Leftovers have a bad rap as second-class refrigerator citizens. This is twice as true when what’s taking up residence on the bottom shelf is fish. Salmon in particular is easy to overcook and seemingly impossible to reheat. Anyone who’s ever sentenced a piece of salmon to die in a microwave can attest both to the rubbery texture and foul odor that you’ll inevitably be stuck with—until now.
While freshly cooked fish will always be better (sorry, leftovers), properly reheated salmon comes surprisingly close. Not convinced? Read on below for our tips on both how to warm up your leftover fish and do so without dropping a stink bomb in your office kitchen, rendering you that coworker for life.
1. No Nukes
The microwave is fast, efficient and in constant use in any office during lunch, but please don’t use it to heat up your beautiful piece of leftover salmon. Regardless of which settings you use, a microwave is way too powerful to heat a piece of fish. Look instead to the toaster oven, which, it turns out, can cook lots of things besides just pizza bagels.
2. Low and Slow
One of the key mistakes some people make when reheating fish—or anything, really—is that they turn the temperature way up to get the food onto their plate as soon as possible. But a little patience will go a long way here. It’s going to take about 15 minutes for the fish to heat through evenly, but it will be worth it. Preheat the oven to 275°F while you tackle the next steps. Send your manager the link to this popular option on Amazon if your office kitchen doesn’t have a toaster oven.
3. Add Moisture
While the toaster will be so much gentler with your salmon than the microwave, any type of reheating reduces moisture, which might dry out the fish. There are a few options you could go with to keep this from happening: grab a pan and add a splash of water to it for the salmon to sit on, or squeeze some lemon over the top of your fish. But our favorite option? Rub a tablespoon of olive oil on the surface of the fish. By using olive oil, you’re both preserving the original flavor profile that was used when the fish was cooked (sesame-ginger salmon, anyone?) while giving it a protective barrier from the heat inside the oven.
4. Cover It Up
Before popping it in the toaster oven, grab a piece of tin foil and loosely cover up the salmon. This will lock the moisture inside and keep the fish from burning—because the only thing worse than stinky fish is burned fish.
5. Et voilà!
In 15 minutes, your standard serving-sized salmon (about six ounces) will be hot to the touch, heated through to an internal temperature of about 125°F and ready for your desk with no need to let it rest before digging in. If a toaster oven is a no-go, salmon is also great cold and can be featured in a number of ways as-is, like in a salmon BLT, a bowl with farro and black beans or a salad with fennel and couscous. Enjoy your extremely un-sad desk lunch.