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Pan fried salmon

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone

Whenever I pan fry a salmon fillet, it turns out to be dry.

My method is to use butter, pan fry the salmon (not marinated) for 20 seconds on high heat to seal the juice, then lower the fire for another 1 minute before turning over for another 30 seconds.

The fillet is usually 15mm thick.

Can anyone help me on this ?

Thanks
yuesang:smiles:
post #2 of 13
First of all, it's a myth that you sear a piece of meat to 'seal' in the juices. Searing does no such thing. Second, dry fish means it was overcooked. Lower the heat, cook less. You can also try poaching the fish. It's a little easier to get a moister product that way (but still be careful not to overcook).
post #3 of 13
The only salmon I like is smoked. Otherwise, I always find it dry, even the properly cooked salmon. Maybe you're a bit like me.

Phil
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #4 of 13
Also, using a cast-iron pan has gotten me near-perfect results every time. Also, if it's a piece of fish with skin on, I'll cook the skin side first, then flip the meat over on top of the skin (no problem getting the skin to stay put in the iron pan) for side B.
post #5 of 13
I'm in big salmon (70, 80 pounder's) country, you are cooking it to long and to high!

Turn the heat down some, and don't cook it so long. Here's what I tell folks that are learning to cook salmon. "Till you get the hang of it, cook it on both sides to get your "crust" then cover the pan, turn off the heat and leave it alone for 4-5 minutes." It will be moist and you can start getting the feel for how long to cook it.
post #6 of 13
Yes a 15mm piece of salmon could easily be overcooked without great care.

But my lazy way of cooking a skin on piece is to place it skin side down onto a hot pan with a little clarified butter . I then straight away turn the heat right down or off and cover with a lid. You can even add a little liquid - e.g wine , lemon juice etc. This way the skin is crisp and the flesh moist.

If I was looking for something a bit fancier I would look at a confit method or very slow roast (110-150 deg F).
You can also pan fry or BBQ the fillet in parchment paper with a marinade of choice for a very impressive result.

Or if its good and fresh (which it should be) you could just go raw.:lips:
post #7 of 13
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-Now I'm intrigued by that. Any links/details on the paper technique?
post #8 of 13
Certainly Guy.

This technique is most useful for whole fish , but does work well for fillets too.

I find its best to use the baking/parchment paper from commercial cooking suppliers. Its thicker and wider than the supermarket variety.

Make a sauce or marinade of your choice . A simple lemon juice ,butter , herbs and salt mix works very well. But you can do whatever takes your fancy. Coat the fish or fillet well with the mixture and score the skin of whole fish .

Then wrap the fish in a "package" with the paper , keeping the whole thing as water tight as possible. I do this by careful folds and stapling. But the more "artsy" prefer simple folds and twists.

The package can then be cooked on the hot plate of a bbq or in a fry pan . If your BBQ is all open grill like mine you will need a metal tray (thick enough not to warp) for the fish.
The plate or pan needs to be hot enough for the fish to brown and caramelise inside the package , but of course not too hot otherwise the paper will catch fire. However good quality parchment paper can take plenty of heat. Cook on both sides . This method is certainly more forgiving than many other fish cooking techniques , but still your results will be lessened by overcooking.

You can then serve individual packages/serves directly onto plates for "individual unwrapping" or if its a large whole fish , it can be unwrapped at the table and served. Both ways give plenty of "novelty" and the fish inside will be very beautifully browned on the outside and amazingly moist on the inside. To the point where your guests will chew every last morsel off the paper and sometimes more .

Great method also for camping/fishing trips. Clean up is little more than a trip to the garbage bin.
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 

Salmon

Hi Pinot

That's a unique way of bbq or pan frying a fish without getting it dry. Perhaps you can let us know the time recommended

Thanks
yuesang:smiles:
post #10 of 13
Actually, fresh salmon can be eaten raw. So, you don't really have to cook it over the pan that long till it dries up.
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Visit my site on home-cooked Asian recipes!

http://deliciousasianfood.com
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post #11 of 13
Yuesang it will all depend on the size of fish you are cooking and I am not one for exact times anyway . So you need to do it by feel and experience. Saying that the cooking process is quicker than if you were just to fry/bbq the fish without the paper. The paper package will puff up with heat and work as a mini oven . Baking/steaming the fish as well the direct action from the pan/grill.

At a pinch you can check for doneness by tearing a small hold in the package and using a knife to check to see if its cooked thru. If I had to make a guess I would think about 5 minutes per side for a plate size trout for instance. Its trickier with bigger fish , where you really need to back off the heat to allow the flesh to cook thru without burning the outside.

Ideally you would , as with most fish want that "just cooked thru " level (remember the cooking process will go on inside the package for some time after its removed from the heat source). But I would still rather see a bit of raw down on the bone rather than fish that is over cooked.

I hope that helps some. I guess the best way is to experiment.
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 

Salmon

Hi Pinot

I guess what you have said is right, use my own judgement and experience. Thanks for the advice.

Yuesang:bounce:
post #13 of 13
Yes, thanks for the tips! I'll probably be picking up some fresh lake trout in Algoma (WI), along with smoked, within the week.

While it's not the most subtle of seasonings, I usually work in my beloved Chipotle with everything — at least in my own portions!
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