Basic Sear-Roasted Salmon

BY BILL ST. JOHN

My friends, Marv and Renée Rockford, prepare salmon this way nearly every Friday night. Needless to say, they get their filets from Marczyk’s; “always,” says Marv. “[Their] salmon is so good and adapts to this recipe so well.”

You’ll need a spatula to slide each filet onto a plate, but from then on, no need for utensils (well, unless you want to carry the morsels to your mouth with something other than your fingers …). I like to squish each bite against the roof of my mouth — they’re that pillowy — and look forward to the (inevitable) day when my yapper is free of teeth and all that I have to chew with is my tongue. This recipe comes in large part from Molly Stevens’ “All About Roasting.”

Basic Sear-Roasted Salmon Filets

Serves 4

Ingredients
4 salmon filets, about 6 ounces each and preferably 1-inch thick, skin-on, pin bones removed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons peanut oil, grapeseed oil or other neutral-tasting oil

Directions
Position a rack near the center of the oven and heat to 425 degrees (400 degrees, convection). Let the salmon sit at room temperature as the oven heats. Set a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat and heat for 1-2 minutes. Meanwhile, pat the fish dry and season it liberally on all sides with salt and pepper.

Add the oil to the skillet. When it begins to shimmer, lower in the filets one by one, skin side up. Sear, without disturbing, until one side is nicely browned, lifting with a metal spatula (or fish spatula if you have one) to check that it’s well seared before committing to flipping, 1-2 minutes. Flip the filets and immediately transfer the skillet to the oven.

Roast until the thickest part of the filets are just firm to the touch, 5-7 minutes (or when an instant-read thermometer reads 130-135 for medium-rare). Carefully remove the skillet from the oven and serve the fish right away.