If you’re not sure about how to incorporate capers into your cooking, we have a collection of caper recipes from an array of Great Chefs
This salmon with capers is oven baked in foil until it’s perfectly tender, then topped with a delicious garlic butter sauce. An easy healthy dinner recipe!
Looking for an easy healthy dinner recipe? Every now and then, Mark and I spring for some seafood: and this salmon with capers is where it’s at. The baked salmon is infused with lemon and herbs and cooked until it’s perfectly moist. Then drizzle over a silky lemon caper sauce. Just a small drizzle packs a huge punch — and the modest quantity keeps it healthy. Here’s how to make this tasty salmon recipe, which comes together in 30 minutes.
This salmon with capers is easy to make and results in one perfectly moist piece of fish. This recipe uses a few tricks that will stick with you, like how to bake salmon to perfection, and the beautiful briny tang that capers bring to a recipe. Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe:
What’s in this salmon with capers recipe?
Capers bring big flavor!
Capers are the magic behind this salmon with capers recipe. What are they exactly? Capers are a berry of the caper bush that’s native to the Mediterranean. They’re round and dark green gray, about the size of a peppercorn. You’ll find them in Italian and Mediterranean recipes. Here, we added them to a garlic butter to add a big pop of briny, salty flavor to the fish.
Capers taste tangy, briny and salty, and add big flavor to any dish. They’re served pickled, so you’ll find them in jars near the olives at the grocery store
What’s a great tip for baking salmon? Brine it first. Mark and I had seen this trick for a while, but we weren’t sure it was necessary. However: we found placing the salmon in water and salt for 15 minutes before baking it does make it perfectly moist when baked. Guess what? This doesn’t even add any extra time to the recipe! You can do it while your oven preheats.
- Salmon fillets: you can use any type of salmon here; we like using pre-cut fillets that are about 6 ounces each
- Lemon to bring a pop of flavor
- Olive oil, salt and pepper for seasoning
- Fresh thyme or oregano are optional, but add nice flavor to baked salmon
- Butter, garlic & capers to make the butter sauce
Even better, placing the salmon in a brine solution helps to cut down on the white stuff. Wait, what? Keep reading.
What’s that white stuff on salmon when cooked?
Have you ever noticed that when you cook salmon, gooey white stuff appears on the top of the fish? Well don’t worry: it happens to everyone! And it’s perfectly normal. The white stuff is simply coagulated protein that seeps to the surface while baking. It even has a name: albumin. The amount of albumin varies greatly depending on the fish, so it’s not something you can particularly control.
The “white stuff” is absolutely safe to eat: but it does look a little wacky sitting there atop your beautiful fillet. Here are a few ways to reduce the albumin when you cook salmon, which we implemented into this salmon with capers recipe:
Cook it at a lower temperature to cook it more gently
Brine the salmon in a salt and water solution before baking
Baking salmon in foil:
Here are a couple more tips about baking salmon! In this salmon with capers recipe, we decided to bake the salmon in foil to seal in that moisture. Here are a few notes on getting the perfect salmon:
- Brine the salmon while the oven preheats (see above).
- Add lemon wheels. Keep the lemon to the side of the salmon, otherwise the top of the fish gets a gooey texture.
- Herbs are optional but tasty. If you have access to fresh thyme or oregano, adding a few sprigs looks beautiful and adds a nice flavor.
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
Olive oil, for brushing
½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for brining
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 lemon slices (from 1 lemon)
Fresh oregano or thyme sprigs (optional)
3 tablespoons salted butter
2 tablespoons jarred capers, drained
1 garlic clove, grated
To garnish: finely chopped Italian parsley, chives, or other herbs
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.*
Brine the salmon: While the oven preheats, in a shallow dish mix together 4 cups room temperature water and 3 tablespoons kosher salt. Place the salmon in the water and wait for 15 minutes.
Place the salmon in foil: Place a large sheet of aluminum foil on a baking sheet and brush it with olive oil. Pat each piece of salmon dry and place it on the foil. Sprinkle the salmon with ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt for each fillet and fresh ground pepper. Place the lemon slices and fresh herbs around the salmon (not on top). Close and seal the foil around the salmon.
Bake: Bake the salmon for 10 minutes in the foil. Then open the foil packet so steam can release and bake again for 3 to 6 minutes, depending on thickness, until just tender and pink at the center (the internal temperature should be between 125 to 130F in the center). A 1 inch thick fillet should cook in about 15 minutes total.
Make the caper butter: Meanwhile, melt the butter over low heat. Once melted, add the capers and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
Serve: When the salmon is done, squeeze with some lemon juice from remaining lemon slices. Spoon the butter sauce over each piece of salmon. Garnish with finely chopped parsley or chives.