Full of Omega-3 fatty acids and lean protein, salmon is incredibly healthy—as in, superfood kind of healthy. And it’s versatile, too! Salmon is delicious no matter how you prepare it: Grilled, pan-fried, broiled, baked, or even raw in sushi or sashimi. The trick is to make sure you don’t overcook it. Looking for a foolproof method for preparing salmon? We’ll walk you through how to cook salmon below.
Best Practices for How to Cook Salmon
Pan-fried salmon is the perfect method when you want a crispy crust and flaky fish. Start by taking your salmon out of the freezer so it can come to room temperature. Once it’s ready, pat the salmon dry and heat a little olive oil in a pan over medium high heat. Drizzle the salmon with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. When the skillet is hot, add the salmon with skin side down. Allow the salmon to cook on the skin side for about 6 minutes. Then flip it over and cook the other side for 3 to 4 minutes.
Tip: Don’t use tongs when you pan-fry salmon. Salmon is extremely delicate, and picking it up with tongs can cause it to fall apart. A spatula is your best bet!
Oven or Broiler
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and place your salmon (skin side down) on a sheet pan. Drizzle the salmon with olive oil and season it with salt and pepper. Cook the salmon for about 15 minutes (or a little less if you like it medium rare) and then add a squeeze of lemon juice before serving.
If you want the salmon skin to be crispy, you can use the broiler instead. Prepare the salmon the same way, but cut down the cooking time as the broiler will cook it much faster.
Tip: Did you know you can use your oven to steam your salmon? Place salmon on a piece of parchment paper along with your favorite vegetables and a lemon wedge. Fold the parchment over the salmon and veggies to wrap it tightly. Cook at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes. Cut open the packet and enjoy!
If you want to make salmon cakes or salmon burgers, try poaching salmon. Put a large pot of water on to boil. When small bubbles start to form, add your salmon and poach it for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the salmon and let it rest.