Salmon is prevalent in Seattle and an important part of the food culture here. When I first moved here, I didn’t know how to cook it, but now (and many years later) salmon is one of my family’s favorite meals.
It turns out that salmon really is easy to prepare at home. It’s quick enough for a weeknight dinner while also worthy of any special occasion and holiday. Salmon can be cooked in a skillet, roasted in the oven, poached or grilled. Leftover salmon is easy to use up, too! Mix together salmon patties, toss with pasta and lemon or add to a salad.
Tips for Making Perfect Salmon!
Here are a few tips to help demystify salmon and help you cook it with ease.
- I recommend buying six ounces per person.
- When buying salmon, look for similar sized fillets so they can cook evenly.
- Cook the salmon the same day you purchase it.
- Prepare salmon for cooking by removing any pin bones. Grab a pair of fish bone tweezers (or any clean tweezers available) and run your index finger back and forth across the fillet. The pin bones are in a line and are partially visible. Feel for the pokey bone and remove by using tweezers to pull the bone out in the same direction it lays. If buying frozen packaged fillets, the pin bones are already removed but it’s still a good idea to check before cooking.
- Salmon skin is edible but can be unappetizing if it's soft. Unless you're frying the skin to a crisp, remove the skin after cooking by slipping the skin off with a spatula.
- The FDA recommends cooking salmon to an internal temperature of 145℉ or when it is opaque and flakes easily when lightly pressed.
Below, I’ve rounded up a variety of easy salmon recipes utilizing multiple types of cooking methods: grilled, baked, poached, and broiled. I hope these easy recipes find their way into your meal rotation and that you cook salmon with confidence.
You can pair all of these wonderful salmon recipes with a glass of wine and enjoy!
Pacific salmon works well in this recipe because of its firmer texture. Look for wild caught if at all possible. Mix up a spicy jerk seasoning and broil the salmon for a quick and flavorful meal. Broiling happens quickly so don’t walk away from the oven. The salmon is cooked once the seasoning is a little crusty and the fillet flakes when lightly touched. Serve with Coconut Rice and Beans.
Instead of buying individual fillets, pick up a whole side of salmon from the fishmongers at the market or seafood counter. A flavorful honey lemon butter sauce is poured over the fish before wrapping it in foil and baking in the oven. The foil keeps the moisture in and helps ensure the salmon doesn’t dry out.
For smaller gatherings, make individually wrapped foil packets and include quick cooking vegetables such as snap peas and tomatoes. Harissa paste amps up the flavor and keeps prep work to a minimum. These would be great cooked over a fire, too.Continue to 5 of 9 below.
When it's too hot to turn on the oven, make poached salmon instead. White wine, dill, and onions make a flavorful poaching liquid for the salmon to cook in. Plus, it’s on the table in 15 minutes!
Put a tropical twist on grilled salmon with this easy salsa. Make the salsa before grilling because it only takes 8 minutes for these to cook on the grill! Look for Pacific salmon such as King, Sockeye or Coho for the best results.
Smoked salmon is sold ready-to-eat and makes a tasty addition to this pasta salad. Look for hot smoked salmon instead of cold smoked (such as lox). Hot smoked salmon is flaky and comes in a variety of flavors. This pasta salad would also be a great way to use up any leftover salmon.Continue to 9 of 9 below.
Fresh salmon makes light and tender fish cakes. It’s a great way to try salmon for those unsure if they like it or not. Salmon cakes are also a great way to use up leftover salmon. Sauteed in a skillet, these patties are on the table in about 30 minutes.