adapted from an article by Danielle Walsh for Bon Apetit
Here are some thoughts from the experts on why people often get this healthy fish so wrong.
- Just Yank Out the Pin Bones
Yes, you should remove the pin bones—but carefully. Pulling them up and out of the salmon will rip up its flesh, which is not a good look. Take tweezers and carefully pull out the pin bones in the same direction the bones are oriented in the salmon’s flesh.
- Who Wants Skin? Just Rip It Off
First of all—skin is tasty! So when you’re cooking salmon, keep the skin on: It provides a safety layer between your fish’s flesh and a hot pan or grill. Start with the skin-side down, and let it crisp up. It’s much easier to slide a fish spatula under the salmon’s skin than under its delicate flesh. The only exception — you should remove the skin when you’re poaching fillets.
- Poach It in Plain Water
Speaking of poaching, don’t poach your salmon in plain water. It’s a missed opportunity to add flavor! At the very least, spike the water with lemon or a half head of garlic. Better yet, go all out and poach the salmon in dry white wine.
- Salmon Is Salmon, Right?
When buying salmon, consider your options. First off, don’t turn your nose up at the belly—it’s fatty, rich, and full of flavor. Plus, it tends to be cheaper than fillets. If you’re going for a more traditional cut—like a steak or a fillet—make sure you get pieces that are all the same size. The best bet is to ask for a center cut for uniform thickness.
- Cook It Till It Flakes
This is the most common mistake—and often results in overcooking. If using a grill or a pan, sear salmon skin-side down on high heat until the skin is crispy, then, whether you flip your fish or not, finish cooking it on low heat. The fish’s sections should give and pull apart easily—not flake into dry pieces.
- Chuck the Leftovers
Our assistant food editor firmly believes that cold, day-old salmon is better than piping-hot. We definitely agree that you should give your leftovers some love: flake it into a salad, turn it into a sandwich, or just eat it straight from the fridge.