|nutritional information (per serving)|
View full nutritional information
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|amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Saturated Fat 5g||27%|
|dietary fiber 5g||17%|
|total sugar 4g|
|Vitamin C 96 mg||482%|
|Calcium 74 mg||6%|
|Iron 2 mg||9%|
|Potassium 995 mg||21%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) indicates how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories per day is used for general nutritional advice.|
(Nutritional information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)
Pan-fried salmon is an excellent option for a weeknight meal. It cooks quickly and you can use this simple cooking technique for other types of fish, or add your own twist with additional flavors and ingredients.
How to cook pan seared salmon
The fish is left relatively unadorned for this must-have salmon recipe. A highly heated oil is added to the pan and the fillets are seasoned with salt and pepper to bring out the natural flavor of the fish. For best results, allow the salmon to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before cooking. This will help the fish cook evenly.
Searing salmon requires a hot pan (a heavy-duty stainless or carbon steel pan or a well-seasoned cast iron skillet works best), so turn on the stove a few minutes before cooking. The process only takes a few minutes per side. Start skin-side down, then flip the fillets and cook until the flesh is flaky. An instant-read thermometer is helpful for determining doneness. Remove the fillets from the heat at around 125°F and they will continue to cook while they rest. Avoid overcooking as this will result in dry salmon.
Using Frozen Salmon
If you're starting with frozen salmon, thaw overnight on a rimmed plate on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator or in the sink in a zip-lock plastic bag under cold running water. Be sure to pat it dry thoroughly before seasoning and searing.
What to serve with fried salmon
Serve your salmon with a green salad, a light pasta side like pesto with linguine, or a spiced rice dish and toasted bread for a complete meal. Pan-seared salmon also pairs great with a simple herb sauce like mojo de cilantro, chimichurri, or schug.
- Do not use a non-stick pan for this recipe. Teflon-coated pans are not suitable for use at very high temperatures. In addition, the salmon skin does not get as nice and crispy in a non-stick pan.
- This recipe cooks salmon over medium-high heat, which is slightly lower than other recipes (which often use medium-high heat). This is because fish is delicate and less likely to overcook in more temperate temperatures. The key is to make sure the pan and oil are very hot before adding the salmon. Give it a few minutes to heat up. The oil should visibly shimmer in the pan.
- If you have one, use a fish spatula as it allows you to flip the salmon easily without tearing the flesh. Otherwise use a wide metal spatula.
- Cooking the salmon skin-side down first not only gives you a deliciously crispy skin, it also prevents overcooking. The skin acts as a barrier against the heat, allowing the meat to cook at a lower temperature. When you flip the salmon, it should be almost done and only take a minute or two to cook the other side.
- If the skin sticks to the pan when you flip the salmon, wait about a minute more. When it's ready to flip, the skin should pull away from the pan fairly easily.
- The USDA recommends cooking salmon to an internal temperature of 145 F. However, this results in a rather dry fish. It is better to take it out of the pan earlier and let it rest.
- If you need to cook the salmon to 145 F because you're cooking for someone with a compromised immune system, try to find chinook (king) salmon. It has a higher fat content and does not dry out as quickly when cooked as other types of salmon.
- If you're a member of the Crispy Salmon Skin Club, serve the salmon fillets skin-side up to preserve the crispiness.
“The pan seared salmon fillets were perfectly cooked and delicious. Searing the salmon is an excellent technique if you like crispy skin, and it's quick. Cooked at 125 F, the skin was crispy and the center of the salmon was still moist.” —Diana Rattray
Four (about 7 ounces) salmon filletsskin on
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon diamond crystal kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepperor more to taste
4 lemon wedgesTo serve
Gather the ingredients.
Pat the salmon dry with paper towels. If you have time, let the salmon rest at room temperature for up to 30 minutes.
Season the salmon fillets on both sides with salt and pepper.
Place a large, heavy skillet or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. Let it preheat for a few minutes until the oil starts to shimmer.
Add the salmon, skin-side down, and sear for 4 to 5 minutes, until the skin is nicely browned and pulls away easily from the pan.
Flip the salmon fillets and cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of 125 F.
Place the salmon fillets on a serving plate and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges and press over the fillets.
How to store it
Leftover salmon should be placed in an airtight container and refrigerated once it has cooled to room temperature. You can gently reheat it in a pan or use it cold in a salad within three days.
Is salmon better baked or pan seared?
As with any food, whether baked or pan-fried salmon is better is a matter of personal preference. Baked salmon doesn't retain the crispiness and browning of the fried fish, but it offers additional ingredients and flavors. It's best to try a few recipes to decide which cooking method you like best.