Cooking Good Food

I’ve had salmon skin before, just never made it myself. My husband had never tried it, and he was suitably impressed. The best part: I have enough salmon left that I froze it and can make this again in a couple weeks when my sister visits. This was definitely a winner.

Do you think scoring the skin is necessary? I haven’t found it to be, but I’m open to contrary opinions. I kinda prefer the look of unscored skin, all else equal.

no idea. I read that scoring prevented the skin from shrinking and making the salmon curl up in the pan, but since this was my first time, I have nothing to compare it to. It also allowed for putting salt inside the grooves, just to ensure good seasoning.

I’ll try it without the scoring next time and see.

Alternate strategies include just making sure the skin is good and dry, and then pressing down on the fish right after you put it in the pan to hold the skin in even contact with the pan.

What sort of pan did you use? Your skin looks about as good as I’ve ever gotten by using my cast iron, but if you could get good skin like that another way, I’m curious.

I used my cast iron. I wanted to be 100% sure it wouldn’t stick. I’ve cooked other meats in my non-stick skillet, and everything always comes out better in the cast iron.

I think another reason to score the skin is if you did want to add some different herbs or spices in the slits. I was thinking sticking some fresh rosemary or thyme in there might be a nice variation. No idea how well that would work, and it would be an expensive experiment, but maybe I’ll cook 1/3rd of the rest of what I bought that way to give it a try.

Okay, I need to stop being super cheap and start being just regular cheap.
Can anyone recommend a decent non expensive cast iron pan?

Lodge is a consistently recommended brand for cast iron. Their 10" is $15-ish on Amazon right now.

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Make sure you season it, and keep it oiled. It will become naturally non-stick and all you need is water and a scraper to clean it…never soap. It’s seriously one of the most useful things to have in your kitchen, and if you store it correctly, it will last forever. I have a large one (12") that i use for meat, etc. I also have a 9" skillet that is probably about 75 years old, a hand me down from my husband’s grandmother. I use that for eggs and other things that don’t need a large surface area…and it still works great.

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Don’t buy expensive pans. They are almost always a waste of money.

Don’t bother herbing your fish - it’ll just mess up the surface and the herbs will burn etc. If you’re going to flavor it just put aromatics in the oil that’s released and give a little baste, then toss the herbs. Fish cooks fine in nonstick but salmon is meaty enough to withstand almost any method.

I feel so nerdy answering questions people only sort of asked.

Agreed. The heat you’d need to get crispy skin will burn your herbs. Put the herbs in the sauce, imo.

Beure blanc is great on fish, and very easy to experiment with different herbs.

Saucery is definitely the missing link in my cooking. I know enough about cookery to make most anything you put in front of me edible but I lack the finishing touches of a real chef. Sure I’ll make simple pan sauces from fond etc. but you’ll basically never find a mother sauce bubbling away in my kitchen. Naked food and awful plating will always limit how my plates look.

Whenever I try to save up bones or lobster shells or something I inevitably throw away frosty garbage cleaning out my freezer a year later.

Wow, I was going to say that I really like the 12" size of my cast iron pan, which can comfortably sear two steaks at once. I don’t think they would fit as well in a 10", but for under $15 right now, that’s an absolute steal, especially if one is on the fence and wants to just try one out.

Care for a cast iron pan is easy. Don’t let people who believe myths that it’s hard to care for scare you.

Cliffs:

  1. Wash with soap and water after use. People think this is bad, but it’s fine, as long as you…
  2. Dry it off. You can stop here if you want, but for best results, you should at least occasionally…
  3. Give it a light coat of oil. Put it on a hot burner until it starts smoking a bit. Turn the burner off, and you’re done.

Yep. Buerre blanc with whatever herbs is, I think, 100% of my sauces for fish ITT.

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I usually just spray cast iron down while it’s still hot, then stick it right back on the stove until it smokes a bit. If you use soap you’re removing the coating of oil that’s already there, only to reapply more in the next step.

Pickled mini sweet peppers
Calabrian peppers
Beef + onion
Pepperjack + Chedder
Green Bell
Salsa Verde

Best nachos I’ve ever had. (Humblebrag)

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Vegetable Sambar

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In honor of America, I made the national dish of a completely different country :joy:

The only fresh beans at the store were snow peas so that’s what we got. No rabbit either because the only local place is the artisanal butcher and it’s closed for Covid. Rice turned out great, perfect socarrat at the bottom.

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Trip report: I found a tin of fancy eco-friendly canned tuna in olive oil that cost like $4.50 a can and I made pesto al tonno with it. Came out fantastic: color, texture, flavor all much better than the regular stuff I’ve been buying. Never knew there was so much variance in canned tuna.

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