Salmon fillets are boneless pieces of salmon cut from the meatiest part of the fish, usually in rectangular or triangular shapes weighing about 6 oz. The fillets are available with the skin intact or skinless, and can be quickly prepared using a variety of methods. Whichever method you choose, follow the rule of eight to 10 minutes per inch of thickness of the fish, or four or five minutes per side.
Prepare the fillet by marinating it briefly in a sweet or savory solution, or simply brush the surface with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat a charcoal or gas grill to medium high and grill for four to five minutes a side until the flesh barely flakes when touched with a fork. For added flavor, grill the salmon on an untreated cedar plank that’s been soaked in water. This method imparts a slight smoky flavor to the fish and requires no turning of the fillet during cooking.
Oven Cooking Options
For broiled salmon, lightly coat the fillet with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil five to six inches from the heat source, turning once. To bake the fillet, preheat the oven to 400 F and bake, without turning, for eight to 10 minutes on the center oven rack. Roasted salmon fillets are lightly oiled, seasoned with salt and pepper and slow-cooked in a shallow pan, without turning, in the middle of the oven at 275 F for 35 to 40 minutes. For microwaved salmon fillets, place the fish in a shallow microwave-safe dish, season with salt and pepper, lightly cover with parchment paper and microwave for three to four minutes until the flesh loses translucency but is still moist.
Steaming is a popular method used in Asian cuisine to cook a variety of fish and seafood. Fill a pan large enough to hold a bamboo steamer or steamer basket with 1 1/2 inches of water. Rub the fillets with herbs of choice and place into the steamer. Place the steamer into the pan, cover the pot, bring to a boil and check for doneness after about eight minutes.
To ensure moist salmon, poaching is a good option. Prepare a poaching broth, also called a court bouillon, by combining herbs and aromatic vegetables with water flavored with vinegar, lemon juice or white wine. You can substitute the court bouillon with chicken or vegetable stock. Lay the fillets in the bottom of a deep skillet or shallow pot and barely cover with the liquid. Bring the liquid to a gentle simmer and poach for eight to 10 minutes, uncovered, keeping the liquid between 165 and 180 F.
Heat a heavy nonstick pan over medium heat and add enough oil to lightly coat the bottom. When the pan is barely smoking, add the salmon fillet and season with salt and pepper. Turn after four to five minutes and cook for the same amount of time, until the fish barely flakes.