Salmon is expensive. That’s why it isn’t something we can enjoy everyday. So when we buy salmon, we make the most of it by preparing the fish only in the best possible way and with the choicest ingredients. Like this pan-grilled salmon fillet. The simplicity in the preparation is astonishing and cooking is nothing more than pan-grilling though executed with meticulous care. And the sauce? Bright and rich, spicy and tangy lemon-butter-garlic sauce.
Much as I love tilapia and bangus (milkfish), nothing compares with my unbridled devotion for salmon. Nothing even comes close. I eat salmon raw (sashimi), smoked, grilled, poached, broiled, boiled… I eat salmon fillets and steaks, the belly, the head… There just isn’t any part of this fish that I don’t like.
So, here’s a toast to what is possibly the best (and, ironically, the simplest) salmon dish I have ever created.
- 3 tbsps. of melted butter
- 2 tbsps. of lemon juice
- ¼ tsp. of finely grated garlic
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 salmon fillet
- salt and pepper (the amount depends on the size of the fillet)
- a generous drizzle of olive oil
- sliced scallions and toasted garlic bits, to garnish
- Make the sauce by stirring together the butter, lemon juice, garlic and a bit of salt and pepper. Let sit and allow to flavors to develop while you cook the fish.
- Rinse the salmon and pat dry with a paper towels. Do not skip this step. If the salmon contains too much moisture on the surface, it will not sear well.
- Rub generously with salt and pepper.
- Drizzle some olive oil over it, then use your fingers to spread the oil over every inch of the surface of the fish, including the skin.
- Heat a heavy skillet. When the skillet is very hot, lay down the salmon, skin side up. Grill over high heat for two minutes. Flip and grill for a minute and a half.
- Note that my fillet was about two inches at the thickest part. The actual grilling time will vary depending on the size and thickness of your fillet. As a guide, keep the heat high to sear the fish but still allowing it to be moist at the center. The fish will finish cooking in residual heat after it is removed from the pan.
- Second tip: If you want a perfectly even crisp and golden crust for your fillet, grill the fish sideways too.
- Transfer the fish to a plate.
- Spoon the sauce on and around the salmon. Top with sliced scallions and sprinkle with toasted garlic bits.