Salmon is a type of fish that’s mostly native to the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. They’re an excellent source of protein, as well as other nutrients like vitamin B12, selenium, and potassium.
When getting salmon for your next meal, you have two options. You could go saltwater fishing and catch the fish you want. Alternatively, you could buy farmed salmon at your local market.
Once you have your fish, you’ll need to prep and cook it properly to enjoy a delicious and elegant main course. Take note of this guide when working with salmon:
Salmon Prep: Taking out the Pinbones
Salmon fillets have flexible and inch-long pinbones. You’ll want to remove these bones before you start cooking. Here are the steps to extract them:
- Lay the fillet skin-side down on a cutting board, plate, or an upside-down mixing bowl.
- Feel the tips of the pinbones by gently running your fingers along the fillet. You can usually find bones on the thickest portion of the cut.
- Once you find a tip, use special fish tweezers (or jewelry pliers) to grasp the tip of the pinbone.
- Pull the bone out at an angle. This prevents you from ripping the salmon flesh. It also minimizes the risk of the pinbones breaking the surface of the salmon.
The whole fillet should have about 20 pinbones. You’ll be ready to cook that piece of fish once you’ve successfully taken out all the pinbones.
Techniques When Cooking Salmon
This next step involves turning that piece of raw salmon into a delicious and healthy meal. Here are a few popular ways to work with this protein:
The cooking method allows you to enjoy perfectly cooked salmon without any added fat. The poached fish can serve as a mouth-watering base for croquettes and salmon salad. Here are the basic poaching steps:
- Fill a large pot or a medium pan with water that can cover the entire fillet of salmon.
- Add flavoring to the water, such as salt, peppercorns, bay leaf, dry mustard (if you want some heat to your dish), and fresh herbs.
- Slide the fish in, cover the pan or pot, and turn on the heat.
- Let the salmon cook for about 25 minutes. Aim for medium-rare temperature.
- Gently take out the salmon from the water and use a paper towel to drain off the excess water.
- Season the fish.
Put that outdoor charcoal grill to use by whipping up a delicious fish dish. If you’re looking for a salmon with a deep and smoky flavor, grilling is the way to go. Here’s how to cook this fillet over a fire:
- Fire up your coals or gas burner.
- Brush the fillet with the oil and seasoning of your choice. Salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon are common ingredients you can use.
- Gently put the fish skin-side down on the grill.
- Let the salmon cook for about six minutes before flipping. Pro-tip: You’ll know the salmon isn’t ready when the fillet is still sticking to the grate.
- Cook for another few minutes depending on the temperature of the fire. The result should be a salmon that’s crisp on the outside and smoky on the inside.
This technique allows you to cook your salmon easily. It also gives you more time to cook in other areas of your meal. Here’s how to execute an oven-baked fillet:
- Preheat your oven to about 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Season the fish with salt, pepper, and your herbs of choice.
- Place a sheet of baking sheet onto your baking tray. You could also spray grease on the tray to prevent the salmon from sticking.
- Put the fillet skin-side down.
- Bake the protein for about 15 minutes.
- Add a squeeze of lemon and lightly season the salmon before putting it on the plate.
This quick and easy method is for individuals who are in a hurry to cook a delicious fish dish. Here’s how to pull off this technique:
- Brush the fish with olive oil or melted butter. Add salt and pepper if desired.
- Turn up the heat on your frying pan.
- Put the salmon fillet gently on the pan, skin-side down.
- Let the fish cook for about five minutes.
- Use a spatula to flip the fillet.
- Cook the other side for a few minutes.
- Gently take out the salmon from the pan and let it rest on a paper towel.
- Add dry seasoning or lemon juice before serving.
Checking the Salmon for Doneness
A simple way to see if this fish has finished cooking is to press the top of the fillet using a fork. You’ll know the salmon is finished cooking when the fish separates easily.
Keep this guide in mind to whip up a delicious salmon dish. Knowing how to cook this fish means that you don’t have to eat at a restaurant just to enjoy tasty salmon.
Meta title: A Handy Guide to Cooking Salmon for Your Next Meal
Meta description: Prepping the salmon and cooking the fish properly will allow you to enjoy a tasty meal. Read this guide to learn how to work with this piece of protein.