We have all the tips and information about how to cook sockeye salmon. If you’ve cooked salmon only a handful of times or if you’re looking to expand your repertoire, we recommend you visit our blog guide of best tips for salmon preparation and cooking. Once you’ve gotten the basics for cooking salmon and a taste for playing chef, one of the most frequently asked questions is what’s different about cooking sockeye salmon?
The most popular methods and conventional wisdom from seafood chefs will tell you that cooking sockeye salmon should be done in a way that retains its naturally complex flavor. Along with its superior nutritional profile, sockeye salmon is known for being a salmon-lover’s salmon. When properly cleaned and when eaten fresh or flash-frozen from a reputable source, sockeye salmon can be safely eaten uncooked sushi-style. More likely, you’re looking to try one of these methods.
Baked Sockeye Salmon
The stillness and moderate heat of the baking process makes it a great method for recipes that call for spices with more subtle flavor. The moderate heat of setting the oven to around 350 degrees is also a great way to make sure the salmon is cooked all the way through without being overcooked. Wrapping the salmon in tin foil will help ensure a delicious, moist result despite the longer cooking time. A great all-around method for beginners and more experienced seafood chefs.
Broiled Sockeye Salmon
If you’re looking for sockeye salmon with multiple textures throughout the meat—where the outside is charred slightly but the inside is still moist almost to the point of not being cooked through—broiled is the way to go. This is another still cooking method that helps preserve the integrity of sockeye salmon’s firm but succulent meat. This method can also produce a thin and slightly crispy outside layer, similar to pan-seared or blackened salmon. This is another great all-around method that will work with a variety of seasoning recipes. This high-heat method simply requires more precise timing to avoid under-cooking and over-cooking the salmon.
Grilled and Pan-Seared Sockeye Salmon
This type of high heat or direct-contact heating method can be done to great success but generally requires a good deal of practice to get just right. Overcooked salmon with albumin oozing out the top is too often the result. You might also get an uneven cook of blacked salmon with an uncooked middle. These results may still be quite good, and it’s a fast way to cook sockeye salmon, but there’s usually a better method. Especially for the average home cook.
Cedar Plank Sockeye Salmon
Cedar plank cooking surfaces are a great method to protect sockeye salmon from direct heat—and one of the best ways for cooking any type of salmon. Be sure to soak the cedar in hot water, and feel free to add your favorite spices and seasoning. The combination of natural cedar wood flavor and rich sockeye flavor are sure to impress without taking an inordinate amount of skill. Cedar planks can be used on the grill or in the oven.
Poached Sockeye Salmon
Poached sockeye salmon can be done with water, wine, or fish stock with or without additional spices and ingredients. The loss of some of sockeye’s naturally complex flavor is the biggest reason this method isn’t more popular. Some methods of poaching may also result in albumin (white gobs of protein). However, if you or your guests want salmon that, above all else, isn’t dried out during the cooking process, poaching is a good way to go. Cooking sockeye salmon in a fish stock as part of a favorite stew recipe is a great idea if you’re trying to make a little sockeye salmon go a long way. It’s one of our favorite recommendations for the last fillet or two of the season/delivery package.