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)
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.
Watch 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!