One of the world's most versatile fish is the humble salmon. It can sometimes be rather intimidating to someone who may be new to cooking, or if you're not completely confident in your skills. How do you know if it is cooked the whole way through? How do I stop the skin sticking to the pan and even more, how do I get it nice and crispy. We are here with the ultimate guide on how to cook our fishy friend. You will be a pro after, just you wait.
How to cook salmon in the oven
It's a common misconception that salmon needs a lot longer in the oven than it actually does. Obviously we don't want to under cook it, how you like your salmon to be cooked is completely subjective. I love it slightly soft in the middle so always take it out of the oven a little before it is completely cooked through. But go for whatever works for you!
Line your baking tray with foil and drizzle a very small amount of oil onto the foil. Place your side or fillet of salmon down on top of the oil with a little zest of lemon, sprinkle of sea salt and twist of black pepper. Bake in a 180ºC oven for 15 - 20 minutes.
Why not try our ridiculously good Baked Garlic Butter Salmon.
How long to cook salmon in the oven
Salmon will take around 15 - 20 minutes to cook in an oven that's been preheated to 180ºC.
How to cook salmon in a pan
Probably the most common way of cooking a salmon fillet. Though there are a few things you must watch out for! Make sure your pan is non-stick, and heat well before with a little flavourless cooking oil. Start with searing the skin side down and leave until it crisps up a little. You will slowly be able to see the salmon proteins set and cook upwards.
Flip the salmon over and start to cook on the top side of the salmon. Keep the heat on medium to high but do keep an eye on it to stop it catching and burning. When cooked, the salmon should flake away easily with a fork. If checking the salmon with a temperature probe it should be 50-60ºC at the thickest part of the salmon. Each side should take between 3 - 5 minutes to cook.
How long to cook salmon in a pan
Salmon fillets take around 3 - 5 minutes to cook on each side.
How to cook salmon en papillote (French for 'in paper')
You can totally wow your family and friends with this super cheffy technique, but never fear it is SO easy, anyone can do it.
Line a baking tray with baking paper and lay down two rows of lemon slices with a few sprigs of thyme on one half of the paper. Place your salmon fillets on top of the lemon slices, fold the other half of the paper over and begin to twist the sides, making it into almost a Cornish pasty shape. Do remember to leave a small hole at the side for a little steam to escape. Place in a 180ºC oven for 15 minutes and your salmon will (hopefully) come out lightly steamed with those delicious aromatics!
You can also try this technique with foil. Practice with our DREAMY Grilled Salmon with Lemony Asparagus.
How to poach salmon
This is definitely one of the healthier ways to cook up your salmon. It's naturally a healthy omega-3 rich fish, and is a fab source of protein. Poaching may take a little longer and it is a little trickier to impart flavour into the fish but you can always add your fave flavours afterwards. It is so worth it if you have a little more time on your hands and enjoy getting cheffy in the kitchen!
Try your hands at our Poached Salmon recipe. It will make your fillets superbly soft and fantastically flaky.
How to tell if salmon is cooked
When the salmon starts to cook, the protein inside the fish will start to ooze out of the sides, which is a fab indicator of it being ready to eat. When pan frying, the skin will start to crisp up nicely around the sides which is also a great way of checking your fish is ready to tuck into.