Salmon fillets are a pushover to cook properly. The problem is, not many people know how cook them.
The trick to cooking salmon fillets is to not overcook them. I have been served salmon fillets in restaurants of every class that were dry and tasteless, but if they hadn’t been cooked to death would have been moist and delicious.
The only thing to remember when cooking salmon is that it does not need to be cooked completely. I like mine cooked the way a medium-rare beef steak is cooked, still slightly underdone in the centre. But even if you don’t like your salmon cooked that way, it should be cooked just until well-done and not overdone.
Another thing to remember when cooking salmon (or any other fish, for that matter) is that the proteins in fish react to heat differently than the proteins in cattle , pork, sheep etc. Given that the muscles of fish flourish in waters that are much colder than temperatures on land, the chemical changes that take place in cooking happen at lower temperatures in fish than in land animals. In other words, fish cook at lower temperatures than beef, chicken, and pork do, so they need to be cooked differently.
If you treat a salmon fillet like you would a steak or pork chop, you will wind up with a dry, flavourless piece of salmon for your reward. The typical salmon fillet is usually no thicker than about 1 inch (2.5 cm) and regardless of the cooking method used, they should never take more than 10 to 12 minutes to cook.
Here are two different methods to cook salmon fillets that I hope you will try.
PEEL AND SEED TOMATOES
Using a sharp paring knife make a small x-shaped slits in the bottom of the tomato. Pitch the tomatoes into boiling water for 10 seconds and imediately rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. The peel should now slide off easily. Cut the tomatoes in half and squeeze out the seeds, with your fingers or a small spoon to scoop them out if needed.
In an electric blender or food processor puree the tomatoes. Bring together the pureed tomatoes, wine or broth, butter, and fennel seeds in a large skillet over moderate heat. Place the salmon fillets on top and sprinkle with the chopped basil. Season with salt and pepper and covered and simmer for 10 minutes. Serves 4 to 6.
Fish recipes don’t get much easier than this. You can use this method with any fish fillet, and just remember that the skin gives added flavour.
In a large, heavy non stick skillet heat the sesame oil until it begins to smoke. Place the salmon fillets skin side down in the oil and remove from the heat immediately. Spoon or brush the teriyaki sauce over the fillets, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and place the skillet in a preheated 350F (180C) oven. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the salmon is firm to the touch. Serve immediately, garnished with lemon wedges. Serves 4 to 6.
Reproduced by permission of Worldwide Recipes.
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