How To Cook Salmon Perfectly Every Time
A Foolproof Method, From Stovetop To Oven
- Servings: 4.
Cooking fish often intimidates home cooks, even those of us who have had lots of practice. What we learn is that not all fish are the same and thus need different cooking methods and techniques to get the best results.
Salmon is a fatty fish and one of the best ways to get a flavorful result is by cooking it simply, with high heat. This method is one that is commonly used by professional chefs: start the fish on top of the stove so to get a golden crust, and then finish the cooking in a hot oven so that the fish is completely and evenly cooked without becoming dry.
Leaving the skin on the fillets helps hold it together during the cooking. After it's cooked you can remove the skin, if you like, before serving. Also, when you put the fish into the hot, dry pan, resist fussing with it or turning it over. Just let it cook for the complete two minutes; when you then turn it over before putting the pan into the oven, you'll discover that the fish has taken on a nice golden surface.
Finally, when you take the fish out of the hot oven, remove the fish from the hot pan because otherwise it will continue to cook. And be careful of the hot handle on the pan; I always rest a potholder on the handle as soon as it's out of the oven so that I remember to not grab it (I learned this the hard way).
- 4 (6 to 8 oz. each) center-cut salmon fillets, with skin
- 1 to 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 450° F.
- Rub both sides of the fillets with olive oil, enough to coat the fish but not to make them wet.
- Season the top, skinless side with salt and pepper.
- Put a large, oven-proof, EMPTY sauté pan on high heat for about 3 to 4 minutes, preheating it until it's blazing hot.
- Place the seasoned fillets into the hot pan seasoned (i.e., skinless) side down -- you'll hear a nice hiss when you add them -- and let them cook, without moving them, for 2 minutes.
- Turn off the burner and turn the fillets over so that they are skin-side down and place the pan into the preheated oven for 5 to 7 minutes (the time difference will depend on how thick the fillets are), until the fillets are cooked through but still slightly pink and tender at the center.
- Remove from the oven and remove the fillets the pan so that they stop cooking and serve immediately.