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America's Test Kitchen Pan Seared Salmon Steaks (Ep 2115)

Pan Seared Salmon Steaks with Tarragon Chimichurri


WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS: In this recipe, we prepared salmon steaks in a way that encouraged a well-browned, crisp crust; promoted even cooking; and delivered a beautiful presentation. Deboning and then tying each steak into a round produced a structurally sound parcel that cooked evenly and resulted in two large surfaces on which to develop a well-browned crust. A light coating of cornstarch enhanced the crispness of the crust.


Salt and pepper

4 (8- to 10-ounce) salmon steaks 3/4 to 1 inch thick

¼    cup cornstarch

2 tablespoons vegetable oil Lemon wedges


½ cup minced fresh parsley

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 garlic cloves, minced

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

  1. FOR SALMON STEAKS: Dissolve 1/4 cup salt in 2 quarts cold water in large container. Submerge salmon in brine and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Remove salmon from brine and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Place 1 salmon steak on counter with belly flaps facing you. Locate white line at top of salmon steak. Using paring knife, cut along 1 side of white  line, around spine, then along membrane inside belly flap. Repeat process on other side of white line.
  3. Using kitchen shears, cut out spine and membrane; discard. Run your fingers along each steak where spinal structure was removed and locate any pinbones; remove pinbones using tweezers. Remove 1 1/2 inches of skin from 1 flap of steak. Tuck skinned portion into center of steak. Wrap other flap around steak and tie with kitchen twine. Repeat with remaining steaks.
  4. Lightly season both sides of salmon with salt and pepper. Spread cornstarch in even layer on large plate. Lightly press both sides of salmon into cornstarch. Using pastry brush, remove excess cornstarch.
  5. Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Place salmon in skillet and cook until first side is browned, about 3 minutes. Flip salmon and cook until second side is browned, 3 minutes. Continue to cook, flipping salmon every 2 minutes, until centers are still translucent when checked with tip of paring knife and register 125 degrees, 2 to 6 minutes longer. Transfer salmon to serving platter, discard twine, and serve with lemon wedges.
  6. FOR THE TARRAGON CHIMICHURRI: Combine all ingredients in bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Photo Credit: Carl Tremblay