Crispy Skin Salmon with Lemon Brown Butter Sauce
The ultimate crispy skin salmon that will blow your mind and wow your guests! 3 simple no-fail steps is all it takes.
- 1 12 oz piece center-cut salmon fillet with skin, about 1-inch thick
- 1 TBSP kosher salt
- 1 TBSP grapeseed oil
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 1/2 tsps fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 TBSP chopped fresh flat-leafed parsley leaves
- Step 1 Dry the fish first. Pat paper towels all over every side. The dryer your fish, the better and easier it’ll cook.
- Step 2 Now carefully score your skin about 1/2 inch into the fish (see step 2 below for a photo). And season generously with kosher salt.
- Step 3 Coat a non-stick skillet with grapeseed oil (canola oil is fine too) and add the fillet skin side down while the pan is cold.
- Step 4 Then turn on the heat to medium-high. Pat down on the fillet gently with a spatula, pushing the skin into the skillet.
- Step 5 Cook for 7-9 minutes (we did 8), then flip over and cook for a 4-5 more minutes, making the brown butter sauce in this final step.
- Step 6 Add the slices of butter and simmer until golden brown with a nutty aroma. Gently spoon the butter over the salmon skin a few times. After 5 minutes, remove the skillet from the heat and immediately add lemon juice, salt, parsley, and pepper to taste, swirling skillet to incorporate (butter will foam). Continue to spoon the sauce over the salmon skin so it can soak it up. Cut the fillet into portions to plate and serve with any remaining sauce.
This might be one of my favorite ways to cook salmon, or any fish for that matter. In addition to it’s photogenic qualities (I think this might have been our most liked photo on Instagram to date!), there’s just something so satisfying about biting into a silky bite of salmon with that perfect crunch at the end. But achieving that coveted crispy skin is not as intimidating as you might think!
I was actually inspired to try it again after watching an episode of The Chew on ABC, a lunchtime cooking show that my local nail place seems to love – it’s always on when I go during my lunch break! The only cooking show we watch habitually is Master Chef, but I’ve really come to appreciate cooking shows as a genre. No matter who the chef is or what they’re making, I find that I usually learn something new and sometimes even get inspired to try a new twist on an old recipe. This week was no exception.
After watching them serve up the perfect crispy skinned salmon, I was determined to make it again for all of you. I’ve made plenty of crispy skinned salmons in the past (and admittedly failed once or twice), but once you master the technique, there’s no looking back. We’re breaking it down into 3 simple steps that will all but guarantee a crispy skin, each and every time. I’m talking easy enough that you can even make it for a weeknight dinner, like I did just this Thursday. Follow these steps and comment below to let us know how yours turned out!
Step 1: Dry your salmon on all sides, using paper towels.
You want your salmon as dry as possible—the dryer your fish, the better and easier it’ll cook.
Step 2: Score + Salt your salmon.
Perfect crispy skin starts with scoring the skin and generous seasoning. Don’t go too deep, only about 1/2 inch into the meat. This ensures that the skin won’t buckle and the fish won’t curl while you cook it.
Step 3: To cook, coat a non-stick pan with grapeseed oil (which has a very high flash point) and place the salmon skin side down into the COLD pan, before turning on the heat.
I cannot stress the importance of this step enough! Starting the fillets skin side down in a cold pan allows the inside of the fish to start cooking through gently and the skin to crisp up fully. Doesn’t it remind of you what we do with our Pan-Fried Duck?
The majority of the cooking will take place skin-side down. Over the 8 minutes, you’ll see the cook start to radiate up the side of the fish as the pan heats up. Once the pan fully hot, simply flip the fillets so that a crust can form on the flesh side and the fish can finish cooking through. If you want to finish off the salmon with our simple brown butter sauce, this is the time to do it, but honestly, you can also leave the salmon as is. Sometimes I just want to enjoy the flavor of the salmon you know? Especially with that skin so crispy, you really can’t go wrong!