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A crispy take on pan-seared salmon

Naomi Tomky shares her tips on cooking salmon for a crispy finish, and more advice from her latest cookbook.

The Pacific Northwest is known for its array of seafood, but there's always room for a fresh culinary perspective.

Seattle-resident, Naomi Tomky, shares a well-rounded collection of recipes based on the variety of seafood available in this region in her new book, The Pacific Northwest Seafood Cookbook.

The author joins us to demonstrate the art of pan-seared salmon, and other dishes you can find in her book.

Pan Seared Salmon with Basil and Mint


  • 1 pound skin-on salmon, pin bones removed
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves

Pat the salmon skin dry with a paper towel, then drag the back of a knife across it to dry the skin completely. Refrigerate the salmon, skin side up, for 1 hour. 

Remove the fish from the refrigerator, slice into four fillets, and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. 

In a stainless steel or well-seasoned cast-iron pan (or anything that is not non-stick), heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil over high heat until smoking. Pour that oil off and heat the second tbsp of vegetable oil until very hot, then place the fish in, with the skin side down. Gently push down with a fish spatula, as the salmon will try to curl up, resulting in the skin losing contact with the hot pan. 

This will get splattery—be prepared, and use a splatter screen if you have one. Again, practice patience, staying the course until most of the fish is opaque and the fish lifts easily from the pan, likely about 3 to 4 minutes. If you encounter any resistance, leave it a little longer.

Flip the fish and let it cook on the non-skin side for barely a minute. If your skin slides off as you do this, just set it on top of the fish (like a garnish): it's still crispy! Again, the fish should lift easily. 

Transfer the fish to a plate, skin side up, to rest for 1 more minute.

While the fish rests, heat up the olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat, add the herbs and stir until they relax, about 1 minute. 

Drizzle the herbs and oil over the fish and serve.

Segment Producer Joseph Suttner. Watch New Day Northwest 11 AM weekdays on KING 5 and streaming live on KING5.comContact New Day