Not all recipes have to be fancy. Sometimes their only value is to remind us how to cook the thing we already love. I take it for granted that I know how to cook salmon. Crispy on the outside, silky smooth on the inside. For those of you looking to perfect restaurant-style seared salmon, this post is for you. It’s simple, straight forward, and nearly foolproof.
A quick note on the salmon. Here’s the fact. Farm-raised Atlantic salmon is the industry standard. It has a milder taste than its wild caught cousin, and is generally a go-to crowd pleaser. If you’re not a true fish lover and the slightest “fishy taste” makes you gag, you’ll want to buy farm-raised. Be aware, though, that it almost always has added color. My fish monger swears the color additive is just beta carotene and not harmful. That said, who knows what’s really in the coloring……? I sure don’t.
If you’re more adventurous and additive freak you out too, go for wild salmon like Coho or Sockeye. The cooking method is the same, but the filets will often be thinner. For Coho and Sockeye filets that are thing, do not put in the oven.
6oz Filet of Salmon, Skin On
1/2 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
2 tsp Olive Oil or Safflower Oil
Farm-Raised Atlantic Salmon and Thick Cuts Only: Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
All Cuts: Pat salmon dry. This is also a good time to make sure all pin bones have been removed. Season top of salmon with salt, pepper, and paprika.
Heat a cast iron skillet or oven-proof pan (DO NOT USE NON-STICK) over medium/high heat. Add oil and swirl pan to coat the skillet evenly. Place salmon in flesh side down. Cook for 3 minutes, until crispy and light brown but not charred. Flip salmon so it is skin side down.
Coho, Sockeye, and Thin Cuts Only: Cook 3 minutes, or until you look at the side of the salmon and it seems that 3/4 – 1 inch of the inside is raw. Remove salmon from pan.
Farm-Raised Atlantic Salmon and Thick Cuts Only: Put skillet in the oven and cook for 3 minutes. Remove pan from oven and remove salmon from pan.
To easily remove the skin (if you desire), flip the salmon flesh side down on a cutting board. The skin should peal right off, and you can use your spatula to help it along.