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temperature matters: 5 ways to ensure perfect salmon every time
When you imagine eating salmon, you probably imagine a fillet that is perfectly crisp outside with a tender, flaky center. Ideally, that’s the way your salmon should turn out, but not everyone manages it. If you find cooking this fish to be a challenge, don’t worry, you’re about to find out how to make sure your salmon comes out perfect every time.
Don’t Cook Cold Salmon
Your fish should be thawed and not frozen before cooking and you’ll have much better results if you remove it from the refrigerator half an hour before you start cooking. Warming the salmon slightly prevents sticking in the pan and makes it easier to cook the fish evenly.
Dry Your Fillets
Any liquid on the outside of the fish will prevent the heat from reaching the flesh immediately, so gently dry your fillets before you add them to the pan. Dry fish will crisp up beautifully, whereas moist pieces will steam before they start to crisp and give you a poor finish.
Pan Sear for Best Results
Temperature is key to making sure your salmon comes out the way you want it. If you like crispy skin on your fish, pan-searing is the way to go. It’s best to avoid a nonstick pan and go for a heavy skillet, preferably one that can be used in the oven, too. Heat this until very hot and then add oil and allow the oil to heat, as well. Finally, lay the fillets' skin side down and cook for three minutes or until crispy. Flip and cook for another minute to get that lovely finish before you move to the oven.
Bake to Finish
While a very hot pan with oil is the best way to get a nicely browned exterior, your salmon will need steady heat for a perfect inner finish that is juicy and moist. Preheat your oven to 450º and as soon as your fish is seared on both sides, move it to the oven for another three or four minutes. If you don’t have a skillet that will work in the oven, just transfer it to a baking sheet.
Rest That Fish
Finally, once the internal temp of salmon reaches 131º remove it from the oven. You can improve your meal even more by letting it rest atop paper towels. This allows the juices to absorb and spread throughout the flesh and for the temperature to come down a little. The result is a piece of salmon that is beautifully flaky and delicious, just cooked all the way through.
When you follow these tips, you’ll find that your salmon comes out perfectly each time you make it. Now you can start experimenting with marinades and sauces to take it to the next level.