For years and years, I used to overcook salmon until I learned that slow-roasting is a pretty foolproof method for cooking this type of fish. Slow-roasted salmon has become more popular in recent years, exhibited here, here, and here, and for good reason — baking at a low temperature ensures that your fish remains soft and tender. This variation pairs slow-roasted salmon with juicy tomatoes and tart lemons for a pop of brightness. The salmon, tomatoes, and lemon all bathe in an aromatic oil for an added bit of intrigue.
How do we make this slow-roasted salmon?
First, you’ll make an aromatic oil, also known as a tadka, made by infusing oil with garlic, ginger, coriander seeds, and lemon zest. Then, pour the oil on top of cherry tomatoes and sliced lemons and let them bake for 40-45 minutes until they begin to curl up and turn golden brown. Finally, place the salmon on top of the tomatoes and let cook until the center is just barely opaque, around 15 minutes. As a bonus, the fried garlic and ginger from that tadka stays crispy, offering a nice textural contrast to the rest of the dish.
What substitutions can I make?
Tomatoes: While tomatoes offer both sweetness and acidity, I think you could substitute them for other vegetables, like zucchini or summer squash.
Coriander Seeds: Coriander has an earthy flavor with hints of citrus, so it pairs well with lemon, but you could try mustard seeds or cumin seeds.
Slow-Roasted Salmon and Tomatoes Recipe
- 2 lemons
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered (smaller ones can be halved)
- Salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup neutral oil (like canola or safflower)
- 1/2 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 2″ x 1″ piece of ginger, thinly sliced into matchsticks
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 4 6 ounce skin-on salmon fillets
- A handful of cilantro, finely minced
- Preheat the oven to 300F.
- Zest 1 lemon and set aside. Thinly slice the other lemon and remove any seeds. In a 9×13 baking pan, arrange cherry tomatoes and thinly sliced lemon in a single layer. Season with salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, prepare the aromatic oil. In a small saucepan, pour in both oils and turn heat to medium-low.
- Add coriander seeds until sizzling, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in ginger and garlic, and fry until the ginger and garlic are just barely turning golden brown.
- Remove the pan from heat and add in the lemon zest. Immediately pour half of the oil over the tomatoes and lemons; set the other half aside.
- Let bake in the oven for 40 to 45 minutes until tomatoes begin to wrinkle and shrivel up; lemons should wrinkle and turn a light golden color.
- Remove pan from the oven and arrange salmon fillets on top. Pour the other half of the oil on top of the salmon, then bake for 15 to 25 minutes until the center of the fish is just barely opaque. This may take longer depending on the thickness of your salmon.
- Cut the zested lemon into serving wedges. Remove pan from the oven, garnish with cilantro, and serve with lemon wedges.