Serve perfect pan-seared salmon every time with our easy step-by-step instructions.
- Remove the salmon fillets from the refrigerator about 20 minutes before you’re ready to cook, in order to allow them to come up to room temperature.
- Use kitchen paper to pat each fillet dry on all sides to prevent them from sticking to the pan.
- Choose a stainless steel or cast iron pan large enough to hold all of your salmon fillets. Place the pan over a medium-high heat and give it a few minutes to heat up.
- To test if it’s hot enough, flick a couple of drops of water into the pan. If the water sizzles and evaporates almost immediately, the pan is ready. If not, wait another minute and repeat the test.
- Once the pan is hot enough, add one tablespoon of rapeseed or vegetable oil to the pan, tilting it to coat the bottom. Keep heating the oil until you see ripples moving across the surface, but not so long that it begins to smoke.
- Season the salmon fillets with a little salt and a generous crack of black pepper.
- One at a time, carefully add the salmon fillets to the pan, skin-side down. Use a flexible metal fish spatula to hold the fillets firmly in place for the first 1-2 minutes as their bottom layers cook.
- Resist the temptation to move the fish around the pan. As the fish cooks, the colour will begin to lighten, beginning at the bottom and slowly moving upwards. Cook the salmon, without touching it, until the lighter-coloured flesh has moved about three-quarters of the way up the fillets.
- Use a fish spatula to flip the salmon fillets, turning the fish away from you to avoid getting splattered with hot oil. If you’ve left the fish alone without moving it, the skin should be crisp and detach itself from the pan easily. Continue to cook, flesh-side down, for an additional 1-2 minutes.
- Use a fish spatula to remove the salmon from the pan. Transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper, skin-side down.
- Tent loosely with tin foil and rest the fillets for 3-4 minutes before serving.
Always pan-sear salmon with its skin on, even if you plan on serving it skinless.