|via Serious Eats|
My sister is allergic to salmon, so whenever my mom prepared it at home (usually when my sister was away for a party or something), it was always a treat. Since marrying and learning how to cook with Caleb, I've found that he unfortunately doesn't like the baked salmon I grew up with. Instead of giving up on my favorite fish, I searched for other ways to prepare it, which led me to J. Kenji López-Alt's incredbly in depth article on Serious Eats about how to pan-fry salmon.
Fair warning: this is a long read, but it is so worth it. My first time frying salmon after reading this piece, the fish had been infused with magic. Soft center, crispy-crispy skin, and flavor everywhere. Never will I ever prepare salmon any other way! I do want to say that following this recipe and cooking the salmon correctly is not easy. When you reach perfection, you know it, and when you miss the mark, you know it. I've probably missed the mark a few more times than reaching perfection, which is always disappointing to me, but an imperfect salmon filet is still tasty, so I don't miss out on much. All that to say, I wouldn't be too worried about not getting it just right when you're starting out. I've found that it's hard to get the hang of it, and even harder to be consistent.
Go ahead and dive into the article and soak in as much as you can, but I also drafted up a helpful paraphrase to have handy when you finally get the fish to the frying pan. I also want to add my own tip: make sure your salmon filets are of even thickness throughout as much as possible. This will allow the fish to cook evenly. If my filets are uneven, I'll sometimes cut them so I can cook one batch of thick filets and one batch of thinner filets to hopefully get better results.
- Preheat the oil over medium high heat.
- Pat the salmon with paper towels to get it as dry as possible, then season with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Once the fish hits the pan (skin side down!), immediately reduce the heat to medium low.
- Also once the fish hits the pan, press the salmon firmly against the pan for the first minute or two to set the skin to the pan. Use a flexible fish spatula.
- Don't force the food out of the pan! When the skin is crispy, it will release easily, which will be after about 6 minutes.
- Use a meat thermometer to tell you exactly when the fish is ready. You should be looking for 120°F in the center.
- Flip salmon and let is sit on pan for just a brief moment, about one minute longer. Then you're finished!
Let me know if you try it, and enjoy these links with your weekend!
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Enjoy your weekend!