If just thinking about cooking fish makes you nervous, try this simple way to cook perfect salmon fillets that are restaurant worthy. You can do it. It’s more of a technique than a recipe. Once you learn, you will never fear cooking salmon again.
Tools for the Technique
With the right tools, you can sear and serve salmon to the applause of your family. Packed with protein, omega-3 oils, and vitamin-D, salmon is a nutritious choice that supports healthy hearts. Using a non-stick pan ensures your fish will turn easily. A teaspoon of oil helps too.
To turn fish, try a thin, flexible, metal or silicone spatula. It is a handy and inexpensive tool to add to your collection. You can find them on Amazon. To skin salmon, a thin, sharp fillet knife is another necessary tool. I use a Wusthof 7″ fillet knife. The sharp, flexible blade makes it easy.
Tips for Buying Salmon
For the best taste, buy fresh, not frozen salmon and plan to cook it within a day of purchase. Ask for ice to keep fish really cold for transporting home. Plan for 4-6 ounces per person after skinning.
For more information on purchasing seafood, check out the Seafood Watch website. They list wild Alaskan salmon as their “best choice”. Print the pocket guide to shop with or download the app for your smartphone.
How to Keep Salmon (and More) Fresher Longer
With all that we spend on groceries t is critical to keep your food fresher longer. The key factor is refrigeration and the equipment you choose. My choice through two kitchen remodels has been Sub-Zero. We chose Sub-Zero because of their dual refrigeration technology as well as their gorgeous built-in style. Sub-Zero dual refrigeration means there are separate systems for the refrigerator and freezer. Frozen foods need cold dry air and refrigerated foods need cool humid air.
By providing these optimum conditions, food stays fresher longer, meaning you throw out less spoiled food, shop less and are assured of serving your family the healthiest food possible. And since the refrigerator and freezer don’t share air, you never have to worry about odor transfer like fishy ice. For more information, be sure to visit the Sub-Zero website as well as their Facebook page.
Check out this must-read guide on tips for food preservation.
How to Sear Salmon
Start by skinning salmon (or have the fish market do this for you). If the piece is large, cut it into portions first to make it easier. See this post for photos on how to remove the skin. After skin is removed, trim any purple bloodline on the skinned side. This darker area can taste strong, which is why many people think they don’t like salmon.
Season the top side with salt, pepper and granulated garlic or your favorite spice rub. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat until hot (but not smoking). Place the salmon seasoned side down in the pan and sear until a crust forms. Don’t mess with it. Leave it alone while the crust is building.
Salmon can be seared to the golden crust stage or take it darker, almost like blackened salmon. It’s up to you. The longer it sears, the faster it will be done after turning.
After searing, turn the salmon and cover with a lid. Turn heat to low and allow the salmon to cook another few minutes until it is done. Timing will depend on the thickness of your fillets. It doesn’t take long. If you have a digital thermometer, cook to 135° – 145°. Don’t overcook it.
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Simple Seared Salmon
- 12 ounces salmon fillet, skinned
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon granulated garlic not garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon olive or coconut oil
- Sauce or topping of choice optional
- For how to skin salmon fillets see this post. Trim any dark purple area on the skinned side.
- Season top side of skinned salmon with sea salt, ground black pepper and granulated garlic.
- In a medium size non-stick pan heat oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot (but not smoking), place salmon seasoned side down into the pan. Allow salmon to sear until a browned crust is formed. You can go for a light golden crust or almost to blackened.
- Turn the salmon over, cover with a lid and turn heat down to low. Salmon fillets will finish cooking in a couple of minutes. Timing will depend on the thickness of your fillets and how long you seared them. Cook to 135° – 145°. Serve alone or with a sauce of your choice.