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I finally learned to cook pan-seared salmon perfectly!

This easy pan-seared salmon with skin is foolproof and makes perfectly cooked salmon! Plus, it’s super quick to make for lunch or a weeknight dinner. 

I’ve have struggled for years to cook salmon well. I don’t love it baked; I mean, it’s fine, but I liked the crisp crust of seared salmon. But in the past if I seared it, I always felt like I burned it or that I undercooked it. But I’ve finally found a way I can’t mess up! The combo of searing the salmon in a pan and then finishing it in the oven has produced a perfectly cooked salmon for me, over and over. Tommy told me this week that the salmon was “amazing.”

 

how to pan sear salmon

Pan-Seared Salmon with Skin

  • 1 filet salmon, skin on (thawed if purchased frozen)
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Freshly ground black better
  • Salt
    • I especially like pre-mixed fancy salt with herbs since it gives it more flavor but doesn’t require more of my time.
  1. Preheat oven to 425*.
  2. Season salmon with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Be liberal! You can also sprinkle a little sugar on top to help it caramelize.
  3. Heat an oven-safe skillet over medium-high. Add olive oil and once it’s warm (easily swirls in the pan), place your salmon face down (skin-side up) in the pan. Cook for 3-5 minutes until well seared. Carefully flip and cook for 2 more minutes.
  4. Move the salmon — in the skillet you cooked it in! — into the pre-heated oven (skin side still down). Cook for 5-7 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 145*.
  5. If desired, carefully remove the skin from the salmon before serving. It should peel off very easily if you lift an edge with a knife.

Notes:

  • Sometimes I turn on my broiler to help it preheat faster if I’m making this at lunch – maybe it’s in my head but I think it works!
  • If your salmon isn’t thawed, you can microwave it for 30 seconds to defrost it! Not as ideal as letting it thaw in the fridge, but I do it all the time. 🙂
  • You can cook the fish to a lower internal temperature if you like it a little more rare, like I do. I usually take it out around 130*. I LOVE this thermometer for cooking fish (and all meat).
  • You can easily double or quadruple this depending on how many people you’re serving.
  • If you don’t have a pepper grinder, GET ONE. Freshly ground pepper is a game changer compared to pre-ground pepper. It will last you forever if you get a nice one and you just refill it with peppercorns as needed.

easy pan-seared salmon with skin

Serving Suggestions

Below is the salad I served it with if I’m having it for lunch.  If I’m serving it with dinner, I usually serve it with baked sweet potatoes (baked using this method) and roasted broccoli.

  • 2 cups mixed greens
  • 1 carrot, peeled and then cut into thin strips using your peeler
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1 small apple, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons dried cherries, chopped (or any dried fruit)
  • 2 T almond slices, toasted in a dry skillet over medium heat (watch carefully so it doesn’t burn!)
  • Whatever dressing you like! I served with the tahini-miso dressing from this cookbook, but this combo is one of my favorite too:
    • 1 T olive oil, 1 T oregano vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup, salt/pepper

Enjoy! Let me know if you try this!

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  • Christina Orso
    at

    SALMON IS MY FAVORITE!!! Yes, all caps worthy.

  • Belinda
    at

    This is a great suggestion!

  • Carrie this fit chick
    at

    I’m not a great salmon chef! You make it look SO darn good. I know it’s so easy and simple to make, but I always mess it up- it flakes everywhere!

  • Danielle
    at

    Yum! I love salmon!

    I read an article once that had a really easy method for cooking salmon — you start skin-side down and cook it until the color changes halfway up the side of the salmon; flip it and cook until the color changes halfway up the other side, and you’re done. Perfect salmon every time, and no need to mess with a meat thermometer!