1/2teaspoonfreshly ground black pepperplus additional to taste
finely chopped fresh herbs of choice(I prefer parsley or basil)
Remove the salmon from the refrigerator, and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet large enough to hold your piece of salmon with a large piece of aluminum foil. If you prefer the salmon not to touch the foil, lay a sheet of parchment paper on top.
Lightly coat the foil with baking spay, then arrange 5 sprigs of the thyme down the middle. Cut one of the lemons into thin slices and arrange half of the slices down the middle too. Place the salmon on top.
Drizzle the salmon with the olive oil. Zest the second lemon over the salmon and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Lay the remaining thyme and lemon slices on top of the salmon. Juice the zested lemon, then pour the juice over the top.
Fold the sides of the aluminum foil up and over the top of the salmon until it is completely enclosed. If your piece of foil is not large enough, place a second piece on top and fold the edges under so that it forms a sealed packet. Leave a little room inside the foil for air to circulate.
Bake the salmon for 18-21 minutes, until the salmon is almost completely cooked through at the thickest part. The cooking time will vary based on the thickness of your salmon. If your side is thinner (around 1-inch thick) check several minutes early to ensure your salmon does not overcook. If your piece is very thick (1 1/2 inches or more), it may need longer.
Remove the salmon from the oven, and carefully open the foil so that the top of the fish is completely uncovered (be careful of hot steam). Change the oven setting to broil, then return the fish to the oven and broil for 3 minutes, until the top of the salmon is slightly golden and the fish is cooked through completely. Watch the salmon closely as it broils to make sure it doesn’t overcook. Remove the salmon from the oven. If it still appears a bit underdone, you can wrap the foil back over the top and let it rest for a few minutes. Do not let it sit too long—salmon can progress from "not done" to "over done" very quickly. As soon as it flakes easily with a fork, it's ready.
To serve, cut the salmon into portions. Sprinkle with additional fresh herbs or top with an extra squeeze of lemon as desired.
This recipe is best enjoyed the day that it is made, as salmon can dry out when reheated.
TO STORE: Store baked lemon pepper salmon in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.
TO REHEAT: I suggest reheating individual portions, either in the microwave on low power, or in a skillet. Let the salmon come to room temperature before reheating.
TO FREEZE: Remove it from the skin and freeze in an airtight container for up to two months. Let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. From here, you can use it in any recipe that calls for canned salmon, toss it into a pasta, or use it to make this easy Salmon Patty recipe.