Cook at Home: Salmon

The Canada Food Guide indicates we should have 1/2 cup of healthy meat and alternatives a day.  My preference to this is the alternative, to be specific, I will take the fish please and thanks.

Why is eating fish healthy? … White-fleshed fish, in particular, is lower in fat than any other source of animal protein, and oily fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, or the “good” fats. Since the human body can’t make significant amounts of these essential nutrients, fish are an important part of the diet.

I am delighted to have found a local source for fresh Newfoundland fish and seafood thanks to Gina at Jiggs n’ Reels Seafood Market,  I am now consuming fish at least 3 times per week.  I am not a “preheat the oven to 350 degrees” kind of home cook so let’s look at some non-oven alternatives for preparing salmon, in particular, without heating up the kitchen.

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Photo from Spicy Jan Cooks Facebook Page – my three homemade toppings! Which one to choose?

Recently, while having a seafood focused conversation with a food tour guest, I was sharing my love of cooking salmon in the Instant Pot and the reply was “oh, I only know how to cook salmon in the oven.”  I was surprised at this response so decided to share my love of 5 minute Salmon, seasoned your way on the stove, BBQ or Instant Pot.

BBQ – I love cooking on a teflon BBQ Mat & salmon is perfect using this technique.  Cooking on a BBQ mat allows for the high heat to quick cook & sear without the flare ups, plus it allows me to say goodbye to cooking with aluminum foil. This is how easy BBQ salmon can really be.   Preheat the BBQ for 5 minutes on high heat 400 max.  Generously season the flesh side of the fish with your favourite seasoning, right now my fave is a Sweet Basil & Herb Seasoning from Pampered Chef.  Place the BBQ mat directly on the BBQ grill, then place the salmon skin side down onto the mat, close the cover and turn to medium heat.   Set a timer for 5 minutes.   Don’t peek unless you have a concern of flare ups.  Every time you look inside the temperature drops, so try and hold your curiosity.  After 5 minutes, turn off the heat, lift the lid and squeeze with a juice of a lime or lemon generously over the salmon.   Let rest on the grill for 3 minutes with lid closed and then serve.   The skin should easily come away from the fresh upon serving.     This is my summer time bbq fave!!!!   For variety, if you like a baked on topping before you close the lid, slather a mixture of mayonnaise and a gorgeous Southwest Seasoning, my fave is from Sunset Gourmet, over the top of the flesh and then bake the same time as noted & finish with the squeeze of fresh lime juice.

Skillet Poached – This is a winter time fave & perfect for enjoying as a main dish or cooking salmon for a leaf salad or tossed pasta.  Add 1/2 cup of water to a pan that will hold your fish snug (I don’t prefer to use a large skillet when searing fish) add your salmon fillets, season the top with your fave seasoning and cover with a lid.   Turn the burner on high so the water boils to begin poaching the fish.  Time for 5 minutes and stay close to the stove so your water doesn’t fully evaporate. If it does then top it up.   Once the time is up the water  should be almost or all evaporated,  turn down the heat, remove the lid, drizzle your favourite olive oil (mine right now is the The Olive Oil Co.’s Basil Infused OO) over the cooked flesh.   Keep the heat at a medium temperature so the skin will begin to sear and crisp.  Let cook another 3 minutes and voila, perfect salmon fillets every time!    Hit them with a squeeze of lime & dusting of your favourite seasoning before serving.

Instant Pot (IP) – In my opinion, this is the healthiest & quickest option for cooking salmon.  Pour 1 cup of water into the bottom of the IP adding your favourite seasonings, fresh herbs and a few garlic cloves (depending on your garlic level interest.)  Place the wire rack that came with your IP in the bottom placing your salmon fillets, skin side to rack.   No need to season the salmon as the pressurized seasoned water will do that for you.   Cover the IP lid as instructed and manual pressure on high for 5 minutes.  Cooking time doesn’t include the pressurized time therefore it will honestly take about 9 minutes for the delicious salmon to be ready!  9 minutes and no need to heat up the kitchen.  Once the 5 minutes is completed,  use the QR (quick release) to release the pressure then carefully open the IP and voila, a gorgeous, healthy, savoury salmon is ready.   Remove the rack and enjoy!

Try it any of these options and I bet you’ll like it!  When hosting my Instant Pot Cooking Classes, it was surprising to me how many people who didn’t like fish “their way” LOVED it cooked in the Instant Pot.   Try something new, experience fresh Atlantic seafood and save the energy by cooking with a new approach to at home dining.




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