Some days you just cook too much and eat too little. When this happens, there’s bound to be leftovers into the fridge. More often than not, we forget we even put anything aside.
Salmon, however, is tough to forget. Its flaky and moist texture can get your mouth watering as you think about it, and you’ll probably want it the next day!
However, placing the salmon into the refrigerator and reheating it the next day might be too risky. You’ll either get a dry, solid fish or two meals in one.
Although reheating salmon won’t be as good as when it’s freshly cooked, there are still some ways that could make it taste great. The tricky thing about reheating anything, in general, is trying to keep the texture and the flavor intact.
The goal is to heat it while keeping the method of cooking the same. If the salmon was grilled, then the goal of reheating is to heat it as if it was just grilled. It is why different cooking methods require different reheating ways, too.
Ways To Cook Salmon
To understand how to reheat salmon in its different cooking methods, we first have to know how it was cooked in the first place. This way, you can preserve the fish’s style: to have it crispy where it’s meant to be crisp and have it moist where it’s meant to be moist. Let’s talk about my favorite ways to cook salmon.
I personally love pan-fried salmon, mostly when I’m in a hurry. It’s a quick way to get a delicious and almost luxurious meal without putting in too much effort. This is especially great for salmon fillets.
I especially like it when it’s simple. You don’t need too many ingredients to make this dish flavorful; searing the salmon itself already brings out beautiful flavors. However, to elevate this dish, you might want to add salt and pepper with a squeeze of lemon, olive oil, or butter!
Salmon doesn’t like too high-heated pans; otherwise, the outside will burn before you even cook the inside. Go for a medium to high heat pan, and place the salmon on the pan with the skin-side up. Let it fry for about five minutes. Don’t give in to the temptation to keep touching it!
Flip it over and wait another 3 minutes for the skin to fry up into the crispy yumminess that we all love in pan-fried salmon. To me, it brings such a great contrast against the moistness of the fish.
It’s no surprise that grilled salmon is another one of my favorites. It’s a low-effort, high-reward cooking method that brings out a different salmon flavor compared to simply pan-frying it. The smokiness that the grill brings is lovely. The quick clean up is even better!
Make sure to oil your salmon before placing it skin-side down on the grate to prevent it from sticking too much. Just like the pan-fry, you want to wait for 5 minutes without touching it before flipping. If it doesn’t flip, let it grill for another minute or two. After flipping, wait for another five or until you think it’s done!
Smoked salmon surprises me every time I get to taste it. It hits your tongue differently from what you would imagine salmon to be, proving that there are different methods to bring out different flavors from your salmon (or any kind of food!).
Not everyone has access to a smoker, though, making it quite challenging to do at home. You’d also have to make your brine. For a more straightforward smoked salmon fix, you might want to try shopping for it at your local grocery! It’s important to mention, though, since smoked salmon has its way of reheating.
Broiling is another simple way to cook salmon, especially if your oven has the broiler option. You can’t let the salmon be, though, as this is also a quick-cooking method.
Turn your oven to broil. If you don’t have your own broiler, simply raise your oven’s temperature to around 500º Fahrenheit (260º Celsius). Just make sure to keep your oven door open in order to prevent it from overheating.
Place your seasoned salmon on a sheet pan and slide onto the top rack of the oven. Leave it for 3 minutes, then turn the broiler off. If you like it more well-done, leave it in the turned-off oven for a few more minutes.
Now comes the tricky part: reheating salmon after doing all that work. It’s quite a waste to simply throw away salmon, especially if you spent a lot of time perfecting the dish. To avoid having to reheat anything, try to gauge how much you can eat and cook accordingly.
If you can’t help yourself from cooking too much food, though, you have to be an expert at reheating.
We know that reheating will be based mostly on how you cooked it in the first place. As much as possible, we would like to take great care of the already cooked salmon, as it is prone to being dry if not reheated correctly, a sure sign of overcooking.
Reheating Grilled and broiled salmon
Grilled and boiled salmon have the same method of reheating as both methods expose your salmon directly to radiant heat. Since this method has a higher chance of overcooking when reheating, you have to make sure that you heat it slowly and at low temperatures.
Start by preheating your oven to 275º Fahrenheit (135º Celsius). Then, before placing your salmon on a baking sheet, cover it loosely with aluminum foil in order to keep the edges from drying out. This will help evenly heat the salmon from the inside all the way to the outside. Leave it for about 15 minutes.
This method is great as it doesn’t cook the salmon too rapidly; it simply raises the temperature. Although the texture won’t be as great as when it was first grilled or broiled, you’ll still be left with a fantastic meal.
Reheating pan-fried salmon
Although you can apply the same reheating method as the one for grilled or broiled salmon, I’m going to assume that you like to use your pan for cooking and reheating things.
Heat your pan over a very low fire. Place your salmon skin-side down. The reason we do this is to keep the skin from burning, as it is much more prone to that than its flesh side. Place a lid on top of your pan in order to create heat convection; in simpler terms, this will help the heat reach all the surfaces of your salmon. You might also want to add a little water in order to prevent the salmon from losing its moisture.
You can stop when your salmon is hot enough, but if you’re a risk-taker like me, I like to remove the salmon first from the pan then turn up the heat to medium-high. Place the salmon skin-side down on the pan to bring back a bit of crispiness.
Reheating smoked Salmon
This method is similar to the first one, except for a few adjustments in temperature. Start by preheating your oven to 325º Fahrenheit (around 160º Celsius). Place the salmon on a baking sheet and coat with butter or olive oil before placing it into the oven. Check on the salmon after 5 minutes until it reaches an internal temperature of 145º Fahrenheit (around 60º Celsius).
- Slow and steady wins the race! A similar pattern you’ll see in the reheating methods is that it starts at low temperatures. This is so that you preserve the cooking method’s wonderful attributes, such as the crispiness of the pan-fried salmon, without overcooking the fish.
- Cover the salmon with aluminum foil! This prevents the fishy smell from taking over your oven. You’re also creating heat convection which allows the fish to be heated from all sides. This helps to evenly heat your salmon! This can also protect the fish from the direct heat of the oven which might burn or dry out the outside edges.
- Get away from the microwave! The microwave is always the culprit for unevenly heated food, which makes for a low-quality dish. You’re also more likely to be stuck with a fishy microwave.
- Keep it moist! You might find success in adding squeezes of lemon, slathers of olive oil or butter, or just plain and simple splashes of water by the pan in order to keep your salmon moist.
Paul is an aspiring amateur chef from Sydney, Australia. Paul comes from Vietnam and has a passion for Asian food. He has visited Asia including Vietnam, China, Thailand, and Singapore and hopes to inspire others with his passion for food.