Why Salmon Is One Of The Most Versatile Proteins In A Home Cook's Arsenal

It might be faster to list all the ways you can’t prepare salmon, that’s how versatile this cold water fish is on Australian tables.

You can eat it raw, cured, smoked, confit, grilled, panfired, oven roasted, hot off the barbecue, and even as bacon. It’s a welcome guest at the breakfast table on bagels or corn fritters as well as at lunch served cold and tossed with noodles or in a poké salad. And come dinner time the king of the pink fish is at home in dishes ranging the globe, flavoured with anything from teriyaki or panang curry to creamy dill, soy and ginger, or a classic Old Bay spice rub.

Salmon is one of Australia’s most popular ingredients, and not just because you can cook it a thousand ways. It’s also very good for you, affordable, and easy to access. Fresh fillets and high quality frozen steaks mean a simple and elegant dinner is always on hand; tinned red salmon is perfect for patties; cold smoked salmon can go straight on a sandwich while hot smoked salmon is perfect crumbled through a creamy pasta sauce. Or why not add some new techniques to your repertoire and...

Miso Salmon With Broccoli Rice. Image: Coles

Achieve Perfect Skin

But if you’re new to cooking salmon the best place to start is with a simple pan-fried piece of fish with a perfect crisp skin. You won’t need heat lamps or copper pans to achieve it either. The secret is drying the skin with some paper towel before you begin. You then season the fish and place skin side down in the pan. Press as you cook for the first minute to stop it curling and then flip after five minutes and finish cooking. You can also try this method with this Paprika Salmon & Greek Salad Bowl. For less hands on time there’s always the oven-baked method – timeless and reliable for a weeknight dinner.

Pan Fried Salmon With Perfect Crispy Skin. Image: Coles

Try A Traybake

For the efficiency loving cook, why not embrace the traybake, where every element of a meal is cooked together in the oven. Curtis Stone seasons salmon fillets in spices, adds broccolini and pops the lot in the oven in one go – minimal mess and no need to worry about timing, everything comes out hot and ready to serve at the same time.

Cure It

You can make your own cured salmon for a showstopping centrepiece for your next brunch. It’s a simple technique that will make your home feel like a café. All it takes is a simple mix of equal parts brown sugar and salt with the zest of one lemon and lemon verbena leaves finely chopped and mixed through so that they fish will become fragrant with lemon as it cures in the fridge. You could make this the night before, or just two hours is long enough for the fish to spend wrapped in the curing mix before being sliced and served with creme fraiche and fresh vegetables with bread, bagels or blinis.

Paprika Salmon & Greek Salad Bowl. Image: Supplied


Another flashy technique that sounds difficult but is actually an easy at-home hack is confit. It’s a method of slowly cooking in oil or fat, so for a piece of salmon you’d fill a pan two-thirds full with olive oil and keep the temperature nice and low. Then you just pop your fillet in and cook to your liking. Competition ready cuisine in anyone’s kitchen.

Embrace The No-Cook Method

Even if you don’t feel like cooking there’s always sashimi. Marinate the fish in mirrin for 20 minutes, whisk together an Asian-inspired dressing and a feather-light lunch is ready to go.

There’s not much you can’t do with a bit of salmon on hand so pick some up from Coles today and be your own MatserChef at home.

Feature Image: Coles