Cooking food on a frying pan uses a dry-heat method of cooking. A frying pan relies on oils or fats to steam cook the meat all while the outside of the food is allowing the steam to escape. This is what creates that beautiful crisp and favorable texture. So if we add a salmon fillet to the mix, we get a fish that is crispy on the outside with soft, tender flesh on the inside!
Besides cooking salmon in a frying pan to achieve an amazing texture, cooking salmon in a frying pan has many other benefits. It does an outstanding job at bringing out all the delicious natural flavors of the fish! Pan-frying salmon also cooks in a short amount of time. It’s ideal for busy weeknights or a lazy Sunday evening.
Since we love pan-fried salmon so much, today’s post is all about this cooking method. Get your frying pan ready and keep on reading all about how to master this technique!
How To Cook Fresh Salmon In Frying Pan
1. Pick the right salmon.
Pan-fried salmon works best when the fish is fresh. Avoid buying frozen fish if you can. Check the freshness of the fish when purchasing it and research the quality of the source. If you want fresh fish delivered right to your door, our ocean-raised, ocean-loved salmon is just one mouse click away.
2. The type of frying pan matters.
When cooking pan-fried salmon, the quality of the pan is just as important as the fish. We suggest using a cast iron pan instead of a non-stick frying pan.
A non-stick frying pan is great for pancakes, omelets, and most sugary recipes. But it won’t leave you with the best results for pan-fried salmon. This is because of how non-stick pans don’t conduct heat as efficiently. Instead, a cast-iron pan will create some gorgeous browning on your salmon and get you that coveted crispy crust.
3. Prepare your salmon properly.
Make sure you pat dry each salmon fillet with a paper towel. This part doesn’t seem that important, but you don’t want any excess liquid coming off the fish. It can hinder the frying process. Check that the salmon is clean and ready to hit the pan before cooking.
4. It’s all about seasoning the salmon.
Salmon is already super tasty as it is, but adding seasonings makes salmon even more delicious! You could remain classic and season with salt and pepper. Or maybe get a little fancy and do a rub with a garlic butter sauce. There are many herbs and spices to choose from that pair perfectly with salmon. The choice is yours my friend!
5. Get your crisp on.
To achieve the perfect pan-fried salmon, you want to make sure you don't put a cold fillet right onto the cast iron skillet. Putting a cold piece of fish onto a hot pan causes the filet to seize up and it will cook unevenly. Let the fish sit out of the fridge for about 15 minutes before you begin to fry it. You want it close to room temperature. Plus, this allows you time to season the fish too!
6. Preheat your frying pan.
You want your frying pan to be scorching hot. You never want to start frying fish with a barely warm pan. The secret to preheating your cast iron skillet is to heat the pan on medium heat for about 8-10 minutes. Then add in your oil. After waiting about 2-3 minutes it’s time to add your fish!
7. Always start with the salmon skin-side down.
Of course, cook both the skin-side and the flesh-side of the salmon. But always start with the skin side down in the pan! The salmon’s skin is durable and will handle frying longer in the pan without any overcooking, leaving you with a crispy crust in the process.
8. Be careful with the cooking times.
The entire cooking process shouldn't take over 15 minutes. Let the skin side of the salmon fillet cook between 7 to 10 minutes. Don’t go over that time unless you are sure it’s not cooked yet, otherwise, the skin will burn. The same thing goes for not waiting long enough to flip sides. If you try to flip the fillets too quickly, they will stick to the pan. Be patient and wait until the salmon changes colors and you notice the skin crisping in the skillet.
9. Remember to flip the fillets.
Once the skin side is done, flip it. The best tool to flip your salmon fillets is a flexible metal spatula. Now cook the flesh side for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Then, remove the salmon and transfer it to a plate with paper towels and let it rest for a couple of minutes before serving.
What are your favorite tips for cooking fresh salmon in a frying pan?
Now you know how to prepare a pan-fried salmon fillet! Just 9 simple steps and only 15 minutes of cooking time. Easy, peasy, right? Follow our tips to get the most perfectly crisp salmon every time it hits the frying pan. If you want to follow a specific salmon recipe, check out our blog to find plenty of them! All the best with your pan-fried salmon fillets!