The best damn way to cook salmon. Hands. Down.
Go preheat your oven to 400.
Once I learned how to make salmon this way, I have never gone back. It’s my go to method and absolutely flawless. It doesn’t mater what you put on the fish, really, this method will get you perfect salmon every. damn. time.
Grab an oven proof skillet
This is very important: You want your oven to be preheated before you start this because we only sear the fish for about a minute then we will put the oven proof skillet WITH the fish in the oven to cook the fish through.
Second, we are going to make a butter compote. I make more butter compote than I need for the recipe so that I can have it for future use. To make the butter compote you are going to soften 5 tablespoons of butter (unsalted, preferably) and mix in 3 rinds of chopped preserved lemon rind, 2 large garlic cloves, a chili pepper, and sea salt.
Rinse off your salmon steaks and pat them dry. Rinsing them and patting them dry will help the butter compote stick to the fish better. Take about a tablespoon of the butter compote and slather it on the non skin side of the salmon steaks.
Now add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to your oven proof skillet. If I’m searing 2 salmon steaks, I use about 1 tablespoon; if I’m searing 4 I generally use 2 tablespoons. Set the skillet to high. We want the oil and pan to be hot – very hot. We want it almost smoking.
Once it’s hot – hot – hot! place the salmon steaks (VERY CAREFULLY) SKIN SIDE DOWN on the hot skillet, keeping the butter side facing up! Cook the salmon steaks for about a minute; you can go as long as a minute and a half, but no longer than that. Then put the skillet in the oven to bake for 5-7 minutes to cook the fish through. You want the fish to just start to flake. Using an oven mitt, remove the skillet from the oven and let it cool before you plate the fish. When you remove the fish from the oven, as it cools it will still cook so keep that in mind when you are checking the fish.
What this method does is create a nice golden layer on the bottom of the fish and sets the fish. Then when you bake it, the butter melts into the fish and encrusts the fish with whatever is in the butter compote. This time I create a preserved lemon rind, garlic, chili pepper, and sea salt butter compote. However, I have created a butter compote with garlic & wasabi, garlic & salt & pepper, chili & garlic. Anything that suits your fancy. Any flavor that you want to infuse the fish with, you can make into a butter compote. Heck, I’ve even mixed horseradish in there.
Plate with sauteed kale and barley wheat!