Perfect Pan-Seared Salmon
Salmon is one of my absolute favorite fishes. It's naturally buttery and very forgiving - because of its healthy fat, it's difficult to dry out a piece of salmon. On days that I work from home, I'll often make a piece of pan-seared salmon and a side of vegetables. It's also a great go-to when I'm out of ideas for dinner and need to make something quickly. I love salmon over lentils (recipe coming soon), curried salmon, broken up in tacos, as a side to pasta...I'm obsessed.
I used to almost exclusively oven bake my salmon (425 F, 15 mins) and while that is very fool-proof, I wanted an alternative for the summer, when it's much too hot to turn on the oven. While looking through America's Test Kitchen's (ATK) YouTube channel, I came across a great how-to. This process seems insane but it produces an amazingly crispy exterior and a buttery interior. You simply season a cold pan with salt, pepper, and any other seasoning, place the fish on top and cook on each side for 6-8 mins. The natural fat of the salmon will come out and when you flip the fish, you will simply cook it in its own fat. The most important thing to remember here is that you should use a non-stick pan to avoid breaking the fish. If you only have stainless steel pans, use a little bit of cooking spray. ATK also recommends you brine the fish for a few hours before you do this process - I am very lazy and have not been doing that. The fish has come out perfect regardless. If you want to brine your salmon, check out their video here.
- 2 6 oz portions of salmon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Any other seasonings - I like to use nanami togarashi
- Cooking spray, if not using a non-stick pan
Take a cold non-stick cooking pan and season with salt, pepper, and any other seasonings. Place your fish in the pan, making sure the pieces are not touching each other. Now season the top of the fish to your liking. If using a stainless steel pan, first spray with cooking spray and then follow the above steps.
Turn on the heat to medium and cook for 6-8 mins, depending on the thickness of your fish. You will see the fat render out and the bottom third of the fish cook. Turn the fish on the pan, skin-side down and cook for 6-8 mins.
Turn off the heat and let the fish rest for a few minutes. Remove from the pan and serve!