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Salmon in a pressure cooker?

topeater Feb 9, 2014 02:36 PM

I'm loving my new pressure cooker!!! Can you cook salmon? If so, how?

  1. n
    ninrn Feb 10, 2014 09:12 PM

    For future reference, I've cooked salmon I forgot to thaw in the pressure cooker. It's not such a bad idea. Don't try to steam it in there on a rack, though. You'll have to make something more like a poached or stewed salmon if you do it this way.

    Here's how I did it: -- Put the salmon in the PC with whatever else you want in the dish along with some stock and/or water (I'd saute onions and things like that first to add some depth of flavor). Then, bring up to pressure and let cook for 45 to 90 seconds on High. When that time is up, turn off the stove let the pressure come down naturally without taking the pressure cooker off the hot burner. Since the salmon is frozen, this is when the real cooking will happen. The length time you cook under pressure will depend on the size of your salmon pieces, the thickness of the pressure cooker walls, and the ability of your burners to retain heat after they're turned off, so you'll have to experiment a bit. I'd try 60 seconds the first time and see how that goes.

    This is not a perfect method-- the skin will be flaccid and the texture won't be ideal -- but it's not as bad as you'd think it would be, and it works in a pinch. It helps if you put in plenty of butter and a slice of lemon. I cooked the salmon on top of some finely sliced leeks --both the dark and light parts, and it was pretty good. Another time I did it with coconut milk thinned with water and some Thai curry paste on top of a bed of collards. I stirred in a little lime juice and chopped cilantro and basil when it was done. Also pretty good.

    Don't knock until tried, appalled Chowhounders! It's not a first choice, but it's beat any other method I've tried of rapidly cooking hard-frozen fish and, unless my memory gets better, I will probably resort to this again in the future.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ninrn
      topeater Feb 11, 2014 04:39 AM

      That makes sense. I sous vide salmon one time & the skin was yucky.

      1. re: ninrn
        Karl S Feb 11, 2014 05:33 AM

        The time it takes to get a pressure cooker going and undone is longer than it would take to quick-defrost salmon under running cold water in the sink and cooking it. I can't recommend the idea at all, unless you're talking some herculean-sized piece of salmon.... (FWIW, I love using my pressure cooker.)

      2. e
        ePressureCooker Feb 10, 2014 06:38 PM

        Much as I love my pressure cooker, salmon isn't something I've personally tried making in it. However, I checked my pressure cooking cookbooks, and several of them had recipes, in case you own any of these books:

        Salmon Croquettes with Lemon Cheese Sauce (p. 326)
        Salmon Steaks in Smoky Mpale Balsamic Glaze (p. 335)

        Salmon Chowder (p. 124)

        Salmon and Corn Chowder (p. 159)

        Salmon Steaks (p. 115)
        Salmon Wraps (p. 111)

        Atlantic Salmon Roast Poached in Red Wine Court Bouillon with Arugula Pesto (p. 155)
        Salmon and Fennel Chowder with Green Peppercorn Mayonnaise (p. 47)
        Gravlax Risotto (p. 224)

        4 Replies
        1. re: ePressureCooker
          topeater Feb 11, 2014 04:38 AM

          Thanks for the info. I found a link to an old chow hound discussion about cooking paella in a PC. Initially, everyone said no way, but one guy actually does it & give the technique. That's when I began to wonder if salmon could be cooked that way, so that it was steamed or poached.

          1. re: topeater
            ePressureCooker Feb 11, 2014 09:03 AM

            You're welcome. I totally understand. There was one thread on doing a whole chicken in a pressure cooker where someone asked about it, and the response was pretty negative, IIRC. Then one other person and I both posted that we do it all the time, comes out just fine, and here's how we do it. At least one other person actually tried my method, and said it came out well.

            Though I must admit salmon and fish in general aren't one of those things that are best suited for the pressure cooker, they aren't a natural "fit" for it, which means you have to be careful about handling them. That doesn't mean you can't do it, and it won't work out well, that just means one has to be particularly careful about how you do it.

            1. re: ePressureCooker
              topeater Feb 11, 2014 11:54 AM

              I actually copied your whole chicken recipe to try in the future. That was a really interesting discussion.

              1. re: topeater
                ePressureCooker Feb 11, 2014 12:42 PM

                I'm still perfecting it, but yeah, it was an interesting discussion and it did come out pretty well. The guinea pigs have certainly enjoyed it. ;D

        2. jrvedivici Feb 10, 2014 08:17 AM

          The thought of this along with the smell of it sitting all day in a pressure cooker made me vomit a bit. Just a lil bit.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jrvedivici
            tcamp Feb 11, 2014 08:29 AM

            Are you thinking of a slow cooker? There is no reason for the salmon to be "sitting all day" if it is quickly cooked in a PC. Years ago, I tried a fish stew in a slow cooker and, indeed, that stunk up the joint. Also wasn't very good.

          2. r
            rasputina Feb 10, 2014 08:05 AM

            Why would you even want to? Does not compute.

            3 Replies
            1. re: rasputina
              topeater Feb 10, 2014 08:09 AM

              Like I said, I'm in love with my new pressure cooker. Just wanted to make sure I hadn't missed anything it could do! Geez.

              For everyone's information, I marinated the salmon in ginger, garlic & soy & then sautéed it to medium rare. Then I used my pressure cooker to make a lovely risotto to go with it.

              Thanks for all the snarky comments.

              1. re: topeater
                ankm2 Feb 10, 2014 08:16 PM

                That sounds delicious. I'm all for trying new techniques too. I mean you can fry an egg in a minute but hard cooking an egg and then simmering in a sauce can take hours and is amazing. Keep on trying new things and sharing here - don't be dissuaded by the snarkiness. It drives many away but if you hang in there, you can get and share lots of good info. Most of my professional culinary friends dislike this site but I've gotten so many good tips and ideas over the past 7 years, I keep coming back despite some of the closed mindedness.

                1. re: topeater
                  GretchenS Feb 11, 2014 03:00 PM

                  that sounds delicious!

              2. Karl S Feb 10, 2014 07:19 AM

                What did that salmon ever do to you that you would abuse it in a pressure cooker?

                A pressure cooker takes longer to get up to pressure and back down than it takes to cook fish.

                Defrost the salmon gently in your fridge. Step back from the pressure cooker and no one gets hurt.

                1. q
                  Querencia Feb 9, 2014 07:27 PM

                  Some protein foods are naturally tender and you cook them a little just to make them more palatable (eggs, fish). Pressure-cooking salmon would, as another poster said, destroy it. Pressure cook some tough beef and make it nice and tender. Pressure cook an ancient rooster and make him tender. Make a beef stew in 20 minutes. But don't pressure-cook salmon.

                  1. n
                    NVJims Feb 9, 2014 05:30 PM

                    many years ago, I took a couple of big carp fillets, marinated them in dilute red food coloring and a can of cheap smoked salmon, and put them up on a steamer rack in the PC, and gave it about 10 minutes at pressure, and make some imitation smoked salmon-- It was loved at a special event at my sporting goods store--none was left... it was fun telling everyone afterward that it was carp, and I had a lot of folks fishing for carp after that.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: NVJims
                      sunshine842 Feb 10, 2014 06:03 AM

                      no, thanks.

                      not because I have any particular thing about carp (not particularly tasty, but okay) -- but soaked in canned salmon, artificially colored, then have the daylights cooked out of it? I'll pass.

                      1. re: NVJims
                        ChrisOfStumptown Feb 10, 2014 08:18 AM

                        Free slogan for you: "NVJims' Salmon jerky food, made with real salmon product"

                        1. re: NVJims
                          SWISSAIRE Feb 11, 2014 09:13 AM

                          Ever hear of NOVO Salmon ?

                          As you discovered Novo or New Salmon is not always made with Salmon, ( Which I learned in Scotland ).

                          1. re: SWISSAIRE
                            ChrisOfStumptown Feb 11, 2014 10:36 AM

                            No, I have not heard of Novo Salmon. What is it made from? Did you try any?

                            1. re: SWISSAIRE
                              Miss Priss Feb 14, 2014 08:55 AM

                              Swissaire, are you perhaps thinking of Nova, aka Nova lox, aka Nova Scotia-style salmon?

                              1. re: Miss Priss
                                SWISSAIRE Feb 14, 2014 05:10 PM

                                Yes, that was it.

                                I was packing for a flight to JBG and typing while packing.

                                NovA Salmon.

                          2. meatn3 Feb 9, 2014 04:32 PM

                            You could but why ruin a nice fish?

                            1. Ttrockwood Feb 9, 2014 03:53 PM

                              For cat food? Yes.
                              For dinner? Bleugh.

                              1. C. Hamster Feb 9, 2014 03:31 PM

                                You will destroy it.

                                Many things are just not meant to be pressure cooked. Fish is one if them.

                                1. s
                                  sal_acid Feb 9, 2014 02:44 PM


                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: sal_acid
                                    rjbh20 Feb 9, 2014 03:00 PM

                                    Actually, this would be good for the guy in another thread with his jaw wired shut. He could use a straw.

                                  2. r
                                    rjbh20 Feb 9, 2014 02:40 PM

                                    Salmon takes 5 minutes to sear on the stove as a filet and about 30 to roast as a whole fish. Why do want to use a pressure cooker?

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: rjbh20
                                      topeater Feb 10, 2014 06:00 AM

                                      It's still frozen, so I thought I could put it in the steamer in the pressure cooker.

                                      1. re: topeater
                                        ChrisOfStumptown Feb 10, 2014 08:36 AM

                                        Cooking frozen food without defrosting makes a bad final product.

                                        1. re: ChrisOfStumptown
                                          kseiverd Feb 11, 2014 02:30 PM

                                          Once bought Mako steaks at supermarket. Had never had it before and it's not usually in fish section. Bought WAY too much, so froze about half... 2 smallish pieces... for later. I cooked other 2 pieces quickly in brown butter and squeezed lemon juice over... pretty tasty. When I decided to cook what I had frozen, had a "genius" thought... butter, lemon, a little water and just plunked frozen fish in for a low slow simmer. It cooked, but was inedible?? Can't think of any fish that you actually need a KNIFE for, but this stuff was like WOOD!?! Dog got a treat?? Ya live & learn!

                                        2. re: topeater
                                          Miss Priss Feb 10, 2014 08:28 PM

                                          I pressure-cook frozen salmon once in a while when I've forgotten to defrost it and there's nothing else in the house. I season it, wrap it in foil, and steam it on high pressure for 9 or 10 minutes, depending on its thickness. It's perfectly edible, but obviously not as good as poached, grilled, or roasted salmon.

                                          1. re: Miss Priss
                                            ChrisOfStumptown Feb 10, 2014 10:26 PM

                                            interesting to hear that frozen fish can be cooked this way. I don't own a pressure cooker, although I wish I did.

                                            I had heard that defrosting step kept the cell walls intact, while cooking frozen items directly tended to rupture them leading to moisture loss and unappealing texture. I haven't tried cooking anything directly for frozen in a very very long time, but from what I recall I did not like the results. If I want to cook out of the freezer I defrost the item in warm water. This is not as quick as direct into a pressure cooker but it's quick enough for me.

                                            I'm glad it works for you - I would not have believed it.

                                            1. re: ChrisOfStumptown
                                              Miss Priss Feb 14, 2014 08:51 AM

                                              It's certainly not my preferred method, but wrapping the fish in foil at least keeps it moist. The texture is reminiscent of canned salmon - maybe a little firmer. Yes, warm-water defrosting might yield better results, but sometimes I don't even have the time (or the patience) for that!

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