Ready to devour in just 35 minutes, Barefoot Contessa viewers say this entree is "so fresh and yummy!"
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Ina Garten on a designed background
Credit: Getty Images / Manny Carabel

From pastas to roast chicken to clean-out-the-fridge soups, Ina Garten is the queen of comfort food. (Seriously, she wrote the book on it.)

But as proven by her next-level hummus and oatmeal, she's also a whiz at making the healthiest ingredients seem elevated and enticing—without a lot of fuss. Garten's Panko-Crusted Salmon recipe was recently resurfaced on Food Network's YouTube page, and it's a brilliant and delicious-looking meal we can't wait to try.

The easy salmon recipe was originally published in the 2010 cookbook Barefoot Contessa, How Easy Is That?, and has aired on Garten's Food Network show since then. And in the 12 years since it was first developed, this entree has garnered more than 280 glowing reviews including, "No leftovers from this meal! [I] made this tonight for my mother-in-law. She had two helpings and told me that she was not a fan of salmon until she had this," and "So fresh and yummy! My family's favorite salmon recipe."

Since we're always seeking ways to spice up our seafood routine (and score some extra omega-3s), we were all ears as Ina embarked on the demonstration.

"It's delicious salmon and it has a great crust with lemon zest and mustard. It's fantastic," Garten says, as she introduces the recipe and begins to transfer four skin-on salmon fillets to a parchment-lined sheet pan. "The best part of it is I can make it in advance and just throw it in the oven before dinner so I can have fun with my friends."

After placing the salmon skin-side down, Garten turns her attention to the crust. This starts with panko, light and fluffy Japanese-style bread crumbs (that are really more like flakes than crumbs and crisp up beautifully). To a small bowl, add a scoop of the panko with a bit of minced fresh parsley and some grated lemon zest, then season with salt and black pepper. Drizzle in some "good olive oil"—Garten is on Team Olio Santo for this pantry staple—and stir until the crumbs are evenly coated.

"You can really smell the lemon zest and parsley," Garten says as she stirs the panko coating.

You're almost home free at this point; simply season the salmon with salt and black pepper, then use a kitchen brush to spread on an even, generous layer of Dijon mustard. This "gives it lots of flavor and also helps the panko adhere," Garten says.

Spoon on the panko blend, and at this point, you can pop that sheet pan in the fridge to chill until minutes before dinner. If the dinner bell is ringing imminently, heat a splash of vegetable oil in a cast-iron skillet (or other oven-safe skillet) over medium-high heat and sear the salmon, skin-side down, for 3 to 4 minutes to get the skin nice and golden.

"This is a great way to do it because when you sear it, you get the skin really nice and crisp. Then you put it in the oven and it makes it moist and delicious," Garten says, explaining the virtue of a method she also employs in her Salmon and Melting Cherry Tomatoes recipe we also have on repeat.

Pop the pan in a 425 degree oven and bake for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the salmon is almost cooked through and the crust starts to brown. Remove the skillet from the oven, cover it with aluminum foil and allow the fish to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

If you, too, are now feeling inspired to join the masses of fans of this fish dish, snag the Panko-Crusted Salmon recipe here. And for a similar option from our archives, keep the fun going with our five-star Roasted Pistachio-Crusted Salmon with Broccoli and Walnut-Rosemary Crusted Salmon.