I have something to confess. I used to have pretty bad eating habits. My “bad” eating habits weren’t limited to just eating a burger and fries every once in a while. I had a hard time with portion control and eating too many simple carbs without the proper balance of veggies and lean meat. It got to a point where I realized that I weighed about 10 pounds more than what a person my size should weigh. Although this might not seem like a whole lot of extra weight, I knew that I would feel a lot better if I could somehow drop some extra baggage sitting in my trunk. The problem was that I was certain that I couldn’t find anything to eat that would fill me up as much as white rice, potatoes, and sandwiches did. I know it sounds dramatic, but cooking salmon at home changed my life!
The main problem with my diet was that I wasn’t getting enough protein and eating too many simple carbs. My answer to the carbs dilemma was forcing myself to eat brown rice and quinoa instead of the other stuff. I didn’t have to force it much – I tried it once and fell in love. But for the protein, I went the easy route and starting grilling my own chicken. I seasoned it instead of covering it in gravy or an oily sauce like the old days. But after 3-4 weeks of eating grilled chicken as my protein, I got bored, as anyone should. Chicken is great, but you need to switch it up once in a while!
Back to fish: I really love all kinds of fish because I grew up eating it, so distaste of fish in general wasn’t the problem. But before I made this recipe, I never really cooked seafood at home unless it was covered in bread crumbs or swimming in a spicy curry sauce, just the way my mama taught me. So, the first time I pan cooked salmon, I was so afraid that it was going to taste and smell fishy. Plus, I had been told by seafood snobs that you can’t “over season” fish. All of these things were wrong and I refused to be limited to salt and pepper on my fish. I added a little spice to my salmon and all of a sudden, it became an amazing, nutritious protein I could throw on my salad or just eat on its own.
After trial and error, I decided that the “sear and steam” method worked best for me. It’s really easy. Turn the pan on really high. Put the salmon fillets meat side down (skin side up), and sear for 2-3 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fillet). Then flip it over, turn the heat down all the way, and cover with a really tight lid. Cook it for another couple minutes and it’s done! You’ll get a really nice crust on the outside and it’ll be really moist on the inside. Also, I’m not even going to mess around with anything other than a non-stick pan. I’ve tried it and failed every time. I always end up with something that looks like a hybrid of canned salmon (similar to the consistency of canned tuna) and overcooked chicken…shredded, dry, ew. If you can do this on a non, non-stick pan, you’re a better person than me.
So that’s the story of the origin of this 4 ingredient salmon recipe. Although salmon is flavorful and almost perfect with nothing on it (i.e. sushi), don’t let fish snobs tell you that you’ll lose the integrity of the natural fish flavor! Try it both ways and decide for yourself which one you like better. And, most importantly always feel healthy eating it!
- 2 salmon fillets (always wild)
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- In a small bowl, mix together all spices.
- Rub spicy onto the non-skin side of the fillets.
- Turn a non-stick pan on high heat, and heat the olive oil.
- Gently place the fillets, meat side down onto the pan and sear for about 2-3 minutes, until a nice crust forms.
- Turn the fillets over, turn the heat on the lowest setting, cover tightly with a lid, and let it cook for another 3-4 minutes.
- Remove from heat and serve immediately with a side of healthy carbs!