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From my conversation with some of my friends, they mention that using canola oil would be suitable for cooking a almost "Well Done" salmon. Also, it will make the salmon taste better.

So, I was wondering if would it make a difference if I use other type of oil or even use butter to cook my salmon fish and if possible, make it taste better?

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How are you cooking the salmon? Are you pan frying? Are you using a BBQ, and using the oil to make it so the fish does not stick to the grill? –  mrwienerdog Oct 16 '12 at 2:23
    
Canola oil is essentially tasteless - why do you think it'll make it taste better? Also, it doesn't really matter for the purposes of this question, but "well done" and "rare" are opposites - "well done" means fully cooked just about to the point of being overcooked, and rare means just barely sufficiently cooked. –  Jefromi Oct 16 '12 at 2:41
    
Jack, from your other post I guessed at your meaning and removed the word "rare". Same question as @mrwienerdog. Are you cooking it in a pan? –  talon8 Oct 16 '12 at 2:52
    
Going off topic, meaning off oil... I personally think that butter makes salmon taste better, pan or oven cooked, and only very little is necessary (I put just 10-15g between the salmon and the pan). Oil is good raw, maybe a little sprikle of olive oil after the fish is cooked. But the taste part is always a subjective matter. –  Coral Doe Oct 16 '12 at 9:52
    
@mrwienerdog Based on the discussion from this question and that question - cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/27818/…, I think most likely I will either pan frying or baking it. However, I was wondering if the same oil use in the two different method of cooking make any differences? –  Jack Oct 17 '12 at 6:18

4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Answer: No oil.

I don't use oil. I use a non-stick pan or I grill it in oven.

I don't understand why people are using oil to do injustice to salmon. I want the salmon to be firm and not mushy. I already face the problem of having to take care of the juice/oil flowing out of the salmon. I don't want more fluid added which would further mushify the fish.

Pan-poaching:

  • Place the slice of salmon on its skin, on the pan.
  • Gradually turn the heat up to moderate.
  • As the skin-side gradually becomes firm, turn the slice over.
  • When the other side also becomes firm, turn the slice back to face the skin-side down to brown the skin on strong heat.

The problem I face is too much juice/oil exuding from the salmon.

Continually notice if salmon juice/oil is flowing out, to drain the juice/oil into a bowl. After cooking salmon is complete, place salmon into serving plate and the pour salmon juice back into pan. Add diced garlic, chopped cilantro and onions. Or use pre-fried onions bought from Vietnamese store. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Resultant is a nice gravy to be used as topping for the salmon. Sprinkle blue cheese bits.

Broiling (set the oven to broil):

  • Place salmon skin facing up on oven pan.
  • For soft steak: use a smaller pan so that the juice/oil that flows out would not spread out to be being burnt away by the heat. So that the juice/oil keeps the salmon moist and soft.
  • For firm poach: Drain the pan frequently.
  • Use various apparatus to elevate the pan so that the salmon is 1 inch away from the top heating element of the oven.
  • Turn oven to 180 F for 30 minutes. This is to firm up the salmon and let its initial flow of juice/oil out of the salmon.
  • Then turn the oven up to 240F till the fish is cooked.
  • Gently separate the skin from the fish without injuring the flesh.
  • Broil the skin at 350F till it becomes crispy.

Crispy salmon skin biscuit = heavens! The crispy salmon skin must be eaten within 30 minutes - otherwise, it would soon absorb moisture and becomes flaccid.

See, no oil involved (other than the oil exuding from the fish).

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+1; salmon is a fairly oily fish. I suspect you might still want a tiny bit of oil in some pans, so that it doesn't stick before the salmon starts releasing juices. You might also use a flavorful oil (like sesame) as part of a sauce, purely for flavor, but you don't need it for the sake of cooking. –  Jefromi Oct 16 '12 at 17:32
    
Also, what you're calling "grilling" is called "broiling" in the US and much of the rest of the world... though usually it doesn't involve setting the oven to a given temperature, since the actual temperature near the top element is much higher than the rest of the oven. –  Jefromi Oct 16 '12 at 17:34
    
Sorry, my mistake, I meant to say broil. It was too late in the night to think properly. –  Blessed Geek Oct 16 '12 at 19:42

I think it depends on two things: what temperature you want to cook at and what flavors you want with it.

Marge gives some ideas on some of the flavor some oils give.

Peanut and grapeseed oil have relatively high smoke points, where butter has a lower smoke point which impact how you should cook the salmon - you can check this out to see what the smoke point of other oils. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smoke_point

My preference on a pan is a fast high-heat sear for 2 minutes skin-side down first with no oil. Flip it, sear the other side for another 1 minute, and then let it rest about 10 minutes covered to let the rest of the fish cook through to a medium. This is assuming that the salmon steak is about an inch thing at the thickest.

On a grill I'd still rub some high-smoke point oil on the grill grates because I'm paranoid about sticking.

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I use either peanut oil or grapeseed oil. Peanut oil adds a nice flavor (even though it's relatively flavorless on its own) when broiling it in my toaster oven.

Grapeseed has almost no flavor, but a slightly higher smoke point than peanut, so I use it when I grill the salmon on the charcoal barbecue.

Butter is good for most people, and most of your guests would love it with salmon; I don't like any preparation where I can taste the flavor of it so I rarely have it in the house, hence the regular use of oil.

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I use a tablespoon or so of olive oil, or just enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Prepare the salmon by patting them dry and sprinkle salt and pepper. Heat the pan until there's a nice sheen, then sear on both sides for a minute or two. Then, put it in a 350 degree oven until it comes to desired temperature. I've never had an issue with mushy or oily fish. I have tried butter in the past, but I find that olive oil provides for a less "heavy" flavor.

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