What Is Broiled Salmon?

Dan Harkins

Salmon is a versatile and nutritious seafood with a venerable culinary reputation. It has a slightly dry but flaky texture and a notably mild flavor. One way to prepare salmon with finesse is to use the oven's broil setting and properly treat the meat ahead of time. Making an appreciated broiled salmon also might entail pairing it with the proper sauce known to complement this fish's distinctive taste.

Use a meat thermometer to confirm that the salmon's internal temperature is at least 160 degrees.
Use a meat thermometer to confirm that the salmon's internal temperature is at least 160 degrees.

Making broiled salmon requires some advance preparation. Using firm, larger fillets will help the fish withstand the high heat of the oven. At a minimum, it is typically coated in light oil, salt and pepper, with the skin left on to keep the fillets from falling apart.

Salmon can be cooked in a variety of different ways.
Salmon can be cooked in a variety of different ways.

Other chefs marinate their fish fillets for at least 15 or 20 minutes — or even overnight — before broiling them. For instance, a honey-soy broiled salmon recipe at the Eating Well Web site gives the fish an advance bath in scallions, vinegar, honey, ginger and soy sauce. Other commonly used seasonings before the broil include fresh herbs like thyme or basil, soy sauce, paprika and garlic.

A broiling pan is often used to cook salmon.
A broiling pan is often used to cook salmon.

The fish cannot just stew in its own juices in the broiler though, or large gelatinous clumps will form from the collecting fat. Broiled salmon has to start, skin-down, on a broiler pan, with slits that allow drainage into a pan below. The pan should be set about 0.5 feet (about 15 cm) from the top broiler unit. Some use a broiler grill that gets hot during the preheating to impart some grill marks. Fipping the fish after the top is browned onto other parts of the broiler grill that have not been used should result in grill marks on both sides. A meat thermometer should read about 160°F (about 71°C) for the salmon to be cooked through.

A good marinade could mean the salmon can be served as it is on the plate. Chefs frequently employ various sauces, however, to finish off their star protein. Common pairings with broiled salmon are a lemon-herb melted butter or a honey-soy marinade that doubles as the finishing sauce.

Using a broiler is just one of several ways to cook a salmon. Other acceptable methods include a traditional pan frying, baking, poaching, water bathing, and even planking. This latter method involves affixing the salmon fillets to planks or grill grates, and then allowing a roaring campfire to slowly sear and smoke the salmon to perfection.

Grilled salmon with a butter sauce is a healthy meal choice.
Grilled salmon with a butter sauce is a healthy meal choice.

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