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Cast Iron Skillet Salmon Recipe

Cast Iron Skillet Salmon

Salmon can be a core ingredient in your grilling routine.  Salmon offers a very healthy and very tasty alternative to the usual grilling lineup of red meats and poultry.  

However just because Salmon is healthy does not mean sacrificing flavor especially when using the cast iron skillet as it provides that restaurant quality heat and temperature that is essential for a little bit of crunch in every bite of Salmon.

If you have ever wondered how to make crispy salmon, using the cast iron is the right way to go.

Check out our Salmon in a Cast Iron Skillet Recipe below for tips, tricks and an awesome meal.

Intro to Salmon as a Healthy Grilling Alternative

Salmon is a high fat content fish with a lot of protein too.  Salmon is also low in carbs.  

Salmon contains the good kind of fat in omega 3 fatty acids.  Omega 3 fatty acids have been known to promote a healthy heart and healthy organs (Salmon is also great for your skin).  These good fats are great for your brain too.  

Low carb content is also a great combination with high fat meals.  Carbs often make us feel “full” after eating. However if we choose a diet with little carbs we can feel hungry even after a meal. Eating protein with high fat content, like salmon, can make us feel more satisfied after our meal.

However a high fish diet can result in a lot of mercury in your food.  Luckily Salmon is a fast growing fish that allows for fish to be harvested before they build up too much mercury in their system.

Ingredients and Equipment

One of the greatest elements of Salmon as a meal staple is it is simple and fast.  This recipe is even simpler as we are using the cast iron skillet and your outdoor grill or a stove.  Cooking on the grill is like cooking salmon in a cast iron skillet and oven.  The ambient temperature cooks the salmon on all sides at the same time as long as you keep the grill top closed.  

Fresh Salmon from your local fish market or grocery is the best way to go.  We picked Coho Salmon as it is Wild Caught Salmon in Alaska.  

Did you know: There are many types of Salmon however the main distinction is Atlantic Salmon and Pacific Salmon.  Most Pacific Salmon is caught wild off the coast of Alaska.  However nearly all Atlantic Salmon is farm raised in offshore fishing farms.

  • 3-4 8 ounce Salmon Filets (we used Coho Salmon)
  • Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Garlic
  • Pepper 
  • Lemon

Cooking Instructions

Below is our favorite recipe for how to cook salmon in a cast iron skillet

Remove your salmon from the refrigerator for about 15 minutes before you plan to begin preparing your meal.  We are using salmon with the skin on one side.  The skin on the fish allows us to keep in a little extra flavor and moisture inside the fish while the salmon is cooking on the skillet, which is a nice contrast to the crispy exterior. You can still cook the same way without the skin on it.  

Pat dry your fish with a paper towel to soak up any excess water and condensation that you may have on your fish.  It is important to remove the water for 2 reasons:

  • Water creates a barrier between the hot oil in your cast iron skillet and the fish itself.  Oil cooking the fish directly allows you to develop that crispy exterior of your fish which makes cast iron skillet Salmon so tasty.  
  • Removing the water from your salmon allows you to get your seasoning on the surface of the fish allowing the flavor to get into the fish and make every bite delicious.  See next for seasonings.

Add a few ounces of olive oil to your fish on both sides.  Cover the fish nicely with olive oil.  

Next add your seasoning to your fish.  We went simple with sea salt, pepper and garlic.  

Fire up your grill and get the temperature up to about 450-500 degrees inside the grill.  If cooking on a stove put your temperature to medium-high.  It’s ok to get the temperature nice and hot as we will be grilling quickly.  

Pro Tip: Don’t burn your olive oil in the cast iron skillet.  We usually use a higher smoke point like grapeseed oil or avocado oil.  However with fish, olive seems to be a nice contrast and adds a nice flavor without overwhelming the fish. Also, the relatively short cooking time prevents us from burning the oil or fish.

Place your cast iron skillet on the grill or stove.  Allow the skillet to heat up for about 2 minutes, then add olive oil in a thin layer to cover the bottom of the pan.  Allow the olive oil to heat up for about 5 minutes or once it begins to slightly smoke.

Add your fish skin side up to the hot oil inside the cast iron skillet.  

Salmon in cast iron iron pan

Cook your Salmon for 3-4 minutes until you have a nice golden brown crust from.  Then flip the Salmon and cook the other side for another 2-3 minutes.  This will cook your Salmon to about medium well.  For slightly less temperature take off about 30 seconds per side.  

Serve with a lemon wedge for a delicious cast iron salmon recipe.  

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