One-Sided Crispy Salmon – A Sure Way to Perfectly Cook a Fish Fillet

As I was looking through my blog, I was surprised to see that I don’t have a single fish recipe up yet; especially since I love eating fish and seafood in general. Fish can be discouraging to work with because timing is critical for such a delicate meat, but this dish – also called Salmon a L’Unilateral – has to be one of the easiest ways to perfectly cook fish fillet. Basically all you do is throw the fish into your pan skin side down over moderate heat and wait until it’s cooked. No need to flip it!


This recipe is based on Trout Fillet Roasted on its Skin. I substituted salmon which is traditionally used in France for this dish. Other thin, oily fish fillets that would work well are Trout or Arctic Char. Just make sure you get a thin cut (since we’re cooking the fish on one side only) and that the skin is intact and looks fresh.

Right image: Only a few basic ingredients needed to create a delicious sauce

Left image: Place fillet skin side down in pan - Right image: Cook until white liquid is released and becomes opaque


One-Sided Crispy Salmon Recipe

  • 1 pound salmon fillet with skin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (for pan)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (for sauce)
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons thyme, chopped
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • lemon juice (optional)

    On medium heat, add oil to a heavy-bottomed pan. Place salmon fillet skin side down and season with salt. Only cook on this side until the flesh turns opaque and white liquid is released. For a 1-pound piece this should take about 15 minutes. While fish is cooking, prepare the sauce. Mix olive oil, cream and vinegar in a small saucepan. Add shallot, chopped herbs and salt (Don’t heat up saucepan yet).


    When fish is cooked, remove from pan and place skin side up on serving platter. The salmon should be moist and flaky and the skin is crisp. Now heat up sauce ingredients over high heat until reaching a simmer. Pour sauce on salmon fillet and serve with a side of fingerling potatoes or your side of choice. Squirt with some lemon juice, if desired.

    [make sure to check out my Salmon Omelette using leftovers from this dish]


    Total Time: 20-30 minutes

    Yield: 2-4 servings

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