Recipe: $3.40 | Per Serving: $1.70 | Yield: 2
Last week I found this incredible deal on salmon at the grocery store closest to my house and I couldn’t pass it up. Wild Caught Sockeye Salmon for $6.99 a pound (down from $10.99). It was a great deal! How could you not buy awesome salmon for that price?
I bought 1.83 pounds and cut it up into 8 small fillets. I froze 6 of them by separating them with parchment paper (though wax is probably better) and layering them in a freezer bag. The other two were delicious as this Simple Seared Salmon, served with Tuesday’s Cucumber Sesame Salad.
I would say that 2 pounds of salmon should yield about 6 fillets generally, but I like to stretch protein as far as I can, which is why I cut ours into 8 fillets at about 3.6 ounces each, which comes to $1.60 per fillet. And since you only need a little oil in the pan, this dish is really cheap for the quality!
Seared salmon is one of those really easy dishes that ends up being so elegant and delicious. I think it’s something home cooks everywhere should really master. It’s a staple protein in our house, along with roasted chicken and either seared or roasted tilapia.
How to Make Pan-Seared Salmon
To make Simple Pan-Seared Salmon, warm a little oil or ghee in a medium skillet on the stove. I use a nonstick one because that’s what we’ve got right now, but if you know what you’re doing, you could definitely use a cast-iron or stainless steel skillet instead.
Once it’s hot, add the salmon, skin-side down to the sizzling oil. Let it cook 3-8 minutes without moving it, until it’s cooked about halfway from bottom to top. This picture shows the salmon cooked about halfway on the thinner side and 1/4 of the way on the thicker side. When the salmon is really uneven like this, I don’t mind slightly overcooking the thinner part.
Hot Tip for the BEST Pan-Seared Salmon:
Now, here’s the tip I got from a pro chef at the fancy restaurant where I worked in college. If you’re down with butter or ghee, add a dollop to the pan after you flip the salmon, and then using a spoon, continuously baste the salmon skin with the butter.
You can basically tilt the pan slightly to get a spoonful of hot, melted butter, and then drizzle that over the top of the salmon as it cooks.
Flip it over and cook another 3-8 minutes until mostly cooked through. You can get by with rare salmon, but most home cooks tend to cook it to medium-rare or medium-well. You know it’s done properly when it flakes easily with a fork. If it’s dry, then just reduce your cooking time by 1-2 minutes in the future.
Serve this $1.70 salmon with sesame cucumber salad ($0.86 per serving) and roasted potatoes ($0.28) for a very satisfying meal that comes to $2.84 per person. Just stock up next time you see salmon on sale!
Vegetarian: Nope! But it is pescatarian.
This simple pan-seared salmon is fancy enough for date night, but easy enough for an amped-up weeknight meal.
- 1 Tablespoon coconut oil, avocado oil, ghee, or butter
- 2 salmon fillets
- sprinkle of salt
- optional: sesame dressing
- optional: 1-2 Tablespoons butter or ghee for basting
- Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Once it’s hot, add the salmon, skin-side down, to the sizzling oil. DO NOT MOVE or adjust the salmon once it hits the oil. This is essential for crispy skin!
- Cook the salmon for 3-8 minutes on this side, or until you see that it is cooked about halfway up. Flip over the salmon.
- Optional: add some butter or ghee to the pan. Tilt the pan and use a spoon to scoop up this hot melted fat and drizzle it over the top of the salmon. Do this continuously or sporadically while the salmon finishes cooking for really flavorful skin.
- Cook for 3-8 minutes in total on the second side. You want to remove it right when the bottom cooked portion reaches the middle. (Does that make sense? I included pictures!)
- Remove the salmon and carefully pull out any remaining bones, then serve with your favorite sides!