BlackMany people love salmon but are afraid to cook it at home. Try this easy, Asian-inspired recipe to make your salmon dinner a success. Serve it warm over asparagus spears or chilled over salad greens. Black and white sesame salmon could become one of your go-to recipes for a quick weeknight meal or easy entertaining.
Black and White Sesame Salmon
There’s so much to love about salmon. With its beautiful color, salmon is a delight to the eye. But more than just pretty, it’s also highly nutritious; a health-promoting choice because of Omega-3 fatty acids. You’ve got to find good quality fish. Although many stores offer salmon, I drive a little further and pay a little more to get what I know is quality. The best choice continues to be fresh, wild King salmon from Alaska or California.
Fresh salmon should be moist, firm and have an ocean smell, not fishy or strong. The flesh should not be coming apart or tearing. In hot weather, ask the fish counter to package your salmon in a small bag of ice to transport it home and keep it fresh. For advice on choosing salmon at the market, check out this link to Seafood Watch.
How to Prep Salmon
To remove the skin you will need a very sharp, thin, flexible knife (a filet knife or boning knife). Hold the edge of the salmon skin flat on your cutting board and slide your knife between the skin and flesh, angling the knife blade down just slightly. Slice completely under the flesh while holding the skin tight. It should come off in one clean piece. Turn the salmon over and discard the skin.
Next, trim off any of the dark purple flesh. This is the bloodline and it can be very strong in flavor. Some people don’t mind it. I prefer to trim it off. Be careful to trim just the dark purple areas so you don’t waste any of the salmon. Turn the filet over and portion into two pieces, either across the width or length depending on what you have. Run your fingers over the filet sides for pin bones. Use tweezers or small pliers to remove them. Discard the bloodline, or if you have pets, cook it briefly for them in a non-stick pan or in the microwave. They’ll love it as a healthy treat mixed into their food.
When your salmon filets are trimmed and ready, turn them over and brush with a few drops of sesame or coconut oil. Place filets presentation side (top side) down on a plate of the mixed sesame seeds and press to coat. Turn filets over and set aside to cook.
Sear the Salmon
Heat a teaspoon or two of sesame or coconut oil in non-stick frying pan or skillet over medium heat. Season the salmon filets with salt and pepper. Carefully place filets in the pan seed side down. Don’t move the filets until a crust forms and the sesame seeds are looking golden. Carefully turn the filets over, turn down the heat to low, cover, and allow the salmon to finish cooking until it’s barely translucent in the center. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of your salmon filets. It should be around 140°F – 145°F degrees with a digital thermometer.
Black and White Sesame Salmon
- 4 6 ounce salmon fillets skin yourself or have the seafood counter do it for you
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil toasted or regular
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 2 teaspoons sesame or coconut oil
- 3 tablespoons white sesame seeds
- 3 tablespoons black sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives optional garnish
- 10"-12″ Non-stick pan
- Needle nose pliers or tweezers to remove any salmon pin bones
- If the salmon is refrigerated, allow it to sit on the counter about 45 minutes to get the chill off.
- Place salmon skin side down on a cutting board. With a thin, sharp knife (filet knife), slip the knife blade between the skin and salmon flesh with the blade facing away from you. Hold the edge of the skin on the board tightly and with your knife blade angles slightly down, slice between the skin and fish all the way to the end. Remove the skin completely. You should have a clean piece of skin to discard.
- Next, turn the salmon over with the bottom up. Trim any dark purple bloodline. Gently run your fingers along the sides of the filets looking for pin bones. Remove bones with pliers or tweezers. With rounded side up, season salmon with salt and pepper blend.
- Mix sesame seeds and place on a small flat plate. Drizzle sesame oil on each salmon filet and rub to coat the surface of the fish. Place salmon rounded side down in the sesame seeds and press gently to adhere. Remove salmon filets to a clean plate or waxed paper until ready to cook. Discard any leftover sesame seeds from the plate, as they have touched raw fish and cannot be saved.
- Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat with coconut oil. When hot, place salmon filets sesame side down. Cook until sesame seeds are golden and a crust has formed. Gently turn the salmon over and turn heat to low. Cook salmon just a few minutes longer. It will be firm to the touch but until still a little translucent in the center. Timing will depend on the thickness of your filets, but it doesn’t take long. My 1″ thick filets were done in about 7 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped chives for garnish if desired.