Spring in the PNW is a time of renewal. The days are getting longer, salmonberry bushes, daffodils, and rhododendrons are blooming and there is sunshine at the end of the rain tunnel (okay that might be a stretch).
There is also another magical occurrence in spring; the return of the first spring salmon of the year. Spring Chinook are the best fish of the year; a bold but true statement.
What makes them different?
They are fat, a good kind of fat!
Filled with omega-3 oils from years of foraging in the Pacific Ocean and as far north as the Gulf of Alaska. All that oil makes them moist, flaky, and rich in flavor.
Just like the other firsts of the year, Spring Chinook represents the first fresh, seasonal, and delicious food of the year. Before long we will be drooling over heirloom tomatoes, ripe cherries, and succulent squash. Don’t miss this short time of the year to enjoy the pinnacle of fresh food in the Pacific Northwest; Spring Chinook.
Celebrate Spring with an Easy Pan Fry Salmon Recipe
Different versions of this pan fry salmon recipe have been around, so I can’t take credit for this. However, it is so good, it is worth sharing. Whenever we have guests over, my fiancé always suggests I make this dish. It never disappoints.
PRO TIP: A hidden delicacy in this recipe is the crispy salmon skin. To get the skin crispy it's critical to control moisture and temperature. Be sure to scrape the skin with a knife until all moisture is removed. Sprinkling a little salt on the skin will draw out any remaining moisture and season the skin. Also, make sure the pan is only very lightly oiled and very, very hot when the salmon is placed in the pan. This will help crisp the skin. Don’t move the salmon once placed in the pan. And finally, trust me, take a taste of the skin, it's really good.
Pan Fry Salmon Recipe Ingredients
- 1 small shallot
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 4-5 anchovy fillets, or 2 tablespoons anchovy paste
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 8-10 ounce spring chinook fillets
- 3-4 tablespoons capers
- Salt and pepper
1. Pat dry the salmon with paper towels. Run the back side of a knife along the salmon skin to remove excess scales and moisture. Sprinkle a little salt on the skin and set aside.
2. Pre-heat oven to 385 degrees.
3. Mix butter, shallot, garlic and anchovy in small bowl.
4. Heat a cast iron pan until very hot. I heat mine until it begins to gently smoke.
5. Season salmon with pepper. Add a small amount of butter mixture to hot pan.
Melt, then immediately add salmon skin side down. Let the salmon cook until the bottom edge of the salmon turns opaque white.
6. Add ¾ of the butter mixture, melt, then spoon melted butter over the salmon. Repeat while cooking for 5-6 minutes.
7. Sprinkle capers over the top of the salmon and place cast iron pan in oven to finish cooking, 6-10 minutes until done.