Dear Test Kitchen

3 Ways to Cook Salmon Perfectly Every Time

May  2, 2019

Salmon is one of the most popular types of fish in the United States—and it’s no wonder. It’s flaky and fatty and you can cook it a ton of ways. But what are the best ways and how do you not mess ’em up?

In this week’s Dear Test Kitchen episode, our test kitchen director Josh Cohen breaks down a whole salmon fillet (pin bones, begone!), then breaks down his favorite cooking techniques:

  1. Poached in a bag. Aka, fake–sous vide. By gentling simmering the fish in a bag, you concentrate its flavor and yield incredibly moist, tender flesh. No fancy equipment required.
  2. Broiled. A method for when you don’t think you have time to cook salmon. But you do! A hot broiler does all the work for you while you can tend to the rest of dinner.
  3. Pan-seared. Crispy skin? Check. Juicy interior? Check. While with something like a hamburger, you’d want to cook evenly on both sides, in this case, it’s just the opposite.

Bonus: Josh shares the recipe for an herby, lemony, garlicky yogurt sauce that’s good with any of these techniques (and with any fish, really). (Double bonus: It comes together entirely in a blender.)

Watch the episode above and tell us about your favorite way to cook salmon in the comments below.

Team Salmon

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What’s your go-to way to cook salmon? Tell us in the comments!

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Emma is a writer and recipe developer at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram and Twitter at @emmalaperruque.


judy May 5, 2019
Honey mustard sauce spread over the top, pan sear skin side down, then turn down heat to medium low and finish cooking. My sauce: Beaver coarse horseradish mustard, honey--whatever is on the counter that week--sprinkle of granulated garlic, couple of grinds of black pepper, few pinches of dried parsley. Mix it all up. Smear over the salmon and let sit for about 1/2 hour. Best Salmon EVER. serve with baked potato and green beans. So good.....
David May 2, 2019
Nice video. Surprisingly, you didn’t any of my three favorite ways to eat salmon: 1) grilled (texture similar to your pan version, but with the taste only a real grill can impart), 2) as sushi / sashimi, and 3) fast seared in cast iron that is finished in the oven.