If you are a seafood lover, then you must have tasted salmon at some point. This delightful fish is not only delicious but also healthy, thanks to its rich protein content, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin B complex. While there are many ways to prepare salmon, cooking it in an air fryer with the skin on is becoming increasingly popular. In this article, we will explore why using an air fryer is a great option for cooking salmon, the benefits of cooking salmon with skin on in an air fryer, and much more.
Why use an air fryer for cooking salmon?
There are many reasons to use an air fryer for cooking salmon. For starters, air fryers cook food by circulating hot air around the food, which results in a crispy exterior and juicy interior. This method of cooking produces healthier meals because it uses less oil than traditional frying methods. Additionally, air fryers can cook salmon in a shorter period, making it a great option for busy evenings.
Another reason to use an air fryer for cooking salmon is that it allows for easy cleanup. Unlike traditional frying methods, there is no oil splatter or messy cleanup involved. Simply remove the basket from the air fryer and wash it with soap and water.
Lastly, air fryers are versatile and can be used to cook a variety of salmon dishes. From salmon fillets to salmon cakes, an air fryer can handle it all. Plus, you can experiment with different seasonings and marinades to create unique and flavorful salmon dishes that are sure to impress your family and friends.
Benefits of cooking salmon with skin on in air fryer
Cooking salmon with the skin on in an air fryer has many benefits, the most obvious being that it’s less likely to stick to the air fryer basket. Additionally, the skin contains healthy fats that can help prevent sticking and add flavor to the salmon. Cooking salmon with skin on also helps protect the fish while cooking, minimizing the risks of overcooking or drying out.
Another benefit of cooking salmon with skin on in an air fryer is that it can help retain the moisture in the fish. The skin acts as a barrier, preventing the moisture from escaping and keeping the salmon juicy and tender. This is especially important when cooking leaner cuts of salmon, which can easily dry out if overcooked.
Furthermore, leaving the skin on the salmon can make it easier to remove the fish from the air fryer basket once it’s cooked. The skin provides a natural handle that you can use to lift the salmon out of the basket without it falling apart. This can be particularly helpful if you’re cooking larger fillets or whole fish.
Types of air fryers suitable for cooking salmon
When it comes to picking the perfect air fryer for cooking salmon, you have several options to choose from. There are countertop models, smaller models suitable for cooking for one person, and larger models that can cook up to four salmon fillets at once. It’s important to choose an air fryer that has features like temperature controls, cooking timers, and a non-stick basket for ease of cooking and cleaning up.
Another important factor to consider when choosing an air fryer for cooking salmon is the wattage. Higher wattage air fryers tend to cook food faster and more evenly, which is important when cooking delicate fish like salmon. Additionally, some air fryers come with additional accessories like baking pans or grill racks that can be used to cook salmon in different ways.
It’s also worth noting that some air fryers have preset cooking functions specifically for seafood, which can take the guesswork out of cooking salmon. These functions may adjust the temperature and cooking time to ensure that the salmon is cooked to perfection every time. Ultimately, the best air fryer for cooking salmon will depend on your personal preferences and cooking needs.
Preparing the salmon for air fryer cooking
The first step in preparing your salmon fillets for air fryer cooking is to clean them properly and pat them dry. You can then season them with salt, pepper, garlic powder, or any other seasoning of your preference. After seasoning, let them sit for 10-15 minutes before cooking for better absorption of the flavors.
Another important step in preparing salmon for air fryer cooking is to lightly coat the fillets with oil. This will help prevent them from sticking to the air fryer basket and also give them a crispy texture. You can use any type of oil, such as olive oil or vegetable oil, but be sure to use it sparingly to avoid making the salmon too greasy. Once the salmon is coated with oil, you can place it in the air fryer basket and cook it according to your air fryer's instructions.
Seasoning options for your air-fried salmon
While salmon is a delicious fish on its own, you can enhance its natural taste by adding some seasoning. One of the most popular ways to do this is by using lemon juice, which adds a fresh citrusy flavor to the salmon. Other seasoning options include garlic, herbs like thyme or rosemary, and spices like paprika or cumin.
Tips for selecting the best salmon fillets for air frying
When selecting salmon fillets for air frying, consider the thickness of the fillet, making sure they are of even size. Choose wild salmon as it has superior taste and nutritional benefits compared to farmed salmon. Go for fillets that have a rich red color, firm texture, and a mild smell. Always check the expiry date before purchasing, and buy fresh instead of frozen fillets where possible.
Preheating and setting up your air fryer for salmon cooking
Before cooking, preheat your air fryer to the desired temperature. Then, lightly grease the air fryer basket with cooking spray or a small amount of oil. Place the seasoned salmon fillets, skin side down, into the air fryer basket, ensuring that they are not overcrowded. Depending on the size of the fillets, you can cook two to four fillets at a time in most air fryers.
It is important to note that the cooking time for salmon in an air fryer may vary depending on the thickness of the fillets and the desired level of doneness. For a medium-rare salmon, cook for 8-10 minutes at 375°F. For a well-done salmon, cook for 12-15 minutes at 400°F. It is recommended to check the internal temperature of the salmon with a meat thermometer to ensure it has reached a safe temperature of 145°F.
Cooking time and temperature recommendations for perfect results
The perfect cooking time for salmon in an air fryer depends on several factors, including the thickness of the fillet, its starting temperature, and the air fryer brand and model. As a general rule, cook salmon at 380-400°F for 10-12 minutes or until the internal temperature of the salmon reads 145°F with a cooking thermometer.
Checking the doneness of your air-fried salmon
The only way to know for sure if your salmon is cooked to perfection is to check its internal temperature, which should be 145°F as mentioned above. However, you can also check doneness by observing the texture and color of the fish. When salmon is cooked, it will be firm to the touch, pink, and flaky.
Serving suggestions and side dishes to pair with your air-fried salmon
There are many side dishes that pair well with air-fried salmon. You can prepare some roasted vegetables, such as asparagus or Brussels sprouts, toss some salad greens with vinaigrette, or serve with some mashed potatoes or rice. Lemon wedges or a light cream sauce are excellent choices to enhance the salmon’s flavor further.
Storage and reheating options for leftover air-fried salmon
If you have some leftover salmon, you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. When reheating, use a toaster oven or stove to prevent overcooking and maintain its texture and juiciness. You can also flake the leftover salmon and use it in dishes like salmon burgers, dips, or pasta sauces.
Frequently asked questions about cooking salmon in an air fryer
Q: Can I cook frozen salmon in an air fryer?
A: Yes. However, make sure to adjust the cooking time and temperature, as frozen salmon takes longer to cook than fresh.
Q: Do I need to flip the salmon during cooking?
A: No. The air fryer circulates hot air, ensuring that both sides of the salmon cook evenly without flipping.
Comparing the taste of air-fried vs traditional oven-baked or pan-seared salmon
While traditional oven-baked and pan-seared salmon are delicious, air-fried salmon has a unique taste and texture. Cooking the salmon in an air fryer results in a crispy skin and a juicy interior with a delicious flavor. Additionally, air-fried salmon is healthier compared to oven-baked or pan-seared salmon, which requires more oil or butter.
Conclusion: Why you should try cooking salmon with skin on in an air fryer
Air fryers are an excellent option for cooking salmon, especially when you want to avoid using too much oil or butter. Cooking salmon with skin on in an air fryer enhances the fish's flavor and texture and protects it from drying out or overcooking. By following the tips and recommendations highlighted in this article, you can prepare delicious, healthy, and juicy salmon fillets that are sure to impress your family or guests.