A quick sear on the stovetop creates tender salmon with deliciously crispy skin… perfect with your favorite seasonal side dishes or as a salad topper!
Do you ever get tired of cooking? It’s a question I’m asked frequently, and the answer is a definitive yes!
Most days, I genuinely enjoy cooking for so many reasons. It’s a rewarding creative outlet, a productive stress reliever, and a wonderful way to connect with family and friends.
The bond that my time in the kitchen has allowed me to forge with a rather amazing group of readers is pretty special, too. Whether chatting about a well-received dinner with a fellow Central Market shopper or emailing an as-yet unpublished recipe to a reader in need, little connections are big motivators for me.
Still, we all have days when the time or motivation to cook is lacking, and divergent schedules too frequently prevent families from enjoying a meal together. Maybe we’re also a little tired and mildly grumpy because everyone complained about the last home-cooked dinner anyway!
Under these circumstances, cooking can feel like a chore, not a choice. Suddenly, an activity that has the potential to provide creative stress relief can feel uninspired and taxing.
On nights like these, I gravitate towards a simple, healthy protein that can be paired with a basic vegetable and a roll—or, if luck is on my side, a slice of zucchini bread that I’ve stashed in the freezer.
Everyone in my family enjoys seafood, and the versatility of salmon has made it a dinnertime staple. Welcoming to a wide range of flavors and methods of preparation, salmon is also loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and other key nutrients. As such, regular consumption of this quick cooking fish is thought to reduce the risk of heart disease, protect brain health, help fight inflammation, and aid in weight control.
Grilling, baking, and broiling certainly have merit, but a quick pan sear has the potential to make dinner on a tough night feel rather inspired after all. The best part? One need not spend a single minute mixing up a marinade, spice rub, or sauce. All that’s required is a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and a drizzle of oil for the pan.
Crispy skin is the star of the show in this barebones preparation, andhumble seasonings allow the natural flavor of the perfectly cooked fillets to shine.
The secret tip for extra crispy skin requires five minutes of wait time, which is just enough time to prep a simple side. On a busy winter night in my house, that might be a quick slaw, steamed broccoli, or even a bag of frozen peas. In the warmer months, we often enjoy the seared salmon as a protein-rich topper to a variety of veggie- and grain-based salads.
“The fresher the better” is usually the rule of thumb for seafood, but I’ve had excellent results in the last few years with frozen wild sockeye fillets. For year-round convenience, I keep a supply of the fillets, which have been deboned, flash frozen, and vacuum-packed, in my freezer. They’re smaller than their farmed counterparts—usually between 1-1/2 and 2 pounds—and the thinner fillets thaw quickly. The process can be further expedited through a brief soak (still in the plastic packaging) in cool water.
Those who are cooking for one or two will likely prefer a smaller portion. Conveniently, fresh seafood can typically be purchased in the precise quantity desired. When buying fresh, you can typically request the exact size piece desired and whether you’d like it from the thick or thin end of the whole fillet. As an added bonus, if you ask, most fishmongers will remove the tiny pin bones, too.
In the warmer months, we often enjoy Crispy Skin Salmon served atop a big, fresh salad. I must be in a Caesar mood, because these two options readily come to mind:
Throughout the colder months, it’s equally satisfying with roasted vegetables and a variety of grains…and atop this recipe for Parmesan Mushroom Polenta. ⇩