The Beginner’s Guide to Good Enough Fish, Part 2

I’m linking up again with Org Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.  But first, here is the post you’ve been waiting for:

Part 2 of The Beginner’s Guide to Good Enough Fish!  Last week, we cooked tilapia.  For part 2, we’re cooking salmon:

People make a big fuss over wild caught vs. farm raised.  I found these at Walmart and they say “wild caught” and “Alaskan,” but the fine print says “Product of China.”  What the????  I say: any salmon is better than no salmon.  So just pick up a bag and get on with it.  I prefer the filets with the skin removed, but the kind with skin will work too.

For defrosting, as with the tilapia, the best way is in a bowl of warm water:


The microwave also will work, but it will take longer if your fillets are bigger, as these are.


While the fish is defrosting, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  We’re going to bake the fish.  Broiling is another option, but I have a tendency to start fires with the broiler, so I stick with baking.

Grease a baking pan with a little oil or butter or cooking spray.

I mixed up a little sauce based on this recipe from the Perfect Health Diet blog.  It has about 1 Tablespoon rice syrup, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tsp minced garlic, and some salt and dried basil.


Salmon also tastes good with some orange juice mixed with balsamic vinegar and maple syrup or brown sugar.  Or you can just use some salt and pepper and seasonings of your choice.

I baked the fish for 5 minutes first without the sauce.  Then I poured the sauce on and baked it for 5 more minutes.  If I put the sauce on at the beginning it might have burned.  The salmon was perfect after 10 minutes.


Cooking time will vary depending on the number of fillets and how thick they are.  They’re done once they’ve gone from dark pink to light pink and “flake” with a fork.  This means if you scrape a fork along the top little pieces of the fish, well, flake off.

Try to avoid overcooking, because salmon isn’t as good when it’s too dry.  You can always stick them in the microwave for a minute (COVERED!) if you misjudge and it’s still a bit raw.  But always remember, we’re going for good enough.  So don’t sweat it.  If it’s too dry, just add a little butter.   😉

If you have the fillets with skin on them you can turn them over with tongs and scrape off the skin with a butter knife:


By the way, salmon always forms little globules of fat on top, because it has all those healthy oils in it.  This looks gross but I don’t know what to do about it, other than put on seasonings that hide it a bit.


So there you are, good enough salmon!  This batch actually turned out really well, better than just good enough.  Highly recommended.

I’d love to hear about your fish-cooking experiences!

Dinner menu for the week:



10 thoughts on “The Beginner’s Guide to Good Enough Fish, Part 2

  1. Holy mackerel, I’m definitely making the sausage dish you linked! I have a bunch of Italian sausage in my freezer; every time I cook it on the stove I make a huge mess. That one sounds so good!

  2. I wonder if the “product of China” part just means that it’s Chinese fishermen who catch and package it? I never noticed that, either.

    I never remember to thaw mine, so I just bake it, covered, at 350 for about 25 minutes with a couple Tbsp water in the pan (helps “steam” it) and whatever seasonings I want.

    • Ooh, I’ve never tried cooking frozen fish without defrosting first. When I discovered you could do that with frozen chicken, it was pretty much my greatest day ever. So now I’m eager to try it with fish. Thanks!

      • Yeah; I’m really bad at remembering to take something out of the freezer in time to thaw, so anytime I find a way to cook something WITHOUT thawing it first, it’s a huge help to me!

  3. I’m reasonably sure that “Product of China” means they shipped it to China to process– which is how our grocery here sells Great Lakes Whitefish that is a product of Vietnam.

    Mmm, Salmon.

    • Hey Erika, I was curious so I did a little research into how this would be without the rice syrup (rice syrup is not a very common ingredient). If you have Karo corn syrup you can use that.

      If you leave out any sweetener, it would be different but till good. It would be basically like this recipe: This recipe calls for marinating the fish in the lemon juice mixture. I’m sure marinating the salmon is great, but it would be good enough 😉 to just pour the sauce on before baking.

      Hope you enjoy!

  4. I made this on Friday!!!! It turned out great–I ended up substituting OJ for rice syrup. I figured it went with lemon and it worked as a sweetener (plus, we had some in the fridge)…good enough for Good Enough Fish! I will probably make this every Friday!!! (still havent ventured into Tilapia-land, but will let you know when I do!)

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