Simple Salmon: how to cook salmon perfectly every time

Simple Salmon: how to cook salmon perfectly every time

Everyone in my family loves salmon (even my kids), which delights my wife and me because salmon is such a nutritious food. Chock-full of omega-3 fatty acids and healthy lean protein, you can't go wrong with salmon. It's nearly the perfect food for fueling the AMRAP Lifestyle. Here's how we cook it at my house.

Start with skinned salmon fillets. Slice them to around 3" x 6" pieces 1" thick. Very thick pieces are hard to cook properly, but even very thin pieces are fine, so I sometimes bisect the pieces to ensure none are thicker than 1". Another cooking tip: set the salmon out 20-30 minutes prior to cooking to let it warm up a bit. The salmon will cook better if it's closer to room temperature when it hits the pan.

One important aspect to getting the fish right is to make sure your pan is the right temperature when you put the fish in. I love using the Scanpan grill griddle since it heats perfectly and evenly plus it leaves perfect restaurant-style scorch lines, but any pan will do: 

Make sure your pan is nice and hot before you add the fish. It should be hot enough to sizzle water, but not so hot as to instantly vaporize it. If you use a pan, add a little olive oil (you don't need much since salmon is an oily fish). 

Season the filets to your liking with some salt and pepper, and optionally a fish seasoning rub. Our favorite is Emeril's Essence Seasoning:

My family also likes rosemary and garlic.

Once seasoned, your filets are ready to cook. The pan should sizzle a bit when you put them in. If it doesn't, it's not hot enough. 

Using the Scanpan, I turn each filet 90 degrees after 4 minutes or so to get a nice cross-hatch pattern. The filets are ready to flip after around 4-6 minutes. You can get a good idea by watching the edges. The salmon will become firm and opaque as it cooks. When the color is around halfway up the side, it's ready to flip. 

The scanpan gets very hot so make sure you don't use a plastic spatula. A nice fish spatula is a joy to use and makes it so much easier to turn and flip delicate fish:

When the side is completely white-ish opaque, your salmon is done. Give it a try and let us know how it turns out!

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