Pan Seared Salmon Recipe-Confident in the Kitchen-Jean Miller

Pan Seared Salmon

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You have to try this Pan Seared Salmon. One of our favorite restaurants in California is Don Giovanni, just north of Napa. Every time we visit the valley, we stop in to enjoy yet another delicious dish off the menu. Years ago, after sampling their salmon, I decided it was time to start making it at home. Some like to sear fish in an open pan, and some people like to broil it in the oven. I find that pan searing in a covered pan (steam-grilling) produces an unbeatable result. Crispy, yet tender, and oh, so juicy. We like to pair salmon with a little arugula salad, steamed vegetables, Avocado Remoulade, or Spinach Béchamel.

Pan Seared Salmon Recipe

  • Servings: 2
  • Calories per: 224
  • Active Time: 10 min
  • Total Time: 40 min
  • Difficulty: Easy
WHAT YOU NEED WHAT TO DO WHY
  • 8 ounces salmon fillet (we prefer wild-caught sockeye)
  • 1 cup whole milk
Place salmon, skin side down, on a cutting board. Using an extremely sharp, plain bladed knife, divide into 2 portions. As the skin is quite tough, it may take a second stroke to complete the separation. Wipe off any loose scale. In a small dish or plastic bag, soak in milk ~30 minutes; pat dry with a paper towel. Meanwhile, select and start your side of choice. Serrated blades make jagged cuts. Leaving the skin in place holds the fillet together during searing. The casein protein in milk binds to the trimethylamine in the fish flesh, reducing the “fishy” smell.
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, roughly ground
Lemon marinade: In a shallow bowl, swirl all together with your fingertips. Add fillets, turn to coat evenly; gently pat marinade into flesh. Regular olive oil is sufficient here; heat destroys and wastes the subtle flavors of expensive extra-virgin. Lemon brightens the flavor and reduces the “fishy” smell.
  In a 12-inch ceramic nonstick skillet over medium heat, place fillets presentation side down (skin side up) at least an inch apart. Cover with a glass lid for easy monitoring and sear until brown and crispy (~4 minutes). Gently turn fillets with tongs. Cover and promptly sear the second side until the flesh is flaky with an internal temperature of just 125°F (~4 minutes). Discard skins and plate with side or sauce of choice. To avoid softening the beautiful sear, plate fillets over sauces. Ceramic nonstick delivers an excellent sear and reliably releases delicate fish flesh. Facing the raw, flexible, exposed flesh side towards the heat promotes an even sear on the presentation side. Covering helps melt fat (albumin) that tends to accumulate on sides.

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