A side of salmon is an elegant choice when entertaining. We wanted a method for cooking a side of salmon that didn’t require a poacher. To do this, we decided to get rid of the water and steam the salmon in its own moisture. We wrapped the seasoned fish in heavy-duty foil and placed it directly on the oven rack, which offered more even cooking than using a baking sheet. Cooking the salmon low and slow gave the best results moist, rich fish. If serving a big crowd, you can oven-poach two individually wrapped sides of salmon in the same oven (on the upper-middle and lowermiddle racks) without altering the cooking time. White wine vinegar can be substituted for the cider vinegar.
- Yield: 8 Servings
- Total Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
- 1 (4-pound) skin-on side of salmon, pinbones removed
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 6 sprigs fresh tarragon or dill, plus 2 tablespoons minced
- 2 lemons, sliced thin, plus lemon wedges for serving
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 250 degrees. Cut 3 pieces of heavy-duty aluminum foil to be 1 foot longer than side of salmon. Working with 2 pieces of foil, fold up 1 long side of each by 3 inches. Lay sheets side by side with folded sides touching, fold edges together to create secure seam, and press seam flat. Center third sheet of foil over seam. Spray foil with vegetable oil spray.
- Pat salmon dry with paper towels and season with salt. Lay salmon, skin side down, in center of foil. Sprinkle with vinegar, then top with tarragon sprigs and lemon slices. Fold foil up over salmon to create seam on top and gently fold foil edges together to secure; do not crimp too tightly.
- Lay foil-wrapped salmon directly on oven rack (without baking sheet). Cook until color of salmon has turned from pink to orange and thickest part registers 135 to 140 degrees, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Remove salmon from oven and open foil. Let salmon cool at room temperature for 30 minutes. Pour off any accumulated liquid, then reseal salmon in foil and refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour.
- To serve, unwrap salmon and brush away lemon slices, tarragon sprigs, and any solidified poaching liquid. Transfer fish to serving platter, sprinkle with minced tarragon, and serve with lemon wedges.