‘Common mistake’ when cooking salmon causes skin to ‘stick’ to the pan

Cooking salmon incorrectly can result in a soggy, stuck-to-the-pan skin or a dry fillet which is unpleasant to eat.

Perfecting the art of cooking salmon can be tricky. Varying temperatures, different types of oil and whether or not you’re marinading your fillets are all important factors to take into account.

While salmon has a meatier flavour and texture than other fish, it is delicate and requires a fine balance when cooking.

Now, culinary experts from online meat and fish company Campbells Prime Meat have shared their secrets to mastering the perfect crispy, pan-seared salmon.

1. Preheat your pan first

Before diving in, preheat your pan before adding the salmon fillet. The experts said: “One common mistake is starting with an unheated or lukewarm pan. This can cause the salmon skin to stick to the surface, leading to a messy, torn appearance.”

When you preheat the pan, the salmon will start cooking as soon as it hits the bottom of the pan which will seal in moisture and flavour while crisping up that delicate skin.

2. Remove moisture

Even before you start cooking your salmon, you could be missing a crucial step – drying off the salmon skin.

Drying off the salmon skin with paper towels before pan-searing will ensure the skin stays crispy when it’s being cooked without it steaming.

Not drying off the skin will result in soft, soggy skin as it will steam instead of sear.

3. Don’t flip it too soon

According to the experts, “patience is key” when it comes to cooking salmon. If you flip it too quickly, the skin could tear or stick to the pan.

The experts have shared exactly how to prep and pan-sear your salmon. Firstly, you should consider lightly scoring the skin with a knife before cooking it.

They continued: “Start by placing the salmon skin-side down in the hot pan, gently press down on the salmon fillets with a spatula and then allow the salmon to cook undisturbed for four to five minutes until the skin releases naturally from the pan.”

Once the skin is crisp and golden brown (around 80 percent cooked), gently flip the salmon and cook it for an additional two to three minutes on the flesh side.

4. The right oil

You may think any cooking oil can be used for cooking salmon but this is not the case.

Home cooks need to choose oils with a high smoke point such as grapeseed, canola, or avocado oil as these can withstand the high heat that’s needed for achieving a crispy skin without it burning.

Simply add a thin layer of oil to a preheated pan before you begin pan-searing it. Adding the oil to the pan will prevent excess oil from interfering with the crisping process and will ensure the fish has the best texture.

5. Don’t crowd the pan

If you’ve got a regular-sized pan, you should cook no more than two to three fillets at a time.

Too many salmon fillets in the pan can lower the temperature of the cooking surface and prevent the salmon skin from crisping up properly.

The experts added: “If necessary, cook in batches, leaving approximately two inches of separation between each piece.

“This spacing allows for proper air circulation and even heat distribution, guaranteeing each fillet crisps evenly.”

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