Cooking fish, especially salmon, isn't as easy as it seems. It takes very little for it to come out overcooked and dry when salmon should actually be tender when it's cooked right. The same way you can easily mess up when you're cooking meat or potatoes, we all make mistakes when cooking other foods. Here are 3 mistakes to avoid so your salmon comes out just right.
Cooking it immediately after taking it out of the fridge
Same as with meat, you should avoid cooking salmon straight out of the fridge because the extreme change in temperature can ruin it. Bear in mind that fish is fragile and its flesh is delicate. Heating cold fish will lead to overcooking because the heat will take a lot longer to reach the center. As a result, the outside will come out overcooked while the inside is undercooked or cooked just enough. Also, cooking salmon over high heat will only dehydrate it, removing all the water and drying it out.
To avoid this, take the fish out 30 minutes to 1 hour before cooking it, and do so over medium heat.
Removing the skin
Some of us have a tendency to remove the salmon's skin before cooking it, but that's a big no-no. If you're not a fan of the skin, maybe you are better off taking it off, but if you don't mind it, you should know that it's very good for you. In fact, fish skin contains even more omega-3s than the flesh does.
It's actually very useful to have it on when cooking the fish because it serves as a barrier between the salmon and the pan, which prevents the flesh from overcooking. It's also a lot easier to remove the skin from cooked salmon than it is to peel it off of raw salmon.
If, however, you prefer to cook salmon with water or steam, the skin will get soft, which will render it inedible.
Cooking it with butter
If you're hesitating between cooking your salmon with butter and using olive oil, choose the latter (or, ideally, pass on both and steam cook it). Unfortunately, butter darkens very fast, whereas salmon needs more time to cook. If you really want to cook it with butter, though, use clarified butter – it won't burn.