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How to cook the perfect Salmon
This is my go to method of cooking salmon. I have seasoned this beautiful fillet with easy and aromatic Chinese flavors. It is juicy, tender and has crispy skin.
There are many ways to cook salmon. You could roast it, sous vide it, shallow fry it, pan fry it and even steam it. This is my go to method on how to make the perfect salmon. This recipe goes through all the important points that help you cook the perfect fillet every single time. It is delicious with salt and pepper but you can go one step further and make this simple ginger glazed salmon that is flavorful and very yummy.
Some important points to keep in mind when making the perfectly cooked salmon:
Fresh fish –
Make sure the fish is fresh. This means the fish should not smell odd, have bright orange flesh, it should be soft to the touch and not slimy. Ideally salmon that is fridge cold. if you have frozen salmon fillets then let them thaw completely before you get marinating or cooking. You can use room temperature fillets as well (incase you recently purchased pieces from the supermarket).
Pat it dry –
Using kitchen paper towel make sure to dab the fish dry, we want to ensure there is no excess moisture on the fish that will prevent it from soaking up any of the flavors you plan on marinating it with.
Many recipes call for the skin to be scored. Scoring fish means to make slits in the skin for even distribution of heat, ensuring even cooking throughout the fish. Also the skin is scored to prevent the fish from curling up in the pan upon heat – this doesn’t happen with salmon but it could happen with flat fish fillets. Scoring also helps with the marinating the fillet. I won’t be scoring my fillets as they aren’t that large.
It is important to season you fish with salt well. If you aren’t marinating your fish don’t skimp on the seasoning. If you are marinating the fish season the marinade well and fish with fish with seasoning once it is cooked. I like using flakey sea salt but you can use any salt you have.
I have made a ginger glaze marination which is a combination of soya sauce, ginger garlic paste, hot sauce, sesame seed oil, honey, salt, pepper. You can use any marination you like or just season it with salt, pepper and a little melted butter. I like to marinate the fish for at least 10-15 mins. Or you can use any dry spice mix as well and make a dry rub which is effective. However with dry spices I always recommend adding a little oil to the fish this helps the spices cook and not burn when added to the cold pan during cooking.
Sauté pan –
I like using a non stick pan, this means I don’t need to add any oil/fat into the pan to cook the fish. If you are using a cast iron or iron clad pan it would need to be preheated and seasoned to ensure the fish doesn’t stick to the pan. I have cooked 3 pieces of fish fillets in the pan which is approximately 9-10 inches in diameter. This is to give you an idea that we don’t want to stuff the pan with too much as the heat will take longer to reach the fish making it cook longer that could dry it out. You rather cook it in batches or two pans.
Cooking the fish –
We start cooking the fish in a cold pan. We don’t need to preheat the pan, add the marinated fish into the pan, skin side down, that is cold and turn the heat on. I like cooking the fish on medium heat. If it is low the skin won’t crisp up, if it is high the fish will burn on the outside and stay raw in the center. Now depending on the size of the fillet you will need to cook the fish accordingly. For a small to medium sized fish fillet we will need to cook the fish for 2-3 mins on each side. The best way to know if it is time to flip the fish is when you see the color change from bright orange to a pale orange creamsicle color. The fish doesn’t take much time to cook once you flip it, hence don’t leave the pan.
If you have used a marination, you can brush the fish with it before flipping. This will add more flavor and juiciness to the fillet once cooked. Once the fish is cooked, you need to decide if you want crispy skin on not, if yes – serve the fish skin side up, if not you can serve it skin side down. If you are not a fan of skin you can remove it easily. If you don’t like the fish flaky and tender you can cook it further in the pan but ideally it should be soft and juicy in the center once cooked.
Once the fish is cooked it is best served immediately. I wouldn’t recommend reheating it in the microwave as it will get over cooked. It is best to cook the fish when ready to eat. If you have leftovers you can make quick sushi bowls or add it in a sandwich with some lettuce. You can serve the fish based on what you have marinated it with. If you marinated it with the ginger glaze you can serve it with some steamed rice and stir fried veggies. If you are cooking it with salt and pepper you can serve it with mashed potatoes and steamed veggies. Check out more inspiration here.
Now that we have covered how to cook the perfect Salmon, you can have a look at the recipe video on my socials but let’s get to it. Don’t forget to follow along for more healthy recipe inspiration.
If you try this recipe out, don’t forget to share it with me on instagram so I can see how it turned out. I’d love nothing more than to chat with you on your cooking/baking.
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How to cook the perfect Salmon
- Non stick pan
- Flat metal spatula
- Small mixing bowl
- 3 Salmon fillets with skin
Ginger glaze marinade -
- 3 tbsp Soya sauce
- 1 tbsp Rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp Ginger garlic paste
- 1 tsp Honey
- 1 tsp Hot sauce
- 1 tsp Sesame seed oil
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Black pepper
- Sesame seeds
- Spring onions
- Prepare the marination by mixing all the ingredients together.
- Make sure the fish is room temperature or fridge cold. If you are using frozen fish, allow it to thaw first.
- Using kitchen paper towel, dab the fish fillets until dry.
- Marinate the fillets in the sauce and let it get to know each other for 10-15 mins.
- Let the excess marinade drip out and place the fillet, skin side down in a cold non stick pan. Place on the stove and turn on the heat to medium.
- Cook for 2-3 mins, brushing with the excess marinade and flip once the color starts to change. If might take longer depending on the size of the fillet/size and thickness of the pan.
- Cook for another 2 minutes until the color has changed and is not bright orange anymore. Serve it how you like.
- If you are using frozen fish, allow it to thaw first.
- If you like the fish a bit more firm cook it for a few minutes more on the heat.
- I like serving it skin side up so it stays crispy.