How To Cook Salmon At Home
How To Cook Salmon At Home

How To Cook Salmon At Home

Meatier than white fish, salmon absorbs flavours – like spice and soy far better – and, of course, it can taste as good raw as it does cooked. Here, we asked seven chefs for their tips on how to source it, the best flavour pairings and how to cook it like a pro at home.
By Heather Steele

Colin Anderson


"I much prefer the flavour of salmon when it's been cured using a combination of salt and sugar. As long as the fish you are using is fresh, it's easy to prepare at home – and delicious. In the warmer months, I like to use gin, juniper berries, dried cardamom, thyme, orange peel and dried carrot tops in the curing mix; it's such a light and fresh combination that lets the amazing salmon flavour shine. This goes incredibly well with pickled cucumber, crème fraiche and some rye bread. It takes two days to cure the salmon in the fridge, and once it's cured and the salt and sugar mix has been washed off, it will last for a week refrigerated. It can also be frozen – just wrap it tightly in clingfilm to avoid freezer burn."


Steven Groves

Restaurant Associates

"You want to look for something that’s sustainable, and that’s most likely going to be farmed salmon. Find something that is farmed in the best possible way with the least impact on the environment and also farmed in a way that will give the best quality fish – you don’t want to end up with a really flabby fish. I like to use Loch Duart salmon. If you have a local fishmonger, you can always ask them to prepare a whole fish for you, or if you’re feeling adventurous there are lots of videos online showing you how to do it yourself. Always scale the skin before portioning, which is something supermarkets often don’t do. Be careful not to overcook salmon – get it as fresh as possible and keep the middle slightly under cooked to retain moisture. Lightly curing it with salt and sugar before cooking also helps to firm up the texture and enhance the flavour.”


Lily Keeling

Green Chef

“Salmon is an amazing, healthy choice that is high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. From grilling to baking to frying, there’s an array of quick and easy methods to cook it. Prepping salmon is the key to making it as delicious as possible, as it holds a variety of flavours well. Keep the skin of the salmon on, as this forms a protective layer between the heat of the grill and the inside. It also makes it much easier to remove the salmon after it’s cooked. Next, lightly drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper to keep the moisture locked in. Salmon won’t absorb too much of the oil it is cooked in, so don’t worry about adding additional fat to a healthy meal – let it work its magic instead. Salmon skin is where all the healthy oils are locked in, so to hold onto all of those benefits, start cooking with the skin side-down. Roast until the salmon starts to flake a little – that’s when you know it’s at its most crisp and flavourful. For a weeknight meal, I like to make lemon and za’atar salmon with a herby bulgur salad and harissa dressing; or lime salmon salad with avocado, charred pepper and cashew nuts.”


Judy Joo's pan-fried salmon with a green chilli glaze. Photo: YUKI SUGIURA

Cesar Fernandez


"Try to source your salmon from sustainable sources. Your fishmonger will be the best person to help with this. I love buying a whole salmon side and portioning the fish myself. Do not throw away the belly – that is by far the best part! All you need to do is grill it over a high heat and allow all the fat to render, and you will end up with the most scrumptious succulent flesh underneath, which always feels like a treat. I have two favourite ways of cooking a salmon fillet. The first way is on a very low temperature, setting the oven to about 100°C and cooking a 500g piece of salmon for about 35 minutes. When cooking this slowly, the texture of the fish will be extremely succulent and you won’t get any white milky protein coming out of the fish. If you have less time, make sure you preheat your grill to the highest temperature. Make a nice glaze (I love rose harissa, olive oil and a little sugar) and grill your fish until just cooked – the residual heat will do the rest. The combination of fatty fish, sweet caramelised flesh and harissa is delicious."


Mitch Tonks

Seahorse & Rockfish

"Salmon is one of the fishes we eat most in the UK and it has many great qualities, not just the flavour but also the texture. Because of that, salmon is a fish that is delicious eaten hot or cold. Don’t be frightened to eat it raw – as long as you have freshly caught salmon, it is great just thinly sliced with lemon juice, olive oil, finely sliced celery and a sprinkle of pink peppercorns. I also like to poach bigger pieces on the bone then allow them to cool before serving it with a salad and homemade mayonnaise. It also BBQs nicely – just rub some spices or black pepper into it and cook it so the outside chars nicely. Allow it to rest so it’s pink and just cooked on the inside."

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Judy Joo

Seoul Bird

“I like to pan-fry salmon with a green chilli glaze. This green chilli glaze has popped up on the menu at my restaurants in various forms. It’s a divine mix of sweet soy with a complex chilli kick at the end. The richness of salmon goes brilliantly with the sauce, complemented with a fresh spring onion salad and pickles. First make the green chilli glaze: in a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sugar, vinegar and 4 tablespoons of water. Set aside. In a small non-stick frying pan, sauté the garlic and the jalapenos with the vegetable oil until softened. Tip in the soy sauce mixture and stir well, making sure the sugar is fully dissolved. Simmer until reduced by half. Once reduced, remove from the heat and add the sesame oil. Set aside in a warm place. In a large non-stick frying pan placed over a medium-high heat, drizzle a generous amount of vegetable oil. Once the oil is hot, add the salmon fillets – do not overcrowd the pan, and work in batches if necessary. Cook the salmon for 3-4 minutes, then flip over and cook for a further 3-4 minutes until the salmon is slightly golden brown and cooked to your taste. Place the salmon on plates, spoon over the green chilli glaze, and garnish with a spring onion salad and green chilli slices.”


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