This Is the Recipe That Made Me Love Salmon

The rave reviews don’t lie.

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Food Network Kitchen Beauty Baked Salmon

Photo by: LUCY SCHAEFFER

LUCY SCHAEFFER

Truth be told, I am not a big fan of seafood. In fact, I didn’t even eat it for the first 25 years of my life! It wasn’t until I was invited to a seven-course seafood dinner that I decided to try more than a bite or two — and that was more out of politeness than anything else. To my surprise, I learned that I love shrimp and hated lobster, with other dishes falling somewhere in between. More importantly, though, that night was the turning point in my seafood journey, where I decided that I would simply force myself to keep trying fish until it was something I could tolerate at worst and enjoy at best.

When I first considered what fish to cook at home, salmon seemed like the obvious choice. It’s popular, mild in flavor and cooks pretty quickly, all of which made it seem like my best bet. The first time, I baked a piece of salmon with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon — and totally despised it. The mushy texture left something to be desired and the taste even more so. Luckily, I am not one to be deterred by a failure or two, so I researched a few more recipes and carried on.

A year or so later, salmon still wasn’t something I truly craved or found myself excited to cook. Recently, though, that all changed when I came across Food Network’s recipe for The Best Baked Salmon. Though I’d had my issues with baked salmon in the past, the long list of rave reviews could not be denied. Plus, it seemed both simple and quick — so key on nights when cooking is the last thing I really want to do. Even better, the recipe calls for a mixture of spices I always have on hand (brown sugar, cayenne, garlic powder and paprika) and a buttery breadcrumb and parsley topping, which seemed like the perfect solution to my flavor and texture issues.

After baking the salmon at 425 degrees for about 18 minutes, I took my first bite with a bit of trepidation — and was absolutely blown away. I am a big fan of a sweet and spicy flavor combo, and this recipe knocks it out of the park. The texture of the salmon was perfectly flaky, thanks to the high heat, and made even better by the crunchy (and delicious) topping. All in all, the title really does speak for itself as the best baked salmon ever.

Since that first time, I am not exaggerating when I say I make this recipe every single week. It’s actually the high point of my weeknight dinner rotation, which I never thought would happen. Safe to say, I am no longer a salmon hater. If you also think you dislike seafood, trust my advice and give this a shot — I promise you won’t regret it.

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