Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Salmon, Simply.

Afraid of cooking fish? Don't be. Here's a quick and easy way to cook a salmon fillet in just 10 minutes.

What you'll need:
1. A salmon fillet (I used a one-pound piece)
2. Salt and pepper
3. Olive oil
4. Lemon

And that's it!

Years ago, I thought that salmon needed to be seasoned with lots of other flavors, but a trip to Alaska (something I recommend to everyone--it's absolutely gorgeous up there) to visit my friend Conor taught me otherwise. A native of those parts, he took me fishing for king salmon on a tributary of the Susitna river (I think). Boats were lined up shore to shore to catch these gigantic fish who would bite on pure aggression. People were pulling these three-foot monsters out left and right. Here's the one I caught.

Fortunately, others in our party were a bit luckier, and we had fresh king salmon that night. Before putting it on the grill, the salmon was rubbed with a little salt and pepper to taste, and a little olive oil so it wouldn't stick. So while it's ok if you want to add other flavors, you don't have to add anything at all when cooking salmon, and it'll taste great when you're done.

First, sprinkle salt and pepper on each side of the salmon. Leave the skin on the bottom.

In a pan, heat up two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat until you can swirl it around the pan easily, and it's almost shimmering. Then, place the salmon skin side down in the pan, cover with a lid, and let it cook for five minutes.

When the five minutes are up, take a spatula and slide it under the salmon. You should be able to lift it easily from the pan, with the skin still on it. Here, I botched it a little and the skin bunched up, but as you can see it's nice and crispy.

Flip the salmon over, cover it up, and let it cook for another five minutes. If you're not sure if it's fully cooked, take a knife and gently separate the fillet in the middle, at the thickest part. If it's still raw inside (like you see above), cover it up and let it cook another minute or so. It doesn't take long.

Sprinkle the top of the salmon with a little lemon, and you're ready to go! Easy, eh?

If you want to add a little more flavor, I suggest marinating the salmon in 1/4 cup of soy sauce, a few tablespoons of olive oil, and a dash of salt, pepper, and thyme or oregano.

One other aside - You're going to want to clean up very well after this, because this will make your kitchen smell like salmon for a day afterwards. If you can (or want) to cook this on a grill, put down a piece of aluminum foil on the grill, and follow the same directions. Cleanup's a lot easier.

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