Crispy Skin Salmon
Yield: 4 servings (or as much or little as needed)
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!


  • 1 tablespoon oil* (or just enough to coat bottom of skillet)
  • 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets, skin on (about 1-inch thick)
  • Sea or Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Pat the salmon dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle the skin side with a pinch or two of salt (no pepper at this point), and allow to rest for 5 minutes. The salt will draw more moisture out of the skin. (This translates to crispier skin!) Pat the skin completely dry again.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium to medium-high (about 6 or 7 on a scale of 10). An uncoated pan or cast iron skillet will allow for a better sear than a nonstick skillet. Test the heat level by letting a drop of water fall onto the skillet. It should sizzle. (This will take approximately 3 minutes for a gas stove, 5 minutes for electric.)
  3. Place the salmon skin side down in the pan. Do not move the fillets. Sprinkle the top of the fillets with a little salt and pepper, and allow the salmon to cook for 5 minutes or until the skin is well browned and the fillets are cooked about three quarters of the way through. Using a sturdy metal spatula, turn the fillets and cook until the fish is done to your liking. This could be a quick 15-30 seconds if you prefer your salmon pink in the center or another minute or so if you like your fish cooked through. (See Notes**)
  4. For maximum crispness, serve immediately with the skin side up.


*Olive oil may be used, but for this purpose, I typically use oil with a higher smoke point like, avocado oil.  Safflower, canola, grapeseed, and even clarified butter (also know as ghee) are good choices, too.

**The fish will continue cooking once it’s removed from the heat, so I remove it from the pan when the fillets are still just slightly pink in the center. You can typically tell by looking at the side of the fillet, but don’t hesitate to cut into the center if you are not sure. Unlike chicken or steak, juices won’t run out. Alternatively, you can insert a quick read thermometer in the center of the salmon; I aim for a temperature of 120 degrees F for wild salmon and 125 degrees F for farmed.  (The former is typically leaner and tends to dry out sooner than its fattier farmed counterpart.)

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