You know how with some foods you can do what you like to them - overcook them, undercook them, forget about them - and they'll taste pretty much exactly the same? Yeah, well fish isn't like that. Instead, it's a labor of love that takes effort and dedication; one false move, and it's just not the same.
But when you do get it right, it's so so good. So without further ado, let's take a look at the most common mistakes that people make when cooking salmon and how to avoid them, once and for all.
1. Being cheap
We're all on a budget, but don't be tempted into buying the cheapest cut just to save a few dimes, because the chances are you'll pay for it in taste and quality. And when you do that, you invariably end up throwing some of it away. Find a fishmonger you trust, and don't be afraid to ask questions. Salmon should always be slightly scented; if it smells overly 'fishy', then it probably is.
2. Forgetting the prep
Nothing spoils the moment between you and your precious salmon quite like getting halfway through your yummy dinner, only to end up with a mouthful of pin bones. Most fishmongers will remove them for you, but if you do need to do it yourself, then grab a pair of tweezers and draw them out delicately. Believe us, you'll thank yourself later.
3. Being harsh on the skin
First things first, don't take the skin off - it's not only full of nutrients, but totally delicious if cooked right and it protects the meaty bit that you love so much. So whack the pan up to a medium-high heat, make sure you've dried off the skin with a paper towel (for extra crispiness), then cook your fillet skin-side down.
4. Using the wrong tools
Just as you wouldn't use a paintbrush to clean your teeth, you need to make sure the tools you're using are up to the job. Avoid your fish catching by selecting a non-stick pan and use a slide a spatula under the skin of your fish to lift it off in one swoop.
Although this might be the worst of all salmon sins, it's also the one that absolutely everyone has done it at one point or another. Avoid overcooking your fillet by cooking it on a high heat for five to seven minutes, or until it looks like it's getting crispy, then taking the heat right down to low to finish cooking it. By the end, it should pull apart smoothly, rather than looking dry or flaky.
So there we go - proof that not only are you not alone in making the mistakes that mean you're unable to cook salmon like the pros, but there's actually a way to fix them too! And the best bit? If you do cook it right, then you've got lunch for tomorrow sorted. Healthy delicious leftovers? Errr, yes please!