Pan-Seared Salmon Fillets
Serves 2 to 4.
• 2 (6-oz.) salmon fillets
• 1 tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
Remove the salmon fillets from the refrigerator about 15 minutes before you’re ready to cook (this will give them enough time to come to room temperature).
Use a paper towel or clean dish towel to pat each fillet dry, both on top and bottom, to prevent them from sticking to the pan.
Place a stainless steel or cast iron skillet on the stovetop over medium-high heat, and let the pan heat up for a couple of minutes.
Flick a few drops of water into the pan to test if it’s hot enough. If the water sizzles and evaporates almost immediately, the pan is ready to go. If not, let it heat up for another minute and test again.
Once the pan is hot enough, add 1 tablespoon oil to the pan. Tilt the skillet so that a thin layer of oil coats the bottom. Continue to heat the oil until you see ripples across the surface, but not long enough that it smokes.
Just before adding the salmon to the skillet, season the fillets with salt.
Carefully add the fillets to the skillet one at a time, skin-side down.
The majority of the cooking will take place while the salmon is skin-side down in the pan. Above all else, resist the temptation to poke, prod or move the fish; it’s important that you leave it be. As the fish cooks, you’ll notice the color of fillet begin to lighten, starting at the bottom near the skin and slowly moving upward. Cook the salmon, without touching it, until the lighter-colored flesh has moved about 3/4 of the way up the fillets, for about 4 minutes for 1/2 inch of thickness, about a total of 8 to 9 minutes for thick fillets and 6 to 7 minutes for thinner fillets.
Use a fish spatula to flip the salmon fillets, turning the fish away from you to prevent any oil splatter. Cook for an additional 2 minutes for thicker fillets and 1 to 2 minutes for thinner fillets.
Use a fish spatula to remove the fillets from the pan, and transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate, placing the salmon skin-side down.
Rest the fillets for about 3 minutes before serving.