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Pan-seared Salmon

A crispy, easy pan-seared salmon fillet recipe.

Time 45 Minutes
Skill Level Easy

Ingredients List

Serves 4
  • 0.5 cup salt For the brining and for seasoning
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 4 fillet salmon equal size, skin on descaled and bone-free
  • 1 lemon lemon


  1. Brine the salmon to season it and keep it moist as it cooks. Dissolve ½ cup salt in 2 quarts water. Submerge the salmon for 15 minutes. Remove and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Place in a cold, dry non-stick skillet, skin side down over a medium heat. Salt and pepper tops of fillets. Cook fillets without moving until skin browns and bottom ¼ inch of fillet turns opaque (6 – 8 mins)
  3. The skin protects the fish from drying out when cooking. Peel off and discard once cooked.
  4. Use tongs to carefully flip the fillets and continue to cook (don’t move) until centres still translucent (6 – 8 minutes)
  5. Let rest (5 minutes) before serving with lemon wedges.

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated.

By leaving the skin on and starting in a cold pan, you can achieve crispy, pan seared salmon without oil.

  • Buy uniform fillets: centre cut salmon fillets and cut equally. Make sure it’s brought to room temp before frying (take out of fridge 15-20 minutes before). 
  • Serve with rice or boiled potatoes and salad or steamed vegetables.
  • You can use this method for other types of fatty fish including trout or mackerel.
  • Be mindful when cooking oily fish to not unwittingly oxidise those beneficial omega 3 oils.