Use a baking dish to cook salmon or chicken in the oven.

Cooking Tools for Baked Chicken & Salmon

by Ginger O'Donnell

Although you can bake chicken and salmon in many ways, you don't need many supplies. The same, inexpensive tools can be used for both chicken and salmon, as well as other meats. Acquire a few well-chosen items to make everything from impromptu suppers to holiday feasts.

1. Chef's Knife

Use a multipurpose chef's knife to slice chicken or salmon if you are working with a whole chicken or salmon fillet. In addition, chop garlic, herbs, onions and fresh vegetables to flavor the meat. Chef knives have a curved, tapered shape but vary in length, size and weight. They don't need to be expensive to be long-lasting: "New York Times" food writer Mark Bittman recommends purchasing a stainless alloy knife for around $10.

2. Baking Dish

A glass dish conducts heat quickly and evenly, without over-browning meat. Line it with foil to bake marinated chicken breasts, or oven-poach oiled and seasoned chicken breasts by placing them in a baking dish covered with a piece of buttered parchment paper, face down. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in a 400-degree Fahrenheit oven. Use a glass dish to bake salmon fillets in a mixture of butter and lemon juice. For each 1 pound of salmon, use 1/2 stick of butter, melted, mixed with equal parts lemon juice. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, cover with foil, and bake for 25 minutes in a 350 F oven.

3. Baking Sheet

Use a rimmed baking sheet to roast chicken breasts or fillets of salmon. "Cook's Illustrated" recommends preheating a baking sheet in a 500 F oven as you slice salmon into individual fillets. Lower the oven to 275 F and bake for nine to 13 minutes, until a meat thermometer reads 125 F. Roast oiled, seasoned chicken breasts on a foil-lined sheet pan for 35 to 40 minutes in a 400 F oven. For extra flavor, rub cheese and fresh herbs under the skin.

4. Meat Thermometer

Use a meat thermometer to decide if the chicken or salmon is cooked. Chicken is ready when the thickest part of the meat reaches 160 F, and salmon is ready when the thickest part reaches 125 F. If you don't have a meat thermometer, make a small incision into the center: fully cooked chicken is white with clear juices; fully cooked salmon is opaque and flaky. A meat thermometer removes the guesswork.

5. Roasting Pan and Baster

Bake a whole chicken using a roasting pan and baster. Use a large, flameproof roasting pan made of stainless steel and aluminum. You simply need a chicken, salt and butter. Use 1 tablespoon butter and 3/4 teaspoon salt for each 1 pound of chicken. Rub the chicken with salt and chill it in a resealable bag for eight to 48 hours. Place chicken on the v-shaped rack and brush with some of the butter; pour water into the roasting pan. Roast the chicken in a 500 F oven for 30 minutes, basting with butter after 15 minutes, until the skin is tight and browned. Remove the chicken, brush with more butter, and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Roast it 40 to 45 minutes longer in a 350 F oven, basting with butter every 10 minutes, until a meat thermometer registers 165 F.

6. Helpful Extras

If you have an older oven, use an oven thermometer to make sure the temperature is accurate. Use poultry shears and twine to prepare a whole chicken for roasting. Flavor chicken or salmon with lemons using a juicer and rasp grater. A silicone brush is helpful for evenly coating meat with butter or oil. You also will need kitchen staples, such as measuring spoons, mixing bowls, cutting boards and pot holders.

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