Toaster oven fish

Noted Maine seafood chef and author Barton Seaver discussed the need to popularize more varieties of fish during a Radio Boston segment today. When asked by the host for general guidelines on cooking fillets, he stressed low heat and recommended a toaster oven preheated at 275F. Cook until a little juice exudes when light pressure is applied by thumb.

I have often used one for baking one or two portions but used 350F. I will give lower heat a try.

Did he mention what kind of fish is and isn’t suitable for cooking in the toaster oven?

You can do it in a pan. Just turn the heat on super low. I like to cook my salmon fillet skin side down until it becomes crispy. Then turn it over for a couple minutes. This all happens on low heat.

How much cooking time (roughly) for the skin side down?

I always crank the heat up when I cook salmon. A combination of bad technique and other factors always lead to relatively tough texture. I will give this low heat technique a try.

Maybe 10 minutes or so. You can look to the side of the filet and see how much it’s been cooking. In a 1-inch piece in maybe will cook a quarter inch. Then turn it over.

Not filets but I had to mention that to this day I have never had any fish as good as my Grandmother’s toaster oven halibut steak. I’m a little perplexed because I remember she could not cook if her life depended on it, kept Kosher, had a fondness for margarine, and her spice collection included onion powder, garlic powder, lemon pepper, salt and paprika … that said this fish had perfectly caramelized crispy skin, charred bones, seriously juicy flesh and it tasted fabulous … truly amazing!


Stop doing this. With such fast and intense heat you also get loads of albumin (the unsightly oozing white gunk, which is actually coalgulated protein).

First I salt/brine it briefly to draw out some moisture. Dry and cold make the skin crispy, just like roasting duck or chicken. Now proceed per Emglow’s method.


I do salmon fillets with a bit of lemon juice, soy sauce and butter in the toaster oven at 290 and it comes out awesome.

You can also broil fish fillets in a toaster oven. Sole, cod, snapper are good choices. I top with melted butter, sweet paprika or Old Bay or make a butter breadcrumb mixture. I like a crispy top that’s not attainable with the low & slow method. This is also why a rarely sous vide fish.

For salmon fillets, toss in a little seasoned oil, and then 8 minutes at full volume (about 450) in my toaster oven, skin side down on non-stick foil. Somewhere between baked and broiled, with just a few bits of browning to add nuttiness. So much better than poached IMO.

There was a time that Eric Ripert was being paid to sell-promote-whatever toaster ovens. He created this wonderful series of how to utilize your toaster oven for great food. Of course, his first demo is using fish.

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So using the same spices, do you think this will work with filets and olive oil instead of margarine?

I wish I knew, it was a kind of thinking out loud, nostalgic post.
I don’t know if it was the fish itself, the cooking method,
or what went on it that made it so good. If you like a simple
prep I’m sure it would work, but for me just like meat, I prefer
bone in, I’m also not a hundred percent sure which spices
of the ones mentioned she used.

I have no pony in this race since I don’t cook or eat fish myself (i have in the past for others)- i saw this earlier this year from serious eats saying the opposite, to broil salmon specifically as the best way to cook it in the oven.
Perhaps the toaster oven method is for a specific variety of fish…? Like firm white fish vs dense more fatty fish…?

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Lately, I’ve covered the bottom of a skillet with a film of olive oil, heated it to medium high, then added a filet (have used salmon, black cod, halibut) skin side down for 2 or 3 minutes. Then stuck the skillet into a toaster-oven preheated to 450 (adding some thin pats of butter to the top of the fish). The top bronzes really well and the skin continues to crisp.

I generally use a filet of uneven thickness. This way my wife and daughter get “properly” cooked fish from the thin end and I get the close-to-raw center from the thick end that I like. You do have to watch the fish to avoid overcooking.

For spicing I often use a simple mix of salt and cayenne rubbed into the top of the fish (letting it sit for 15 mins or so before cooking).

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