I was pleased as punch when the great Food 52 told me they were going to feature my Slow Roasted Salmon recipe as a GENIUS recipe. Their words: “The most foolproof way to cook any fish—and a petition for a new cooking term” since slow-roasting fish can take as little as 15 minutes.

I learned the dead-simple technique for salmon over 20 years ago. The fish was so succulent and moist, I asked, ‘What if I applied it to other fish?’ and tested them out to discover that the technique works great for all sorts of fish and shellfish—from striped bass and cod to sea scallops to fish steaks like tuna and swordfish.

You’ll find the recipe at Food 52 along with beautiful, step-by-step pictures of the process.

James Ransom
James Ransom

Over the years, it’s proven to be an essential technique I’ve riffed on endlessly. You slow-roast the fish THEN embellish it any way you want or with whatever is on hand; therein lies the opportunity to improvise. (I devoted a whole chapter to slow-roasting improvisations in The Improvisational Cook.)

Just about any fish goes well with Roger Vergé’s Fab Citrus and Olive Oil Sauce, Yogurt Sauce With Toasted Spices, Lime Peel And Basil or a drizzle of a simple flavored oil like chive or fennel seed is great.

Maria Robledo
Maria Robledo

There are all sorts of “beds” you can lay the fish on, from mashed potatoes to ratatouille to fresh corn polenta …

To apply the method to other fish, simply adjust the cooking time, anywhere between 15 and 35 minutes.  Roast until a two-pronged kitchen fork inserted in the thickest part of the fish meets with no resistance, the flesh separates easily from the skin, and is just beginning to flake when you poke into it. An instant-read thermometer should read 120° F. (Don’t worry if the top of the fish has a slightly transparent, raw look; this is the result of the low roasting temperature. It will be cooked inside.)

**Be sure to let the fish come to room temperature abou 20 minutes before cooking.

Slow roasting is far and away the best technique for making cold salmon, and way easier than classic poaching.

Thanks Food 52!

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4 replies on “How to Never Overcook Fish Again? Slow Roast It!

  1. Do you allow the salmon to come to room twmperature before putting it into the oven, or do you put it in cold from thr fridge?

  2. GREAT question. Always allow foods to come to room temperature before cooking. It helps it to cook more evenly, and avoids raw spots in the center. I’ll include this bit in the instruction. Thanks!

  3. Sally, I own both of your books and have cooked happily from them for years. But I love it when you revisit a recipe or cooking technique on the site as it becomes a little beacon for me that says, “PAY ATTENTION!” I’ve tried the slow roasting technique for fish but hadn’t given it much thought in ages. This post got me to pay attention, to revisit your thoughts and improvisations, and then to get cooking. I roasted some sea bass and served it with your curry, lime and basil sauce and your wonderful braised lemony potatoes from The Improvisational Cook. It was a perfect summer meal–light, flavorful, stimulating to the tongue, yet calming for the mind. Funny how that happens when you PAY ATTENTION!

  4. Dear Louisa, I’m sorry it’s taken so long to say THANK YOU for your lovely comment. I am so SO happy to hear that the Improvisational Cook as been part of your life, AND that you revisited the great slow roasting technique. Yeah, I guess it was a nudge to PAY ATTENTION, as I’d published the technique before. I thank Food52 for noticing it.

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