Broiling Salmon Is Quick, Easy & Efficient
You may be asking yourself, did he say “broil” salmon? Who broils anything anymore?
There are lots of great ways to cook salmon – roast, poach, steam, grill but why broil? I like to think of broiling salmon as upside down grilling. Yes, there are a few differences but each uses high, direct heat to cook the fish in a short amount of time.
So if you don’t have a grill or it’s covered in 4 feet of snow or you are short on time and don’t want to wait for the charcoal briquettes to heat up, broiling is a good alternative.
This is the most basic recipe you’ll find on How to Broil Salmon. I adapted it from a recipe I found online.
This is a good reference for those of you who may not be familiar with this classic technique.
I say classic because I remember as a kid my mom broiled lots of our meals although I wouldn’t say she had her technique down. Most of those meals were overcooked and dried out which is easy to do if you are not careful and paying attention.
What Type of Pan to Broil In?
The recipe and video show preparing the salmon in a cast iron pan and I think it is a fantastic piece of cookware for broiling but any ovenproof pan will do. In our house, we like to use a baking pan covered with aluminum foil. Makes cleanup a lot easier.
No matter what you use, take caution when removing the pan from the oven. It’s going to be hot so use an oven mitt.
As I said earlier, this is the most basic of recipes but don’t let that stop you from coming up with your own ideas using some of your favorite fresh local ingredients. Below the recipe I’ve listed some alternative ideas for adapting this simple broiled salmon recipe that should give you some ideas to start with.
How to Broil Salmon
- Place the top rack of your oven high enough so when you place a heat proof skillet like a cast iron pan with the salmon fillets on it there will be 2-inch distance from the heat for every ½ inch thickness of salmon.So if your fillets are 1-inch thick, you’ll want them 4 inches from the heat. This prevents thicker cuts from overcooking on the outside before the center is completely cooked.
- Drizzle some of the oil on the pan and spread it around with the salmon fillets, skin side down. This will spread the oil around on the pan as well as coat the bottom of the fish. Use the remaining oil to coat the top of the fillets.
- Season with salt and pepper and place the pan on the top rack of the oven right under the broiler and broil for about 6 to 8 minutes per inch of thickness.One factor that will change the cooking time is when you take the salmon out of the refrigerator. If it comes right out of the fridge and into the pan, it could take a little longer so I recommend you try to take it out 10 - 15 minutes before you start cooking.
- Carefully remove the pan from the oven using an oven mitt*. The pan is HOT and I have made the mistake of grabbing a hot pan out of the oven without a mitt and it hurts, really hurts. So be careful.
- Check for doneness by looking at the color and checking for flakiness. It's not the same flakiness you find with white fish like fluke or flounder but as you can see in the photo above, there is a separation in the meat.
- Transfer the fillets to serving plates and sprinkle a little lemon & extra virgin olive oil on top of each fillet.
- Normally I would say let them rest for a couple of minutes before plating but I’m guessing it will take a minute or two to get them from the oven to the plate to the table.
Additional Ingredients For Broiled Salmon
Broiled Salmon with Herb Mustard Glaze – blend some garlic, rosemary and thyme with a little Dijon mustard and oil and spoon it over the fillets in the last 2 – 3 minutes of broiling.
Garlicky Broiled Salmon – Drizzle with olive oil, garlic slices and thyme and broil.
Honey and Soy Broiled Salmon – Combine some soy sauce with a little honey, then some rice wine vinegar, lemon juice and of course a little minced garlic and you have another great alternative.
Broiled Salmon with Tarragon Butter – Melt some butter, add some fresh lemon juice and fresh tarragon and spoon over fillets after 2 – 3 minutes of broiling. Very elegant.
Broiled Salmon with Truffle Oil – Substitute 1 tablespoon of truffle oil with the olive oil and you now have an entirely new dish.
Broiled Salmon with Blue Cheese, Lemon and Dill – how about mixing together some blue cheese with fresh dill, shallots, wine and a little lemon juice that you can add to the salmon fillets during the last 2 – 3 minutes of roasting. Be careful not to burn the cheese.