How to Make the Best-Ever Baked Salmon, According to Chef Jacques Pépin

Of all the proteins that can be incorporated into a healthy diet, salmon is one of the most versatile options out there. Not only is salmon a great source of healthy fats and essential vitamins and minerals, but it also makes the perfect low-effort high-reward meal.

There are tons of salmon recipes and methods out there, but what does one do when the traditional seasonings and sauces just aren’t cutting it anymore? You check in with one of our favorite sources of cooking inspiration, Jacques Pépin, who has a great sweet and spicy salmon glaze that will soon become a part of your regular dinner rotation.

Related: Chef Geoffrey Zakarian's Best Salmon Cooking Tip

Why Jacques Pépin's Salmon Glaze is So Genius

During a segment of his PBS series At Home with Jacques Pépin, chef Pépin shares his simple recipe for upgrading any salmon dish at home. While the idea of it might come out of left field for some, the combination of flavors really work. The sugary tomato base comes from ketchup and spicy chili oil lends some heat. Then there’s toasted sesame oil that rounds everything out by tying the flavors together to create a hot, sweet and earthy glaze that pairs deliciously with the rich fish.

Related: The 25 Best Asian Condiments, Sauces, and Spices, According to Chefs and Experts

How to Make Jacques Pépin's Salmon Glaze

Starting with a tablespoon of ketchup, Pépin adds a dash of chili oil and about ½ teaspoon of toasted sesame oil to create the spicy-sweet glaze. This 3-ingredient glaze can also be recreated using any of your favorite hot sauces rather than chili oil.

When you have the glaze ready to go, spread some of the glaze on the bottom of the salmon fillets and add them to an ovenproof skillet or baking dish. Spread more glaze on top of the fish and bake in a 400° oven for five to seven minutes, depending on how you like your fish. Pépin baked his fillets for seven minutes and saw that the centers were still a bit rare when he inserted a knife in the center of the fish. That's the way Pépin prefers his salmon, so he plated it up with some roasted endive, but if you like your salmon less rare leave it in the oven for a few more minutes.

Up next: Jacques Pépin’s Trick for the Best-Ever Chicken Salad