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How to Prevent Salmon From Drying Out

Salmon is my favorite kind of fish. I love making it and I mostly love eating it!

Have you noticed how often you order salmon out at a restaurant, and it’s dry? Or worse: flavorless and dry. Or my worst nightmare: fishy and dry!

For those of you who are thinking “well, it’s fish, of course it’s fishy,” there is nothing more for me to say. But if you get what I mean by “fishy,” read on. Or if you don’t get what I mean by “fishy,” you definitely need to read on.

I’ll end the mystery. A fishy flavor means the fish isn’t fresh. It means it’s either been previously frozen, or it sat in the fridge too long. It doesn’t mean it’s spoiled, it just means it’s not fresh. It starts to lose the yummy salmon unique flavor, and starts to have a “fishy” flavor. How very scientific of me!

Ok, enough about that, let’s get to the point. Many people struggle with cooking salmon. It ends up dried up and almost chewy. Has that ever happened to you? It happens to the best of us.

So read on to learn how to avoid it from tasting like jerky, and instead tasting tender and moist.

Baked Salmon

Baking salmon is the most common way of cooking the fish. It’s also the easiest way to turn it into a piece of cardboard. So how do you avoid drying out your salmon?

  1. Squeeze fresh lemon juice directly onto the fish, then season it as you normally would.

  2. Sprinkle olive oil or melted butter in the dish. You might think it will make it greasy but it won’t.

  3. Cover the salmon with foil as tightly as you can. This is really the secret to keeping the moisture in and not letting it evaporate as you cook it.

  4. Don’t exceed 385 degrees for 20 minutes. Salmon is a delicate fish, and needs to bake at a fairly low temperature to maintain its moisture.

Seared salmon

Searing the salmon on the stove is my favorite way of cooking it. It’s also quick if you’re under a time crunch. After all, when you’re hungry, you’re hungry! Our seared salmon dish is one of our most popular dishes for dine-in and for catering.

  1. When you put the salmon in the pan, add olive oil or butter (do you see a pattern here)? Add all your ingredients, like garlic, parsley, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, etc.

  2. If the filet still has its skin, turn the filet upside down so the skin is facing up. Yes, facing up. Keep reading, I have a trick for that.

  3. Turn the burner on high first until the pan is hot, add water or wine (my liquid of choice), then turn the burner on low, and cover the fish.

  4. Let it simmer for 10-15 minutes until it starts to turn a lighter pink color.

  5. With a butter knife, start to peel off the skin, it will come off very easily. If your filet came without skin, skip this step.

  6. Now take the pan off the stove, drain any excess liquid, or let it evaporate so there is just a little left.

  7. Put the pan back on the stove on high, add more olive oil, and sear for 2 minutes.

  8. Flip the filet over and sear the salmon for 2 more minutes.

  9. The salmon will come out seared and moist

Grilled salmon

  1. Place the salmon in foil, add your seasonings, olive oil, and wine or water.

  2. Completely wrap the salmon in foil.

  3. Grill it on low/medium heat for 20 minutes.

  4. If the filet has skin, grill it with the skin side down, by the time it's fully cooked, the skin will stay stuck to the foil and your salmon will slide right off onto the spatula.

Try these ways and you won’t have dry salmon again. Of course, it takes some practice. So if at first you don’t get the results you’re after, keep trying. And please let me know how it works out for you.

You can also order it as a whole fish filet platter for your party and impress all your friends. We deliver catered dishes to the Phoenix, Scottsdale and metro surrounding areas in Arizona.

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