Introduction: Pan-fried Salmon

Picture of Pan-fried Salmon

Easy salmon fillets in less than 10 minutes.

Step 1: Prep Pan

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Preheat a non-stick pan, spray it with canola oil, and add the spices of your choice. This layer of spice will adhere to the underside of your fish, avoiding the messy procedure of seasoning on the counter.

I used fresh ground black pepper and some cajun seasoning.

Step 2: Prep and Add Fish

Picture of Prep and Add Fish

Rinse your salmon and pat it dry.

Holding the fish over the sink, lightly rub it down with a thin layer of cornstarch. Give your fish a gentle shake to remove any excess cornstarch; this is intended to be an extremely thin layer. The cornstarch will help seal moisture into your fish, and help form a slightly crispy exterior.

Drop it skin-side down in the pan and cook over medium-high heat.

Step 3: Spray and Season

Picture of Spray and Season

Spray the top surface of the fish with the canola oil. This will ensure it has enough oil to prevent sticking when you flip it later, and will help spices stick to the surface.

Add the same spices that you originally added to the pan. I added black pepper and cajun seasoning, trying to get roughly the same ratio as I dd in the pan.

Step 4: Flip

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Keep an eye on the thick end of the fillet to see how far through it's cooked. You want to flip the fish when it's slightly less than 1/3 of the way through the fish.

After flipping watch until it has cooked slightly less than 1/3 of the way from the other side. The center will continue to cook after you remove the fish from the hot pan; if you wait until there's no pink left in the center the fish will overcook on the plate. Fish are delicate.

If you like, press the thick end up against the side of the pan to sear it before removing the fish.

Step 5: Serve

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Let the fish sit off the heat for 2-5 minutes to finish cooking and redistribute juices, then plate and serve quickly.

Serve with lemons and the side dishes of your choice.


normansussman (author)2012-07-28

I just finished eating a delicious, moist, flavorful Salmon Filet made with your recipe.
The recipe is a keeper. Great!

canida (author)normansussman2014-11-18

Awesome, thanks!

LindaLB (author)2013-01-24

I had looked for some time to find a good salmon recipe, and this one is the best ever! It turned out beautifully and tasted just as good. I'm sending the recipe on to family members to try also. thanks!

canida (author)LindaLB2014-11-18

Great, glad it worked well for you!

robfmsfsd2002 (author)2014-07-03

Seasoned with creole seasoning before the corn starch as well as in the pan. It was great.

canida (author)robfmsfsd20022014-11-18

Awesome, glad you liked it!

JackieB3 (author)2014-10-10

This is a great recipe and easy to follow. I tried it and it turned out perfect. Thank you so much!

canida (author)JackieB32014-11-18

Excellent, so glad you liked it!

I Am An Evil Taco (author)2008-06-17

Awesome as always. The only beef that I have is with the pre-mixed seasoning, stuff's terrible for you, but that's minor. Have you tried soaking the fish in a brine before you cook it? I find it makes the meat more tender, and gets rid of a bit of the less pleasant edge of the flavor that fish sometimes has.

I know this post is old, but I have to say, not all remixed seasoning is bad. Mine has salt, red pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika. I love it.

Agreed! Many are quite good, you just have to check the ingredients list.

canida (author)I Am An Evil Taco2008-06-18

I don't usually brine things for one reason - laziness. Cooks Illustrated says that for thinner cuts of meat, salting it and letting it sit will go a long way towards creating that brined effect. While I agree with the deadliness of pre-mixed seasoning, see above for theories on laziness. ;)

xcursedx (author)2006-10-16

it's sad that this sort of crap fills pages upon pages of instructables

rattyrain (author)xcursedx2012-04-14

Oh, the irony.

canida (author)xcursedx2007-07-14

Yes, the internet will soon run out of space because it's full of food.

No worries- I do other things too.

Angelbird (author)2011-12-16

Thank you for this wonderful recipe. With your help here so easy to get a great result, and I did.

ekemp (author)2011-12-04

I made this the other day:
It was delicious and my husband said it was one of my best meals ever!
Your instructions are very clear!
I cooked mine a bit longer/more than you recommended and it still came out quite nice. I used salt, pepper, and Penzey's "vindaloo" seasoning, along with olive oil cooking spray. The cornstarch definitely added a nice touch. ;-)
Nice job. It was a pleasure to work with this recipe.


Wolfbird (author)2010-08-24

I'm eating this right now! I still don't care much for fish itself (I'm more about the turf and less about the surf), but this crispiness business is the bomb. I think I will try this for steak later. I think my fillet was too thick (mine was cut from the head end, looks like yours was the tail). I tried following the "cook to less than 1/3" rule but it was still ice cold in the center at that point. Aesthetics be damned, so I cut it up a little with a spatula and turned down the heat and cooked it a little longer (it's still juicy and it appears to have survived alright). I was going to cook 2 fillets, so I just halved the second one so it was more like strips and that went a lot better. I was really afraid I overcooked it and ruined it, but mine tastes fine and the boyfriend scarfed his down the second it was put in front of him (he got the smaller ones). Can't be that bad, then. On second thought, this is starting to grow on me. I think it just needs a little more surface area:flesh (I'll get a tail cut like yours next time). This time I used only vegetable oil, coarse salt , fresh ground pepper and lemon wedges as seasonings, but I think I'll get some fresh dill next time.

PuddleOfMudd25 (author)2010-06-18

Damn, I'm getting hungry just looking at it! Might have to show this to the old man, see what he thinks of it.

mynameisjonas (author)2008-12-25

I made this salmon last night and it was absolutely delicious. Thank you!

Smilin (author)2008-06-25

Tried this recipe tonight - with a few of my own tiny modifications -I just have to, can't help myself, and it was SUPERB. The cornstarch worked well, I'd never have thought of it. Sauteed in bit of virgin olive oil & butter with salt, lots of cracked pepper and squeezed a lemon on the whole lot while it was cooking, which made a really nice schwsshhht sound :-) The finished product was delicious and had that expensive restaurant look :-)What more could you ask.

CoolJB (author)2008-04-06

My favorite food is fish. My favorite fish is salmon. O_O

Bats22 (author)2008-01-17

As for cooking time, I found something in Kimball's Cook's Bible that I figured might be worth sharing with the gang: James Beard introduced me to this cooking method, which is referred to as the Canadian cooking theory. Simply put, cook fish for 10 minutes per inch of thickness at relatively high heat (450°F or so). This applies to grilling, baking, broiling, even sautking over a medium-high heat. This method is most commonly used when preparing steaks such as swordfish or salmon steaks, which are thick, and there is some leeway in cooking times. I prefer my fish somewhat less cooked and allow 8-9 minutes per inch. This is a very rough timetable, however, and fish needs to be watched carefully to avoid overcooking. I also prefer to stop cooking fish when the center is not quite cooked. Like a custard, fish will continue cooking on its own. Figuring out when fish is done has always been something that vexes me... this rule seems pretty reasonable (although, like Kimball, I go on the rarer side myself). Overcooked fish makes me very sad.

Gjdj3 (author)2007-12-29

cool stuff. when we catch salmon we normally grill it, but this looks so good that i'm going to have to try it.

gunmanx (author)2007-09-30

this looks delishios

Wade Tarzia (author)2007-09-18

Ah, the perfect fish, Salmon. Finally, I learn here solid advice about cook-through -- I will remember the "1/3 through before flipping rule." Always looking for a rule. My first salmon was in Ireland, where it exists in the mythological tradition (believed to be the oldest of all creatures; evolution-wise, not a bad guess, for mythology). They caught it fresh in the River Shannon and cooked it in the pub 20 feet off the banks of the river. The bold taste matches up just fine with Guiness Stout (apologies to the wine crowd). Legendary Finn Mac Cool caught a mythological salmon, was told to cook and eat it, and thereafter he received supernatural gifts of wisdom. If we eat enough salmon....

Wade Tarzia (author)Wade Tarzia2007-09-18

PS -- I cook salon steaks by lightly greasing pan with olive oil, wash fish as you say, dry and give a layer of oil, and then positively coat with black pepper and garlic powder; fry ~10 minutes per side (and I will now try that cook-off-the-heat technique, and maybe even corn starch, though I hate adding another step to cooking ;-). I did that first out of accident and ignorance -- I am a barbrain when it comes to cooking -- but it came out fine, and I keep on doing it, sort of a 'blackened salmon' effect.

Imperar (author)2007-08-23

This looks really nice! I love salmon, though usually my mother cooks it for! XD I'm not really a fan of fried foods though, my mother usually grills salmon or makes a really good soup out of it and it is dee-licious. I'm sure yours is too. My favorite seasonings include black pepper, soy sauce, and or lemon juice.

MattWinb (author)2006-10-13

This weekend, I'm thinking of making and posting a ganache recipe, and a lemon curd recipe. It gives me an excuse to make them, anyway.

canida (author)MattWinb2006-10-13

o.0 That sounds fantastic! Please post asap.

intoon (author)2006-10-12

Gosh Canida, that looks amazing! And the presentation is marvelous.

MattWinb (author)2006-10-12

Canida, this looks incredible! I'll have to try this out this weekend. Your food instructables are a huge part of the reason that I keep coming back to this site. Thanks for taking the time to submit them!

canida (author)MattWinb2006-10-12

Wow, thanks for the compliment! I'll try to keep posting regularly. I'd also love to see some of your favorite recipes.

westfw (author)2006-10-12

Looks good to me. I've become moderatly convinced that the entire secret to good salmon is to make sure you don't overcook it (and you do emphasize that.) Seaonings are secondary...

pt (author)2006-10-11

i cant believe you would do this to a fish. i'm outraged. like, really outraged.

canida (author)pt2006-10-11

But it was dead when I bought it! I have the highest respect for salmon, and demonstrate this by turning it into yuppie food! No LEDs were harmed in the making of this dinner.

About This Instructable




Bio: I've been posting Instructables since the site's inception, and now build other things at Autodesk. Follow me for food and more!
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