Salmon is a beautiful fish to cook, with vibrant color and moist, buttery meat. But one part of the salmon doesn’t always get the love it deserves: the skin.
With Green Chef, you’ll find salmon prepared in lots of different, creative ways, both with and without skin. In this post, we’ll focus on skin-on, pan-fried salmon, aka the secret to a perfectly crispy fillet that’ll get you hooked.
If you like chicken skin, then salmon skin won’t disappoint. Chicken and salmon skin have a similar texture and thickness, and both can be rendered to a delectably browned, crackling, salty, crispy finish.
Salmon doesn’t just taste great, it’s great for you too. Salmon is rich in vitamins and nutrients, like healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which you can only get from your diet. Much of the salmon’s fat is just below the skin, so fillets with the skin on have more of these essential fats.
According to Harvard University, omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help prevent heart disease and stroke. Plus, they may help control eczema, rheumatoid arthritis, depression, ADHD, and other conditions.
The best way to avoid overcooking a pan-fried salmon fillet is slow, steady, even cooking—and skin helps you do just that! Salmon skin and the fat below it act as insulators, so heat is transferred to the flesh slowly and evenly. This gentle cooking keeps the meat soft and moist.
Simple Tips for Pan-Frying
Cooking crispy, crunchy salmon skin is easier than you think. Just follow these tips:
- Master the Pat-down: Ever wonder why we tell you to pat your fish dry? Any extra moisture on the fillet will cool down your cooking oil, and cool skin is the last thing you want. Check out the next tip to see why.
- Remember That Salm’ Like It Hot: We’ve all been there: You try to flip a salmon fillet only to have the skin fuse completely to the pan and separate from the meat. Heating up the skin quickly and evenly is the key to prevent sticking like this. Make sure your cooking oil is hot before you add the fillet to the pan, skin side down.
- Take It Slow: Reduce the heat almost immediately after the salmon hits the pan. Cooking the salmon slowly and gently will allow the fat to render and the proteins to set. No dry, burned fillet here.
- Press That Poisson: Salmon skin has a tendency to curl and shrink as it cooks, which can leave some parts burned and others undercooked. For the first minute or two of cooking, keep the fillet pressed against the pan. You can even get a metal fish spatula designed for the job—you fancy!
- Caress the Other Side: Cook the salmon almost all the way through with the skin side down. Then, flip the fillet and only briefly cook its reverse side.
Still not sure how to pan-fry? Want to try other ways of preparing salmon? You can always trust our expert chefs to give you the perfect cooking instructions. Be sure to follow the cards that come with your Green Chef recipes—they’re always unique and exciting, and they may differ from the general tips above.
This week, we’re serving up Everything-Crusted Salmon. These seed-coated salmon fillets are served over a creamy buttermilk sauce and caper-studded quinoa, topped with pickled onion.
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