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Pan-seared wild salmon recipe

a pan of food on a plate

Salmon is so good for you and the perfect winter food.  This is such a quick recipe, the brining is the key part that keeps the fish moist and helps prevent overcooking.  My favourite way of cooking this gorgeous fish is in a hot cast iron pan, just simple as that.  Enjoy this pan-seared salmon recipe, seriously it’s so easy and quick.

Want someone else to cook some lovely salmon for you?  Come to our Salmon Secret Supper on Nov.25th, 2017 in Vancouver!

More info and tickets here

Serves 4


  • 2 lb wild king salmon fillets (skin on)
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper (use a grinder for best results)
  • lemon wedges for garnish
  1. The Brine: Dissolve 1/2 cup salt in 2 quarts water in large plastic/glass container. Put salmon in brine and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Remove salmon from brine and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Sprinkle bottom nonstick skillet evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt and ginger (no oil). Place fillets, skin side down, in skillet and sprinkle tops of fillets with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Heat skillet over medium-high heat and cook fillets without moving them until fat begins to render, skin begins to brown, and bottom 1/4 inch of fillets turns opaque, 6 to 8 minutes.
  3. Using tongs, flip fillets and continue to cook without moving them until centers are still translucent when checked with tip of paring knife and register 120F, 6 to 8 minutes longer depending on the thickness of your fillet. Transfer fillets skin side down to serving platter and let rest for 5 minutes before serving with lemon wedges.
  4. Optional: Peel skin off fish and put it under the broiler at 500F for 2-3 minutes to crisp it up further and serve with the fish as a crispy side.  So tasty!  Just watch it so that it browns but doesn’t burn.

You can also play with different spices, I love smoked paprika on salmon instead of the ginger, or green peppercorns for more of a spicy bite.

Tip for buying salmon: If you are buying fillets, avoid the tail.  I find it’s drier and less flavourful.  Any belly pieces attached are the best part of the fillet.  For buying whole salmon, look for a clear black eye that isn’t ‘deflated’, shiny skin, a good clean (not fishy smell) and make sure the tail isn’t dried out.  Fresh is better than frozen, and always buy wild salmon.  As for types of salmon that are best for pan searing, I like sockeye, king or coho.

Serve with rice and a nice fresh salad, enjoy!

Chef Robin Kort