My favorite way to cook fish is to sear it in a hot cast iron skillet and then finish it off in the oven. This way, the fish is nicely cooked on the outside but still moist on the inside. And cooking this way is really a no-brainer as long as you have a timer.
I prefer this cooking method over straight broiling because I can't ever seem to control the broiler. When I use it, whatever I'm cooking always turns out blackened and dry. I do use the broiler to finish off things like fritattas or to melt cheese over something, but I rarely broil as a cooking method on its on.
Here's what to do:
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
- Preheat your dry cast iron pan over medium heat. Cast iron conducts heat so evenly and so well that I rarely turn the heat up under my pan above medium/medium-high.
Season your fish. I used a pound of wild salmon (about an inch thick) and rubbed it with sea salt, pepper, and dill.
When you are ready to cook the fish, a drop of water should sizzle and almost instantly disappear off the surface of the pan. Drizzle some oil in the pan and place fish skin-side-down. Leave to sear undisturbed for 5 full minutes. Then, carefully put the entire cast iron pan in your pre-heated oven and cook a further 5 minutes.
At this point, if you like your salmon slightly rare in the center, it should be done. To cook it a little more well-done, leave in the oven a further minute or so. Remember that it will continue to cook when you remove it from the oven because the cast iron will be HOT.
I served this with a simple green herb sauce. I like the way that lime is a counterpoint to the grassy-floral flavor of the basil. Use the processor attachment that comes with your stick blender.
HERB SAUCE FOR FISH
Place the following in the processor and whiz until a rough puree is formed. Spoon over fish.
- 8-10 basil leaves
- 1 green onion stalk, chopped
- 1 small clove garlic
- juice of 1 key lime (or half a regular lime)
- a pinch of sea salt
- 1 good glug of olive oil
Salmon is a very kid-friendly fish. It can be very easily flaked for the little ones or left in larger pieces for toddlers. As you can see, Wallie, my 9 month old ate it (along with some mashed potatoes and broccoli), too.