Cooking salmon as well as restaurants do it might seem daunting. Those fillets are always seasoned perfectly, have a flavorful and crispy skin, and are plated just right, with all the yummy sides and beautifully drizzled condiments. Maybe that’s why you’re never inclined to cook salmon at home—it seems intimidating.
In this video, Chef Jason Fullilove shows just how simple cooking salmon can be. (First, make sure you buy the right kind of salmon with these tips.) He pan-roasts his fresh salmon with the skin on, which is where you find the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. There are many ways you could season salmon, but he keeps it simple for this recipe: just a dash of salt and pepper.
To pan-roast fresh salmon fillets, your skillet will start on the stovetop but move to the oven. This means you’ll want to use an oven-safe skillet, like a cast iron skillet. (Make sure to follow these tips for cleaning your cast iron skillet well when you’re done.) Stainless steel skillets will also work, as long as there is no rubber or plastic on the handle. By starting on the stove, the salmon skin can sear and get crispy. Finishing it in the oven will help it cook more evenly all the way through.
Plating is also a restaurant specialty, but you can bring this technique to your kitchen as well. Chef Fullilove’s recommends a plating trick called stacking. It refers to the vertical layering of components on the plate. Instead of having all ingredients in a flat, two-dimensional layer, try stacking your protein on top of your grains, for example.
Another good practice is placing the sauce on the bottom of the plate. Piling a sauce on top of a dish will make the whole plate look like one messy lump, but placing it on the bottom allows all the ingredients you spent so much time slicing, grilling, and caramelizing to still be seen.