There's no better way to tell the world (and your dinner date) that you can cook like a pro than presenting them with a crispy-skinned, perfectly millennial pink piece of salmon. Unfortunately, there's also no better opportunity for a potential disaster: Oftentimes, the Top Chef scenario in our heads turns into oil-splattered stoves, the smell of burnt fish left in the air.
Thankfully, there's a foolproof method to cooking up a pro-approved salmon dinner, and it doesn't require any complicated technique or fancy sous-vide gadget.
Cook your salmon on its skin side only.
A small layer of fat between the fish's skin and flesh acts as a heat shield, allowing it to cook gently and evenly. Searing fish on the skinless side will result in a chalky, overcooked texture and will leach out too much of the white albumin that makes for a less-than-perfect Instagram.
Here's how to conquer date-night salmon once and for all:
① Preheat a neutral cooking oil in a pan on medium-high heat until shimmering.
② Lay your seasoned fillets skin-sides down, pressing on them with a spatula for 30 seconds to prevent the skins from curling.
③ Let the salmon gently cook on the skin sides until almost completely done, about six to eight minutes. If you have thicker fillets, you can lower the heat until the centers reach your desired temperature.
④ Flip the pieces over and flash the other sides for a brief 10 to 15 seconds before serving.
⑤ Collect your well-deserved praise.
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