Pan-Seared Salmon

I saw an article for the best pan-seared salmon in one of my Cooks Illustrated magazines.  I’ve been wanting to try it.  I’ve put it off because it honestly seemed so simple  (just salt and pepper for flavoring) I didn’t think it could be anything special, but I was wrong.  The brine makes it so the fish is perfectly seasoned throughout and while the top gets crisp the middle stays moist instead of drying out.  Would probably be delicious with just some fresh squeezed lemon over top, but I made their mango-mint salsa to throw on top which was also good.  And the whole thing can be thrown together in about half hour, making this a delicious, quick and healthy meal.


Ingredients for Salmon:

  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 quarts water
  • 4 (6-8 oz) skin on salmon fillets (the salmon I bought tonight already had the skin off so I threw just a little oil in the pan and both sides instead of just the top were crispy–still good)
  • Lemon wedges

Ingredients for Mango-mint Salsa:

  • 1 mango, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3 Tbsp lime juice (2 limes)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 1 jalapeno chile, stemmed seeded, and minced (perhaps just half a jalapeno would be enough this had a little kick to it.
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt

*Combine all ingredients together

Directions for Salmon:

  1. Dissolve 1/2 C salt in 2 quarts water in large container.  Submerge salmon in brine and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.  Remove salmon from brine and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Sprinkle bottom of 12-inch nonstick skillet evenly with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.  Place fillets, skin side down, in skillet and sprinkle tops of fillets with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper (or if no skin put a tiny bit of olive oil in the bottom of the pan before throwing the fish in).  Heat skillet over medium-high heat and cook fillets without moving them until fat begins to render, skin begins to brown, and bottom 1/4 inch of fillets turn opaque, 6-8 minutes.
  3. Using tongs, flip fillets and continue to cook without moving them until centers are still translucent when checked with tip of paring knife, 6-8 minutes longer.  Transfer fillets to serving platter (removing skins if desired) and let rest for 5 minutes before serving with lemon wedges. Or top with mango-mint salsa.

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