You just never know when you’re going to teach an old friend to cook salmon from 900 miles away. I am on Facebook last night and my friend, Jeff Pearlman, instant messages me. He is cooking dinner for his children. He lives in Westchester, New York. I am in Brentwood, Tennessee. He is in his kitchen. I am in my garage, because we don’t smoke in the house anymore. He has a question about cooking salmon. Actually, I’m guessing that from the first question he has never cooked salmon in his life. Here goes. In real time.
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Quick question: how long do you bake salmon for, and at what temp?
How big is the salmon (thin or thick). And can you sear it in a pan instead?
I hate salmon baked. Tastes fishy to me. You should saute it.
uh, really? never considered that. it’s for the kids
Kids deserve good food, too. So, here’s what you do. Apply some kind of rub or just salt and pepper if you don’t have a rub. Heat up the pan to medium/high. Film the pan with oil and when it sizzles, put in the salmon. Get it a good nice brown on one side and flip it. Cook for about a minute more and then start testing it with a fork to see if it flakes. Don’t overcook it.
i marinated it. that ok?
Marinated is good. Just pat it dry before you saute it.
You can do this.
wait, how long do you have each side on? roughly? the salmon—before flipping?
Give it about 4 minutes on the first side and a minute or 2 on the second before you start checking. If it’s not done, you can always add time. This is kind of hard not knowing how thick it is. Are you making this right now?
It should look moist in the center.
but one side is pink, bottom is black. do i do them differently at all?
It’s got the skin on one side, I’m presuming.
Have you started yet?
You want the skin side down in the pan first.
#@$%, i put pink down first
Flip it. NOW
@#$%#. it’s a wee-bit charred. just a tiny bit
The skin needs to be crisp. So keep cooking and lift it up with a spatula to see if it’s a nice brown color. You can always take the skin off. Just check the inside and see if it’s still moist.
You have to do this by feel. Intuition.
moist? color indicator?
Outside will be light pink. Inside will be more coral.
done with piece one. bottom sorta charred black. that bad? put piece 2 on. bottom down first
Oh, good. You have a do over. If it’s the skin side that’s charred it’s not necessarily bad. Taste it. If it doesn’t taste good take the skin off.
so about 3 mins? you have skype?
Yep (we get on Skype). You look cute. Show me your fish
OK, it’s about an inch thick. It looks pretty good. Put a fork into the center of it. What color?
It’s a little underdone on the side that looks a little too moist. Throw it back in the pan on that side for about 30 seconds to a minute.
i took the fish off
So taste it.
i gotta go … kids need their food. thank you a ton.
OK, then. Good job! Go feed your kids. And send me a photo.