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Cooking Basics: Perfect Seared Salmon

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I’ve heard from so many of my cooking class students over the years that they love fish, but cooking fish just feels way to intimidating! It’s delicate, it’s finicky, and it’s easy to overcook.

All of these might be true… but once you get the right technique, fish is EASY- and quick to make, and it’s one of our favorite weeknight recipes (especially alongside coconut rice– YUM).

Today I’m introducing a new monthly feature here on the blog, Cooking Basics, where I teach you some of my favorite basic go-to recipes from my decade-long career as a chef and cooking instructor to help you become a more confident cook. We’re starting with how to sear salmon (one of the more forgiving, and in my opinion, tastiest) fish around.

A few (important) tips:

  • Just like with meat, you don’t want your salmon ice cold when you sear it. Take it out of the fridge 10-15 minutes before you plan on searing it.
  • PAT IT DRY.
  • Season generously- just salt is great (I like a fine grain sea salt), adding some complementary spices will level it up just a bit.
  • Let the pan get medium hot before searing and make sure it’s well coated with oil.
  • Use a fish spatula (this will change your fish game, promise).
  • Want crispy skin? Start with the skin side. Rather not? Start with the flesh.
  • No need to overcook it (especially if it’s fresh)– it will continue to cook slightly as it rests.

Perfect Seared Salmon:

1 salmon filet per person
sea salt
seasonings of choice (garlic powder, powered ginger and coriander is my go-to)
neutral cooking oil

  • Take salmon out of fridge and let sit for 10 minutes before searing.
  • Pat salmon dry and season generously with salt and seasonings of choice.
  • Let the pan get HOT before searing (medium-high). Add oil and swirl to coat pan.
  • Place salmon skin side down if you want CRISPY skin. Cook 5-6 minutes.
  • Flip and continue to cook for 3-7 minutes (thinner filets only need 7-9 minutes, thicker can need up to 10-12).
  • For cooked-through salmon, sear for 2-3 minutes per side and place in oven at 400 for 4-5 minutes post-searing. Rest before serving.
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Perfect Seared Salmon

  • Author: Kristin Dovbniak
  • Prep Time: 2
  • Cook Time: 6-10 minutes
  • Total Time: 53 minute

Ingredients

Scale

1 salmon filet per person
sea salt
seasonings of choice (garlic powder, powered ginger and coriander is my go-to)
neutral cooking oil

Instructions

1. Take salmon out of fridge and let sit for 10 minutes before searing.

2. Pat salmon dry and season generously with salt and seasonings of choice.

3. Let the pan get HOT before searing (medium-high). Add oil and swirl to coat pan.

4. Place salmon skin side down if you want CRISPY skin. Cook 5-6 minutes.

5. Flip and continue to cook for 3-7 minutes (thinner filets only need 7-9 minutes, thicker can need up to 10-12).

6. For cooked-through salmon, sear for 2-3 minutes per side and place in oven at 400 for 4-5 minutes post-searing. Rest before serving.

 

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