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Jun 7, 2007 05:33 PM

Help for Cooking Salmon

Typically when I cook small portion size fillets I dredge in a little flour, dust off excess, sear the outsides in a hot pan, and finish in the oven. So I was wondering...what do you in the event of using a whole full size (computer keyboard length) fillet. I don't think I can sear the outsides and keep it in one piece. Any suggestions on an oven only cooking process (that'd preferably still have a little crust on the outside)? Broiler? Never really did this big of a piece before, so I'm not too sure about timing/temperature. Still looking for that medium done-ness. Since it won't touch a skillet or anything, is there any need to do the flour thing? Thanks!

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  1. I would say no on the flour and instead lots of salt and pepper and some butter if you want it simple, or start adding a glaze or herbs if you want to get more complicated. As for timing just remember that 8minutes per inch is the magic number (as a max). I would watch it carefully since it is your first time and check it around 6 minutes. I have made broiled salmon lots and it is lovely.


    1. Sorry, friend, no way that I have ever heard to cook a whole salmon fillet and also get a crispy crust. Your choices are:
      1) cut into the usual size pieces and cook as you described by deep frying
      2) poach it whole in a 24 inch fish poaching pan, but it won't have a crispy crust.
      If anyone knows of a way to do this as asked, please let us know. I worked once as a fish monger, and the request, as I understand, ain't gonna work.

      3 Replies
      1. re: jerry i h

        I have seared a whole side of salmon with a crust many times- I was using a tilt skillet (a 24x36 surface), a thin even coat of oil and an 8" spatula in each hand. A catering trick for reducing sticking and for getting a crust is to use bakers' pan spray on the surface of the meat- it contains a little bit of flour that will brown and enough lube to release the fish.

        Her's what I would do- Like Holy Chow says below, get a griddle pan that covers 2 burners or more. Get it HOT, then apply a thin coat of a high smoke-point oil with a rag or paper towel. Have a preheated 400 degree oven and a sheet pan standing by. Season the filet with S&P, then spray liberally with the baker's spray. Using twohands, lift the fish over the pan, then flip it TOWARDS you to place it flesh sided down and let it sear. Let it go longer than you think before touching it- there is quite a lot of moisture escaping from the fish that has further to go to escape. When it is well browned, use two 8" hamburger-flipper style spatulas to get under the fish- think like skis- vorm a "v" to support the whole fillet. The hardest part is flipping it back over onto the sheet pan to finish in the oven.

        1. re: lunchbox

          excellent...griddle pan it is. thanks!

          1. re: lunchbox

            This sounds like a great method. To this I would add a recipe from this year's June issue of Gourmet. They did an article on various salmon cooking methods. In there they have a grilled salmon that is just brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Then once its on the plate you put a horseradish dill butter on top. This one is simply equal parts softened butter and horseradish with some chopped shallots, dill and a little more salt and pepper. I don't have dill around the house so I'm doing this tonight with tarragon which I have growing fresh in my garden. You mix all the butter ingredients together, form into a cylinder with parchment then let chill in the refreigerator. Then all you do is slice off a piece and put it on your grilled salmon. This is on the menu for tonight so I haven't actually tried it yet and certainly it would work just as well I'm sure with a pan seared salmon as with a grilled one.

        2. I once saw Ina put panko bread crumbs on her salmon while it was roasting. I assume that the bread crumbs would create a crust, of course, you're probably looking for a natural crispiness. Might I suggest using a griddle or perhaps barbecuing it? Of course, if it still has the skin on it, that can be easily crisped under a broiler or on a bbq.

          2 Replies
          1. re: digkv

            interesting idea... I'll keep that in mind. I usually use panko for salmon or crab cakes so I imagine it would be pretty good.

            1. re: wongman

              Panko rules! I use them crumbs all the time. Hip, hip hoorah for panko!

              I had a really great piece of outdoor grilled salmon on a cedar plank. I don't know if this is all the rage or sooooo last year, but it was totally delicious.

          2. Griddle pan.

            Heat it hot and give it a light coating of oil (and coat the fish). Simple salt and pepper and sear the sides. If you are cooking to "done" on the inside, your flip will be a challenge. Start skin side up and finish skin side down. Use fish spatulas if you have them, they really work.

            I prefer rare salmon and use the "hand test" like I do red meat. It is tasty, but as a benefit much easier to work with and less likely to break apart.

            1. I always just throw mine into the oven, no seasoning. No flour, what a hassle. The farmed salmon is so fatty that parts of it get sort of crisp, geez. Que veut le peuple?