Pan-seared salmon is the ideal healthy weeknight meal. It takes hardly any time (10 minutes max), and in just five simple steps, you end up with a perfectly seasoned fillet with deliciously crispy skin.

The only slight downsides: It can get a little messy if the oil splatters, and your kitchen may start to smell like the ocean (which could be a good or a bad thing, depending on the person.) Still, it's helpful to have an open window nearby and/or a fan above the stove.

What you'll need: a medium-size skillet, olive oil, butter, a salmon fillet (about six ounces should work for one person), salt, and pepper. Lemon slices are a nice touch for garnish but not needed.


1. Heat oil and butter in skillet.

Cook Salmon in Oil and Butter

Add about 1 teaspoon olive oil to a heavy skillet over medium-high heat so there’s a thin coating of oil over the entire surface. Heat for 3 minutes. Add about 1 tablespoon of butter and let it melt.

2. Season.

Season salmon with salt and pepper.

Place fillet in skillet skin-side down. (If you're using a skinless fillet, it doesn't matter.) Season top side with salt and pepper—or any other spices that appeal. (Find some tasty seasoning combos here.)

3. Let cook, then flip.

Flip salmon.

Cook fillet for 3 to 5 minutes. (Timing depends on how thick the fillet is.) When fillet turns a light pink (almost white) color about 1/2 of the way through, use a spatula or tongs to flip it over. If it sticks to the pan, let it cook for one more minute.

4. Continue to cook.

Flake salmon with a fork.

Cook for 3 to 5 more minutes on the other side. Again, timing depends on how thick the fillet is and how well done you like your fish. You'll know it's ready when the flesh flakes easily with a fork.

5. Serve.

Salmon with lemon.

Besides topping with lemon, we love to plate salmon with some cooked quinoa or brown rice, plus steamed broccoli or sauteed spinach. Check out these outstanding veggie side dishes for more inspiration.

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