Probably the best seared salmon you will ever taste, and the easiest to cook! Make this for a fast but healthy dinner and watch everyone ask for it again and again!

seared salmon in a cast iron pan

This must be one of the easiest recipes I’ve made in a long time, and that’s cool because seared salmon or any seafood should never be complicated. Another great way to cook salmon is on the grill, so easy and loaded with flavor. I added some cherry tomatoes and fresh tarragon to my cast iron skillet. Perfectly cooked salmon in only a few minutes.

Salmon is always my go to protein for any time of the week. My kids love it and its the kind of fish that will take on so many different seasonings and flavors. Some of my favorites are Cajun style salmon and lemon pepper. Salmon cooks quickly and benefits from being slightly undercooked, so don’t be too worried about over or undercooking your salmon. It has enough essential fatty oils in it that it remains juicy and moist!

what’s needed for this recipe?

  • Salmon- You can find so many different varieties of salmon at the store nowadays. I prefer to look for fresh pieces although frozen salmon will also work. You’ll probably see mostly Atlantic salmon available which is farmed and lighter in color than non farmed salmon. Farmed salmon is cheaper and lacks flavor compared to other salmon such as sockeye, king and coho. At the end of the day, salmon is good for you but if you like to splurge, go ahead and buy some of the non farmed salmon and you’ll taste a big difference.
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Cherry Tomatoes- Once these ting tomatoes begin to blister in the pan they become sweet and delicious.
  • Fresh Tarragon- This is a herb that isn’t used in a lot of cooking but it tastes and smells really good! It goes with almost any type of food except spicy dishes and can be easily found at the store.
  • Butter- I like salted butter just for that extra flavor

How to cook perfect seared salmon

Salmon is a fish that only needs a little bit of seasoning and maybe a few other simple ingredients to make it stand out. The key part to proudly putting salmon on your dinner table is in the cooking. There’s many ways to cook salmon but I always prefer to cook it fast and with a high heat. A cast iron skillet is perfect for this as it retains the heat and is oven safe to a high heat. Heat the pan on the stovetop until very hot and ad your oil. Slowly place the salmon filet into the pan skin side facing up and sear for a few minutes. Turn the salmon over and then place the pan into a hot preheated oven to finish cooking. This process should take no longer than 10 minutes.

how will I know when my salmon is fully cooked?

You’ll know the salmon is ready by lightly pressing down on it with your finger. If it feels tight and not spongy, then it should be ready to serve. Let it rest for a few minutes just as you would a steak. This ensures that the juice and flavor stay inside the seared salmon.

seared salmon on a plate with cherry tomatoes

Which oil should I use to cook my salmon?

I mentioned having the pan really hot so using the proper oil is important, otherwise, you’ll be jumping up and frantically waving a towel at your kitchen smoke detector. As an ambassador for Pompeian Oils and Vinegars, I was allowed to try the brand new Avocado Oil Non-Stick Cooking Spray.

With a smoke point of 500 degrees, it was perfect for searing my salmon. It’s 100% avocado oil and packed with monounsaturated fats, not to mention being super eco-friendly. It doesn’t use any propellants or CFC’s to produce the fine mist that covers your pan easily, and without the foam build up that you often get from other spray oils.I also loved using it to lightly spray the salmon before I seasoned it – I’d never have done this with any other spray oil. Remember, don’t be scared to crank up the heat, get that pan hot, and cook some of the juiciest salmon ever!

Another oil that can be used is canola or vegetable oil, these will work just fine if you don’t have the avocado oil.

recipe faq’s

Can I eat the salmon skin?

Yes you can! I prefer it to be crispy in texture and its very good for you.

Can I freeze my cooked salmon?

You could although I recommend saving any leftovers in the fridge an adding it to a salad the next day.

Can I take the skin off before cooking?

Yes, I like to keep it on because it helps keep the salmon from breaking and adds more of those healthy oils.

Can you overcook salmon?

Yes, it’ll be dry and not as pleasant to eat. Salmon will still cook for a few minutes after you take it from the oven so be mindful of how long you cook it for.

What are the best cuts of salmon?

I prefer center filet cuts and tend to stay away from the tail end which will cook faster than the rest of the salmon. Salmon steaks are also good, these are cut so that the steak has both sides of the filet joined by the backbone.


seared salmon on a fork with hand holding a plate

more great salmon recipes



seared salmon on a plate with cherry tomatoes

Cast Iron Skillet Seared Salmon

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 227kcal
Pan seared salmon with fresh tarragon and baby tomatoes.
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 fresh salmon filet’s- see notes
  • Kosher salt
  • cracked black pepper
  • Pompeian Avocado oil Spray
  • 1 cup small cherry tomatoes halved
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  • Lightly spray the salmon with the avocado oil spray.
  • Season with salt and black pepper.
  • Heat an ovenproof pan, large enough to fit both pieces of salmon over a high heat for about 1 minute.
  • Generously spray the pan with the avocado oil spray.
  • Place the salmon into the pan, skin side up and sear for about 1 minute.
  • Using a spatula, carefully turn the salmon over onto the skin side.
  • Add the tomatoes around the fish and sprinkle with the chopped tarragon.
  • Finally add the butter in two pieces to each side of the pan.
  • Place the pan into the oven and roast for 7-8 minutes.

Notes

The salmon I used was about 2 inches wide and 1 1/2 inches tall. If you’re salmon is thinner, it will cook faster. Try and buy center pieces and not from the tail end. You can usually tell it’s ready by gently pressing the thickest part with a finger and it should feel slightly firm. It will cook fast and keep cooking even after you take it out of the oven. It’s always better to take to out early and not overcook it.

Nutrition

Calories: 227kcal