How many times have you cooked and the food just didn’t turn out quite as good as you’d hoped? Or it looked great, but tasted bland? I love cooking, but I’m not a good recipe follower – not really sure why. I like to wing it; throw some pepper in this, a little salt in that, and we’re in business. Sometimes it’s a fail, but other times it’s amazing. After years of cooking for my husband, I have developed some culinary “skills” that I swear by. Nothing is extravagant or professional so please don’t mistake this post as a formal guide to cooking by any means. It’s simply me sharing my tips on how to cook a successful meal.
Let’s talk salmon – the #1 item on our grocery list and about 80% of our weekly meals. It’s a fatty fish that is filled with Omega 3. Salmon is healthy and filling, and quite easy to cook (trust me!). Here are some tips I’ve learned through the years.
choosing your salmon
With a variety of salmon out there, it’s important to pick what fits your taste. When you are at the market, ask the employees what the freshest salmon is for that day, and what they’d recommend. Most of the time, employees are willing and sometimes even excited to help! If you are a regular customer, it’s a great conversation piece that will leave you with a great catch of the day.
Don’t always pick what’s on sale. A sale doesn’t determine the freshness of the fish per say, but it’s always a good idea to go based on what you see. If I see a gorgeous salmon fillet that’s a couple dollars more than a not-so-appetizing salmon that’s on sale, it’s a no brainer what I’d pick. The quality of the salmon is just as important as how it’s cooked.
What do i do now?
Assuming you are going to cook the fresh salmon the same day (or next), leave the fish in the fridge. About 30 minutes before you are going to cook it, take it out so it can reach room temperature. The salmon will cook best when it’s at room temperature (or close to it). If you plan on marinating it, do so and pop it back into fridge until it’s time to get cookin’.
how should i add flavor?
Try out a variety of spices each time you make the salmon. You will learn quickly what your favorites are. I have used so many – from lemon herb to chili powder, and none of them disappointed me. My husband’s favorite is chili powder; sound spicy but it’s not. I season it with the chili powder and a little bit of black pepper. It’s all about the cooking at this point.
It’s time to cook!
1. Turn your stove on to medium high and spray a bit of nonstick spray on it. You can use butter if you’d like, but nonstick spray will be a much healthier option. Don’t let your pan get too hot! Once you start to see it warming up, it’s time for your fish.
2. You can place the fish skin side up or down. I normally take the skin off once it’s done cooking. Let your fish cook – don’t flip it prematurely. Once you notice the sides of the fish are cooking nicely, flip it. Depending on the thickness of the salmon, you should do your first flip after about 3-4 minutes or so. Again, it depends on how thick the salmon fillet is.
3. Once you flip your fish, lower the heat to a low-medium flame. Season it again if you prefer. Since I loveee lemons, I squeeze lemon onto the fish at this point. After about 1 minute, cover the pan with a lid and allow the fish to cook through. Remember: Keep your stove at a low flame. If I want to mix it up a bit, I will add a bit of teriyaki sauce at this point. It’s just enough for a little tang without overpowering the chili powder.
4. If I’m feeling unsure if the fish is properly cooked, 99% of the time, I will cut it in half JUSTTTT IN CASEEE. It’s better to be safe than sick from undercooked fish! One of the biggest challenges people have when making salmon is overcooking it. Once it’s overcooked, there’s no going back. If you are skeptical of how long the entire cooking process should take you, start off by making salmon stir fry’s. You will master a salmon fillet in no time soon after!
My tips are based entirely off my mistakes/successes in the past! You will learn best through trial and error so stop at your local market and get cookin’! P.S: I will be posting pictures shortly!