A Complete Guide: How To Cook Salmon In 5 Different Ways?
Learn how to cook salmon five different ways with delicious results every time. The noble fish and its pink flesh are incredibly versatile!
Salmon is a noble fish that opens a world of tasty possibilities on the grill and in the kitchen. Cooking salmon is always a joy, and it’s because when you get it right, it’s one of the tastiest foods on the planet!
Yes, salmon is versatile, and it can offer many different culinary experiences depending on the different cooking ways of salmon. Here’s all you need to know to cook salmon five different ways.
How To Cook Salmon?
Salmon is not like most other fish; it’s an oily fish, which means it has higher fat content than white fish. Other oily fish include tuna, sardines, mackerel, trout and carps, and since these are all fattier than normal, they’re more flavorful and won’t dry up that easily.
Yes, oily fish like salmon is tastier than most other fish, and it’s easier to cook as well! In fact, it’s pretty hard to get salmon wrong as long as you don’t overcook it! The real question is, how to cook salmon? Here are a few techniques for you.
5 Ways to Cook Salmon
There are many ways of cooking salmon. Unlike white fish, salmon can take the heat so you can grill it, for example. You can also cook the oily fish with more delicate techniques, like poaching, resulting in a more tender filet.
For salmon, no cooking technique is better than others; they all offer a different take on the versatile fish. In fact, salmon can become an easy weekend meal or a sophisticated main course for a luxurious long tablecloth dinner party. For versatility, only a few other types of fish are up there with salmon (perhaps tuna?). So here they are, our favorite five different ways of cooking salmon.
1. How to Cook Salmon on the Grill?
Salmon fillets are very compatible with the smoky flavors coming out of the grill, and the fish can take the intense heat generated by burning embers.
To cook salmon on the grill, though, you should consider a few things. First, cook the fish in the coldest part of the grill, over indirect heat (smokers are perfect for this.) Also, grease the grill to prevent the fish from sticking, and always cook salmon with the skin side down — flip it just once right before pulling it out.
Remember, salmon is best enjoyed medium to medium-well — you want it flaky but still a bit raw in the middle! A neat trick for grilling salmon is brushing it with a sticky soy sauce glaze. It ends up beautiful every time.
2. How to Cook Salmon in the Oven?
Most types of fish are too delicate for the oven; they literally break apart. Well, not salmon. You can oven-roast salmon in less than fifteen minutes, literally, and as long as you don’t forget about your fish in the oven, the results will always be moist and flaky.
To cook salmon in the oven, use a baking tray and spray it with cooking oil. It’s best to cook salmon skin side down as the pan’s heat causes the skin to crisp. The fish also benefits from a dab of butter, a glossy glaze or a quick marinade.
When cooking fish in the oven, place the baking tray on the lower rack, where it’s a bit cooler, and aim for around 15 minutes at 400°F. And although oven-roasted salmon is an absolute pleasure, the cooking technique can dry the fish if unattended, so stay vigilant.
3. How to Cook Salmon on the Stove-top?
Pan-frying salmon is not only easy but fun. It all starts with a cast-iron skillet. If you don’t own one, use a heavy-bottomed non-stick pan.
The trick here is working over a high flame to create a crispy crust and then finishing the fish over a low flame (or even better, in the oven.) Cook salmon with a combination of olive oil and butter, and this time, start skin side up. Once you see the salmon is cooked halfway through, flip it and don’t touch it to prevent the skin from sticking.
You can add aromatic herbs to infuse the fish with their refreshing scent, and you can baste the fish with a spoon — just bathe it with the oil and butter mixture. A normal-sized salmon filet should be ready in less than ten minutes.
4. How to Smoke Salmon?
Smokers can be pretty simple or uncommonly sophisticated, but they all work the same way; they use indirect heat and smoke from smoking wood to cook the fish while infusing it with flavor.
A good practice is seasoning the fish on both sides and smoking it on a cedar plank over the grill. Unlike smoking red meat, with salmon, you want to work with “cold smoke” at temperatures right under 200°F. For best results, use a meat thermometer to ensure that the salmon’s core reaches 140°F.
Expert meat smokers top the fish with fresh herbs or citrus wheels to add complexity to the already delicious smoky meal, so go crazy and experiment a little. Smoking meat is an art form, and it can be as straightforward or as complicated as you want.
5. How to Poach Salmon?
Poaching is a popular way of cooking salmon, especially for lighter preparations like salads and light lunch specialties. It comes without saying, by poaching salmon, you get a super tender fillet with a fishy flavor, but not much else. For some, poached salmon is a bit bland, but it has its uses.
On the plus side, poaching salmon produces a pretty healthy meal with no added fat. So, how to poach salmon? Bring a pot of water to a boil; you can add a little salt for a bit more flavor. You can also use vegetable or fish stock.
Once simmering, slide the salmon fillet right in and cover the pan. Check the fish regularly, but it will probably be ready in between 20-25 minutes. If done right, the fish will have a dark pink core. If overcooked, it will look and taste like canned salmon.
Salmon Is Incredibly Versatile!
If you were afraid of cooking salmon, now you have the tools to cook the famous pink fish perfectly in many ways. Salmon is noble like that; you can make of it anything you want.
And now that you’re a salmon expert, it’s time to get your hands on a thick salmon fillet and invite some friends over. Salmon is a superb weeknight meal and an excellent meal for memorable occasions. What is your favorite way of cooking salmon? We’d love to know! And if you found this information useful, please share it with your seafood-loving friends.
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