Easy crispy skin salmon

Easy crispy skin salmon with tarragon yoghurt

Gavin Wren Fish & Shellfish, Main Dishes, Recipes

And, there it is again, yoghurt. You will have to excuse my yoghurt habit, but I just can’t keep away from the stuff. It keeps on cropping up in my recipe ideas, even being the subject of a post in it’s own right – how to make yoghurt at home really easily. I might have to check in to YA (Yogoholics Anonymous – OK, it might not exist, but I could always start it by sitting in a room and talking about yoghurt and how I use it. Although, that sounds extremely like what I’m doing at the moment…)

Mix it up and keep it fresh

But, this is all for a very good reason, because you can use yoghurt as a really simple, bright and healthy vehicle for all sorts of flavours. I love mixing in things like herbs, citrus, garlic, tahini, horseradish, even cheese with it to create a vibrant sauce. Plus, we all know that yoghurt is really good for you and we should eat more of it, so it’s a win-win situation.

So here I have a really, really simple dish for you. If you’ve not cooked much fish, put a little bit of faith in yourself and you will find that Salmon is incredibly easy to cook nicely. The sauce is equally simple to make, with no cooking, so the whole thing is just, well, ridiculously easy to make.

Salmon Specifications
To make crispy skin salmon you need salmon fillet portions with the skin on, but make sure it has been de-scaled. Scales aren’t actually bad for you, but they aren’t very nice to eat so you want to get rid of them. If you buy your fish pre-packaged, it might already be de-scaled. If you buy at the fishmonger or fish counter in your supermarket, then ask the assistant if the fillet has been de-scaled, if not, they should do it for you.

If you want to get all fish-mongery at home, then you can descale fish yourself. There are various ways of doing this, most of which are very, very messy as the scales tend to fire themselves across the room when you release them from the fish and become invisible so you find them over the coming weeks. I would recommend buying this fish scaler (affiliate link) to use at home as it’s the cleanest one available, and do the work in the sink on a plastic bag.

Easy crispy skin salmon

Easy crispy skin salmon with tarragon yoghurt


Serves 2

Uses 1 pot

PDF recipe card to download or print


2 Salmon fillet portions, somewhere between 120g(small) and 200g(large), boneless and descaled
100g yoghurt
Half a lemon, zest and juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon of tahini
4 tarragon sprigs, leaves only, chopped
1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
Pinch of salt


This can be quite messy to cook! It will sizzle and spit quite a lot, so if you have an extractor then I suggest using it on full speed. If you have windows, then you should open them.
You can make the sauce in advance and store it in the fridge. You simply combine all of the ingredients above (except the salmon) and mix well. Also, get the salmon out of the fridge for a little while (say 30 minutes) before cooking.

Heat a frying pan over a 75% heat. Drizzle a little olive oil into the pan, then add a salmon fillet, skin side down and hold it flat with your hand or a fish slice/spatula onto the pan for about 15 seconds, to prevent it from curling up on itself. Release the first fillet, add the second fillet to the pan and hold it down for 15 seconds as well.

Now, you need to leave these in the pan for a while and DO NOT MOVE THEM, moving fish around whilst its cooking is when things go wrong. After about 2 minutes, turn the heat down to 50%. They should be sizzling and splattering oil all over your clean cooker, and filling the house with the smell of cooking fish. Am I selling this?

As the fish is cooking, watch the side of the fillet and you will see the colour slowly change from ‘raw’ pink to ‘cooked’ pink, starting from the bottom, see the image below, which shows the colour change. This is your cooking gauge. Don’t worry about burning it, because that’s exactly what you want to happen to the skin, and the skin protects the flesh from getting burned.

Easy crispy skin salmon

When it’s reached about two thirds of the way up the side, flip the salmon over and cook on the top for a couple of minutes, until the side has become more or less ‘cooked’ pink from top to bottom.

Remove from the pan and serve, skin side up, drizzled with the tarragon sauce.

I served this with some simple vegetables, beans and broccoli, cooked at the same time as the salmon over a very high heat on a griddle pan.

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