Cooking Method: On the Stovetop
1) Slowly thaw the fish (in the refrigerator overnight is best, but not always practical). The kitchen counter top is fine, but not in direct sunlight or a hot area. Do not run warm or hot water over the fillet. Putting a vacuum-sealed fillet in a sink of COLD water is ok. I do it all the time. This will thaw the fish slowly enough that it doesn’t damage it. I often cook salmon fillets when they are still half frozen – in fact I kind of prefer to do it that way.
2) Sometimes the fish will have a slight fish odor. Too much fishy smell, then maybe it is not so fresh. After you remove the fish from the vac pac, pat it dry with a paper towel. If there is a fishy odor, rinse it briefly under cold water, then Pat it dry with a paper towel.
3) Season the salmon with your favorite grill seasoning. I like to put on the basic salt and ground black pepper, along with whatever else strikes my fancy at the time. It is hard to beat Old Bay seasoning. If time allows, I like to season the fish well ahead time – say 30 minutes or so. I think that allows the flavor to penetrate the flesh prior to cooking.
4) Use a good quality skillet; either a cast iron, or a heavy bottom non-stick pan that will allow the heat to distribute evenly. Use just enough canola oil or no stick spray to create a film on the pan so the fish won’t stick. Bring the pan to high heat. Place the portion flesh side down in the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes flesh side down. Turn fish and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes. At this point you can baste the fish with whatever you choose. A tablespoon of Lemon-Dill-Butter -Capers is always good. There are literally hundreds of different ways to finish the fish at this point. I find the salmon is done when I can slip a spatula between the skin and flesh and the meat easily lifts away and the skin stays in the pan. The time will very depending on the pan you use and the thickness of the fillet. I always high heat when cooking on the stovetop, and cooking time would rarely exceed 6 minutes total time.