Seared Salmon on Lentils

Seared Salmon

This is a great quick way to prepare salmon fillets. 

Be sure your salmon is very fresh: if you buy fish and your plans change (which happens all the time!), immediately wrap it well and put it into your freezer to preserve freshness. If you do freeze it, try to take it out of the freezer within four weeks.

Cooking salmon using this technique requires you to pay full attention: cooking time varies so you must watch the fish to avoid dry, overcooked salmon. Skinless salmon can end up a bit less moist than salmon with skin, especially if left to cook for too long.


4 x 6 ounce salmon fillets, center cut each piece approximately 1½” wide so they’ll cook and look the same (if the skin is on — which I prefer — make sure it has been well scaled)

Kosher Salt

Fresh Pepper

2 tbsp Olive Oil

Take the salmon out of the fridge for thirty minutes to get rid of the chill. This allows for more even cooking.

Lightly brush the salmon with olive oil. Sprinkle the top and bottom of the fish with kosher salt and pepper.

Turn your fan on. If you have an aversion to the smell of fish in your home I suggest lighting a candle or putting out a small bowl of white vinegar — both will help absorb any lingering fishiness in the air.

Heat the remaining oil in a 12″ fry pan over medium-high  (there should be enough oil to thinly cover the bottom of the pan: salmon is a fatty fish and will release oil). When the oil begins to ripple, your pan is ready.

Place your fish, “presentation-side down“, into the hot pan, then leave it alone! If you start moving the fish around you’ll tear the flesh of the fish. When a golden brown crust develops the fish will easily flip over using a spatula. It will take 4-6 minutes, per side, depending on the thickness of your fillet.  With skin on, add an additional 30-60 seconds to the cooking time for the bottom of the fish.

pan seared salmonWatch the cut sides of the fish during cooking; the color will become opaque as the heat travels through the fish.  When you still have a thin line of light pink running lengthwise across the fish, half way from each of the cooked sides, the fillet is cooked and the result will be a slightly undercooked and moist salmon. Transfer the fish to a serving platter

NOTE: If you want it more well done, leave it a bit longer in the pan and remove it as soon as the opaque line disappears!

Remember, fish continues to cook even after being removed from a heat source so try to slightly undercook while in the pan!

seared salmonKeep in mind: you can put the salmon back in the pan if you undercook it, however if you overcook it you’re done!!

6 thoughts on “Seared Salmon

  1. Frank Russo

    Susan; What a special delight perusing your blog. You have inspired me in get back in the kitchen and rekindle my passion for preparing food. Your tips are so matter of factly you. Exp-cook at room temperature, food continues to cook when plated, add salt “LOL”
    best Frank

    1. susan Post author

      So kind of you to say that — thanks Frank!
      I’m a big supporter of all things that make our cooking experiences more enjoyable and less laborious!!


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