Salmon is a great culinary canvas, as it absorbs just about any flavor you want to put on it. Salmon’s versatility, combined with its health benefits – low in saturated fat, a good source of protein and an omega-3 powerhouse – just might make this widely available fish your go-to meal.

Still, some cooks experience trepidation about working with salmon because it is easy to overcook. So here are a couple of suggestions to help avoid ruining your investment and your meal.

The skin is your friend. Salmon’s skin helps it retain moisture during grilling and acts as a barrier between the delicate flesh and the hot grill grates. Let the salmon rest for about 10 minutes after cooking and gently pull the skin away.

Look for the flake: Press on the center of the salmon with your finger when you think it might be done. If it’s a bit firm and begins to break apart in a large flake, remove it from the heat.

While this doesn’t have anything to do with the problem of overcooking, I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind you to check the sides of the salmon for small pin bones. Use tweezers or your fingers to gently pull these out.

Our registered dietitians are here to help.

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Sweet and spicy grilled salmon

4 salmon fillets (around 4 ounces each), skin on

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Zest of one lime

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Step 1: Brush the grill grates with one-half tablespoon of the olive oil and heat the grill on medium high heat. Take the remaining half tablespoon of oil and brush it on each fillet.

Step 2: Combine the brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, salt, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and lime zest.

Step 3: Liberally sprinkle each fillet with the spice mixture. You may have some left over.

Step 4: Place the fillets on the grill, skin-side up, and grill for approximately three to four minutes. Gently flip the fillets over and cook for an additional three to four minutes or until the center of the salmon is slightly firm to the touch and flakes slightly.

Step 5: Remove the salmon from the heat and let it rest five to 10 minutes. Gently peel the skin away.


Nutritional information: 266 calories; 15.7 grams of fat; 225 milligrams of sodium; 6 carbohydrates; 23 grams of protein.