The 2-Part Method For Prepping The Driest Salmon Possible

Whether you choose to pan-fry it or bake it, salmon can make for a delicious and versatile seafood meal. But when it comes to preparing it, you're going to need to dry it first, as salmon comes with a lot of liquid enmeshed into the meat. Without drying it, you won't be able to get a nice, crispy crust on your salmon — so what's the best way to get rid of all that excess moisture? We turned to an expert to find out: chef and TV personality Richard Blais. (You likely know him for his appearance on "Top Chef" or as one of the mentors on Gordon Ramsay's "Next Level Chef.")

In an exclusive conversation with Tasting Table, Blais revealed how he goes about cooking salmon — including how he gets it dry at the start of the process. For Blais, it's two steps: First, he pats it with a paper towel, and then he uses the back of a knife to press down on the fish further to ensure all of the moisture comes out. He insists that getting it as dry as possible is vital. "Whether it's meat or fish, a dry surface into a hot pan is going to get a better sear or a better crust on it," he told us.

Dried-off salmon makes for the best version of Blais' recipe

Richard Blais has gotten plenty of practice with his salmon-drying technique. Although he gave us a whole host of other seafood advice during our interview, he emphasized how much he enjoys cooking — and eating — salmon. "We just look at it like, 'Oh, it's a super healthy food source,' but it's one of my favorite fish to cook," he said.

For Blais, part of the appeal of cooking salmon is the visual aspect. He explained, "You can visually see the temperature in it — you can see it go from rare to well done — and it's quite delicious in all of those moments of cooking as well."

As for his go-to salmon recipe? Blais revealed that when he cooks salmon at home, he uses a cast iron on medium heat, and puts clarified butter (not oil) into the pan. Then, he puts the salmon on the pan skin-side down. After he flips the salmon — he didn't specify when he flips, but this likely depends on how well done you prefer your salmon — he adds herbs and lemon, as well as a bit more butter. It certainly sounds delicious enough to warrant the two extra steps that drying the salmon takes!