For An Even Sear, Roll Salmon Steaks Before Grilling

When you scan the seafood section of your grocery, you'll notice two general ways salmon is cut for sale — filets that are cut from one side of the fish and a cross-section cut known as a salmon steak. Salmon steaks are bone-in, with the backbone and small pin bones intact. The cut includes a center cut of filet from both sides of the backbone along with thinner side pieces of rich salmon belly — a delicious combination of salmon textures and flavors. Still, the shape of the steak can cause uneven cooking because those thinner areas of the belly cook faster than the center of the steak and are hard to keep from falling over.

Rolling the steaks into a snug disk is a great hack for creating a shape that's easy to sear and cooks evenly. Forming the salmon steaks into a roll, also known as a medallion, involves a few steps, including trimming out the bones, but another huge benefit of the technique is not having to deal with bones at the table.

How to create a rolled salmon steak

To transform the salmon steak, begin by feeling for the backbone and pin bones at the center of the steak. If pin bones are protruding from the meat, use tweezers to gently pull them out. Then trace the backbone with the tip of a sharp knife, cutting into the meat carefully. Continue the cut in a U-shape around the backbone until it's free, and remove it. Next, trim the skin from one of the belly meat flaps by inserting your knife between the skin and the meat near where it connects to the larger portion of the steak. The goal is to loosen this skin portion from the flap, but keep it attached so it can wrap around the finished roll.

Once the knife work is done, you can tuck the salmon flap with no skin into the center of the steak, where the backbone was, and close the other flap with the skin around it, snugging the meat together to form a disk. Wrap the loosened skin around the roll, and tie it together with kitchen string, or use skewers to hold the roll together. Now you have a flat, compact salmon steak that will sear nicely and also look beautiful on your plate.