Salmon is a fabulous fish that can be prepared in a variety of ways. It can be poached, grilled, baked, sauteed and can even be eaten raw. The keys to making moist salmon are freshness, temperature, and cooking time. Salmon is a delicious and nutritious; it is loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids, which aid brain functioning and may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Things You'll Need
- Fresh salmon
- cedar plank
- Light flavored marinade
Buy fresh salmon. Make sure the salmon comes from a trusted market. Salmon should never smell fishy but instead should carry the smell of the water from which it was caught. Fresh and clean if from a fresh water source, briny if from an ocean. It should be springy to the touch and have no spots or discoloration. Fresh salmon is almost reddish in hue.
Prepare the salmon for success. There are a number of ways you can successfully do this. Use a marinade of your choosing to seal in the moisture. Gently poach the salmon in fish stock, which will infuse additional flavor and add initial moisture. Finally, you can cook the fish from frozen which adds only a few minutes to cooking time, but helps hold the moisture.
Crank the heat to sear in the flavor. Like many proteins, searing can help trap in the moisture. Salmon is delicate and only takes 30 seconds to sear at high heat. Once seared, cook the fish on indirect heat.
Utilize a cedar plank. Place the salmon on a cedar plank that you have soaked in water for at least two hours. The plank keeps the heat away from the fish, decreasing the chance of it drying out.
Avoid overcooking. Salmon continues to cook even after removing it from the heat source. Stop cooking when the fish is still pink in the middle. While resting the juices will redistribute and complete the cooking. Salmon is most moist when the very center still has a pinkish hue. Cooking time depends on thickness; use six minutes per inch of fish as a guide.
Tips & Warnings
- Keep the skin on the salmon when you cook it. The flavor in on the surface of the fish is deep and will add richness to the palate.
- Simplicity is key with Salmon. A simple application of butter, salt and pepper can make a great tasting dish, if the fish is fresh and is cooked correctly. A little fresh lemon squeezed on top also provides a nice balanced taste.
- Salmon has a great natural flavor that can be easily masked by a marinade. Be careful to use a light marinade and do not over use it.
- If you use cedar, make sure there are no preserving chemicals in the wood. Specialized and safe planks can be found at most kitchen stores or anywhere salmon is sold.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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