Why It Works
- Cooking the salmon longer on the skin side makes the skin crispy and cooks the salmon from the bottom up.
- Dressing the arugula while the salmon is cooking is an efficient way to whip this meal up in no time.
Even after plating this recipe, I had to stop for a minute to check the timer and make sure I was right—did this really only take 10 minutes? It was the same kind of shock I get when someone tells me an item costs a quarter; how often does that happen anymore? But the surprise was quickly replaced with other thoughts as I started to dig into the dish, patting myself on the back for hitting both avocado and salmon in one fell swoop.
Salmon is a fish that I rarely cook at home. After reading a Food Lab post on an easy way to cook filets (read: in less than 10 minutes), I was sold. Serving it with a light and refreshing arugula salad only helps to remind me that simple ingredients and preparations should be taken seriously.
The avocado isn't a necessary addition, but I love how its mild flavor works well with the nutty cheese and acidic dressing while adding its own creamy, buttery texture—a great match for the similarly rich salmon. I may not have thought of myself as a big salmon person before, but I definitely do now.
4 (5- to 6-ounce) salmon filets, preferably wild
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
4 cups baby arugula
2 tablespoons fresh juice from 1 lemon
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving
1 ripe Hass avocado, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Press salmon filets between paper towels to dry surfaces thoroughly. Season on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat 1/3 cup oil in a large stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add salmon filets skin side down. Immediately reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, pressing gently on back of filets to ensure good contact with skin, until skin is rendered and crisp, about 6 minutes. If skin shows resistance when attempting to lift with a spatula, allow it to continue to cook until it lifts easily.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine arugula, lemon juice, remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, and avocado. Season with salt and pepper and toss in grated cheese.
Flip salmon and cook on second side until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 120°F (49°C) for medium-rare or 130°F (54°C) for medium, about 1 minute longer. Transfer salmon to a paper towel-lined plate. Spoon salad onto plates, top with salmon, and serve.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 47g||60%|
|Saturated Fat 9g||45%|
|Total Carbohydrate 11g||4%|
|Dietary Fiber 3g||12%|
|Total Sugars 5g|
|Vitamin C 33mg||163%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|