Sharing this sautéed salmon cooking method for the benefit of people like me—people who want to eat salmon for the health benefits, but abhor the fishiness and gaminess of many preparations. I tried the baking approach several times, but would always screw up my guesstimate of the necessary cooking time and usually overcooked. Also, I am generally not a huge fan of the flavor profile of baked salmon, even when done to perfection. Learning this sautéed salmon method, however, changed everything. It is seriously foolproof (aka Sheela-proof) and the salmon tastes exquisite with just the ghee, salt, and pepper tastes alone. The cilantro aioli, though, takes it over the top. Both recipes are super simple, making them perfect for a last minute thrown together dinner that does not taste thrown together at all.
For the sautéed salmon:
- 1 salmon fillet (I used a half pound fillet of wild salmon)
- 1 tbsp Gold Nugget ghee (use discount code SLICE10 for 10% off)
- Freshly ground salt and pepper to season
For the aioli (makes two servings):
- 1½ cup Primal Kitchen avocado oil-based mayonnaise
- ½ cup chopped cilantro (tightly packed)
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 garlic clove (minced)
- Juice from half a lime
- Sea salt to taste
For the sautéed salmon:
- Generously salt and pepper both sides of the fillet.
- Add ghee to a medium-sized skillet (I strongly recommend a cast iron one for this, but a regular steel or aluminum one will work too) over medium-high heat.
- When the ghee completely melts and starts smoking, gently place the fillet—skin side down—on the skillet. If you get skittish when hot oil splatters (I admit, sometimes I do), use a small pair of tongs for this step
- Turn the heat down to medium low so the fillet cooks without the skin burning in the mean time.
- As the fillet cooks, it will start turning light pink. You can already see that happening in the photo below the next bullet, with the flesh of the fish which is touching the pan.
- To prevent the fillet from sticking to a steel or aluminum pan while cooking, periodically shake the pan. If you are using a cast iron skillet, use a pair of tongs or a spatula to periodically separate the fillet from the pan by tucking it under the skin, as shown below.
- When the fillet is cooked over half way up (see first photo below), gently flip it over so the skin side is up (see second photo below). Once the rest of the fillet finishes cooking, remove it from the pan and place it on a plate.
For the aioli:
- Add mayonnaise, cilantro, cumin, garlic, and lime juice to a blender and blend until ingredients are completely mixed.
- Add sea salt to taste.
- Pour into a serving bowl.
Pour aioli over fillet and serve.