Master the Art of Pan-Seared Salmon: A Step-by-Step Guide to Crispy Skins and Juicy Medium-Rare Perfection

Seasoning salmon properly is key to achieving a delicious and well-balanced flavor. Here's a simple guide on how to season salmon for a tender, juicy pan-seared result with a crispy skin:


  • Fresh salmon fillets
  • Kosher salt (preferred for its texture and ability to adhere to the fish)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil or another high smoke-point oil
  • Optional: Lemon zest, herbs (such as dill, parsley, or thyme) for added flavor


  1. Prepare the Salmon:

    • Pat the salmon fillets dry with paper towels. Moisture on the surface can interfere with achieving a crispy skin.
  2. Seasoning:

    • Sprinkle kosher salt evenly over both sides of the salmon. Use about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt per pound of salmon, adjusting to your taste preference.
    • Add freshly ground black pepper to both sides. You can be generous with pepper, as it adds a nice flavor to the fish.
  3. Optional Additions:

    • For extra flavor, consider adding lemon zest or chopped herbs to the salmon. These can complement the natural taste of the fish.
  4. Let it Rest:

    • Allow the seasoned salmon to rest at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes. This helps the salt penetrate the fish, enhancing its flavor.
  5. Preheat the Pan:

    • Heat a skillet or pan over medium-high heat. Add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
  6. Cooking:

    • Place the salmon fillets in the hot pan, skin side down. Press down gently with a spatula for a few seconds to prevent curling.
    • Cook for 3-4 minutes on the skin side until the skin becomes crispy and golden brown.
    • Carefully flip the salmon and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes on the other side. Adjust the cooking time based on the thickness of your fillets.
    • Aim for a medium-rare center by cooking the salmon until it's just opaque in the center but still moist.
  7. Serve:

    • Once cooked, remove the salmon from the pan and let it rest for a couple of minutes before serving.

Remember, cooking times can vary depending on the thickness of your salmon fillets, so keep an eye on them to avoid overcooking. Adjust the seasoning to your taste preferences and enjoy your perfectly pan-seared salmon!

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