Salmon may seem like an intimidating ingredient to cook with, but with these chef-level tips, you’ll be able to cook the perfect salmon.
Fish, especially salmon, is one of the hardest dishes to cook when you’re a beginner. It’s so easy to mess it up.
If you are a fan of salmon, then this article is for you! Here we explain not only how you can cook the perfect salmon for every meal but we also have a list of the best recipes you can try making.
How To Cook The Perfect Salmon
Salmon may seem like an easy ingredient to cook with, but you will need to make sure that you cook it right.
It is a very delicate fish and it does not take long to cook. If you try to move it early, there is the risk that the skin is not yet fully cooked and it will rip. But if you keep it too long, the result will be a dry and chalky fish.
So if you are not yet an expert in cooking salmon, here are the basic tips that you need to follow:
1. Familiarize Yourself With The Basic Cuts
Very rarely people get a whole salmon and bring it home. More often than not, we get just get the cut-up pieces.
Now, the most basic cuts of the salmon would have to be the sides, steaks, and fillets.
- Sides are big pieces and they would be great if you are going to feed a large group of people. You can have them roasted, broiled, or grilled.
- Steaks, meanwhile, are best when pan-seared or grilled. You can also cook them in a sauce, but whatever way you choose to cook them, it would be best if you make sure that there are no longer any bones in them.
- A fillet of salmon is probably what most cooks are familiar with. It can be used for almost any method of cooking, plus it is very easy to take out the bones.
2. Take It Out Of The Fridge At Least 30 Minutes Before Cooking
Now, this is very important. Many people make this mistake and end up with a fish that has been cooked unevenly.
If you are going to cook salmon, take it out at least half an hour before cooking. You need to make sure that your fillet is not cold and is closer to room temperature.
Also, pat they dry with a dish towel because if not, they will stick to the pan and the skin will not be able to crisp up properly.
3. Make Sure The Pan Is Hot
Another important tip is to make sure that the pan is really hot before you put the salmon in.
If you want a more even cooking, you can invest in a cast iron pan. Not only are they more durable, but you can cook so many meals in them. They can also be placed inside the oven, perfect for steaks or even pan-roasting salmon.
Try Different Ways Of Cooking Salmon
What’s great about salmon is it is such a versatile ingredient! There are so many ways to have it and you can get very creative when cooking salmon.
If you are used to just pan searing salmon, why not try having it grilled? Or perhaps you can even poach or broil it.
One thing to remember is that if you are going to fry your salmon, the skin side always has to go down first.
As for the cooking time, one way of knowing if your salmon is done is to use a thermometer. You can also check the doneness by touching the salmon. It should feel firm but not rigid at all.
When you press down on it with either your finger or a fork, if it flakes, then it is cooked.
Now that you know the tips you need to follow in cooking the perfect salmon, then it is time to learn some really great salmon recipes.
Maple Soy Grilled Salmon
Summer is almost here and this salmon recipe would be perfect for a barbecue.
The combination of soy sauce, maple syrup, rice vinegar, and brown sugar not only tenderizes the meat but gives it such a unique flavor that will surely make it family favorite.
- 4 salmon steaks;
- 1/3 cup soy sauce;
- 1/3 cup maple syrup;
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar;
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar;
- 1/4 cup water;
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil;
- 2 tablespoons chili sauce;
- 1 tablespoon ginger (minced);
- 4 cloves garlic (minced);
- 1/2 tsp crushed red chili pepper flakes.
- Sesame seeds;
- Chopped green.
- In a large shallow dish, combine the soy sauce, maple syrup, rice vinegar, brown sugar, water, sesame oil, chili sauce, ginger, garlic, and pepper flakes. Whisk until sugar is dissolved.
- Add salmon steaks to the dish and turn it around to cover it all in the liquid. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and let marinate for at least an hour in the refrigerator.
- Brush well with oil a grill pan or the outside grill.
- Grill the salmon on both sides, until salmon is cooked through or to your liking, about 4 minutes per side. While grilling the salmon, brush it with the remaining glaze on each side.
- Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds before serving.
A word of caution though, the ingredients used for the marinade contain a lot of acids. So you need to be very careful in balancing them or else you will end up with salmon ceviche instead.
Do not try to marinate this overnight, an hour before cooking time is enough to give your fish that amazing flavor.
Creamy Lemon Garlic Salmon
This Creamy Lemon Garlic Salmon recipe would be perfect for those nights when you just want to indulge yourself. You can serve it on a special occasion when you are looking to impress a significant other.
Ingredients For The Salmon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil;
- 4 (4 ounces each) skin-on salmon fillets (room temperature);
- Salt and ground black pepper (to taste).
Ingredients For The Sauce
- 2 tablespoons butter (unsalted);
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour;
- 3 cups light cream (or whole milk);
- 4 cloves garlic (minced);
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice;
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest;
- A teaspoon dried basil;
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes;
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes;
- 1 tablespoon capers (optional);
- Salt and fresh ground pepper (to taste);
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese (grated).
- Place a large skillet over medium heat, add oil and wait for it to start sizzling. It is important for the skillet and oil to be hot, otherwise, the salmon may stick to the pan.
- Season salmon fillets with salt and pepper and add them skin side down to the skillet. Do not over-crowd, if needed cook in batches.
- Cook for 5-6 minutes without moving the fish. Using a spatula, gently flip it over and cook for 3 more minutes.
- Remove from skillet and set aside on a plate. Cover with foil to keep it warm.
- In the same skillet, prepare the sauce.
- First, add the butter and melt it. Add the flour, and cook it for 1 minute while stirring.
- Add the cream or milk, little by little, while stirring all the time until fully combined.
- Next, add the rest of the ingredients with the exception of grated parmesan.
- Bring sauce to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and stir in grated cheese. Stir until fully melted.
- Once the sauce is done, add back the cooked fish fillets and simmer on low in the sauce for 3-4 minutes.
- Serve garnished with fresh parsley and lemon wedges on the side.
It only takes 20 minutes to make this dish. You don’t need to marinate the fillets as the creamy sauce will already give it enough flavor.
You can serve this with some mashed potatoes and you will be having a memorable meal that you will surely want to have over and over again.
Hopefully, with these tips, you’ll be able to cook the perfect salmon dish that your whole family will love.