6 Common Mistakes We Make When Cooking Salmon

Who doesn’t want to savor some well-cooked salmon? We all do. But the sad truth is, many don’t know how to cook it at home. Who’s to blame them? Cooking fish can be intimidating, not to mention, a daunting task. Fish skin tends to stick to the pan and mess up such an expensive meal.

You’ll be glad to know that we can help you get over your fears. This article will help you avoid the most common pitfalls people make when preparing salmon at home.

1. Buying Poor Quality Salmon

Before you even get the chance to cook, the first common mistake you’re likely to make is buying poor-quality fish. If you want a steak or fillet, ask for evenly sized pieces. Specify your preference and ask for uniform thickness because evenly sized salmon cooks evenly.

Another thing to remember is that wild-caught and farm-raised fish taste different. Of course, the former is more savory and complexly flavored than the latter. If you are not close to a body of water, you can buy salmon online from the source, and you won’t have to compromise on quality and freshness.

2. Using the Wrong Pan

The right pan can make the difference between a properly cooked meal and the alternative. Fish skin tends to stick; therefore, it’s wise to use a nonstick pan instead of cast iron. Experienced cooks use stainless steel, but nonstick is the surefire way to ensure it does not remain attached after cooking.

3. Skinning out the Poor Fish

The skin may look undesirable, but it’s more beneficial to keep it. Here’s why.

As unpleasant as it may look, salmon skin tastes delicious. If you’ve never tried it, give it a taste sometime to see what you think. Another reason to preserve the skin is that it provides a protective layer between the hot pan or grill and the flesh. Start cooking it with the coating down till it crisps up.

Now, the only exception to removing the skin is when slow roasting and poaching. This will prevent it from becoming crispy and gummy all at once, leading to an unpleasant texture.

4. Overcooking

Overcooking is the difference between a nice dinner and expensive cat food. You don’t want that, do you? Many don’t admit it, but you will be surprised at how common overcookingactually is.

When using the grill or pan, put its skin side down on the pan (told you to preserve the skin). You’ll be cooking the salmon for about 5 minutes and the skin should stay down on the pan most of the time.

Regulate the heat from medium to medium-high. Cook till the flesh turns to opaque white from translucent pink. Flip it with a flexible spatula and let the pan’s residual heat cook the fish.

5. Poaching Salmon in Plain Water

It’s quite shocking that some people poach in plain water. At least use garlic and lemon water to spike it, or better yet, use dry white wine.

Using fragrant aromatics while poaching also leaves your kitchen smelling better. But seriously, no-poaching with plain water!

6. Reheating Leftovers

What do you do with the leftover salmon? Nuke it in the microwave and continue where you left off last night? Terrible idea. Most marine products don’t reheat well.

Consider using it as a salad or as a sandwich ingredient. No reheating.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, cooking salmon is not as hard as you may think. It’s actually quite liberating, knowing that you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for your favorite meal at the restaurant.