pour 50ml of wine over it. Now scrunch the edges of the foil together above the salmon, forming a sealed packet. If you're not sure what I'm talking about, look at the pictures above
- Once you've prepared all of your packets, place them on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 17 minutes at 200c/390f
- Remove the foil packets from the oven and leave to sit, with the foil still closed, for 2 minutes
- Open the packets, carefully remove the salmon and serve with steamed vegetables or rice