This recipe for pan-seared salmon is pared back to the essentials — the sort of simple, satisfying meal you'd enjoy as a fisherman on a boat, with only a hot plate, a skillet, and a spatula in tow.
Cooking with unfamiliar proteins or unforgiving species of fish can seem like an intimidating feat, leading home cooks to second-guess their skill level or default to ingredients that they’re more comfortable with. But contrary to popular belief, cooking salmon is literally easier than frying up an egg.
With a few pro tips under your belt, you'll be a pan-searing pro in no time. For a step-by-step walkthrough, along with helpful pictures, hop over to our blog post on how to master pan-fried salmon. Otherwise, read on.
Start with room-temperature fillets: This helps fish to cook more evenly.
Pat the fillets dry: Before cooking, use a paper towel or tea towel to pat each fillet dry. Any excess moisture will cause fillets to stick and won’t give you that crispy skin effect.
Make sure your pan is really hot: Keep the flame around medium to medium-high, but before anything touches the pan, let it get really hot. After, pour in a thin layer of oil and heat until it shimmers and is sizzling hot.
Err on the side of underdone: Like other proteins, salmon continues to cook after taking it off the heat, so don’t worry if it looks a little underdone at first. It'll likely be perfect by the time you’re ready to feast.