Seared Brown Sugar Salmon


I will confess that February has not been my healthiest month.  When it gets this cold I get lazy and crave cheesy fried things..not good.  So I thought it’d be nice to make something for dinner that was a little lighter for Scott and I.  And in my opinion, salmon is the perfect light meal.

Just in the past year or so I started eating salmon.  I always thought it was too fishy.  But I have really grown to love it, and searing it is my favorite way to prepare it.  Cooking fish can be intimidating but I find this method to be foolproof.

2 – 5oz pieces of salmon (mine also has the skin on)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp black pepper
Butter (optional)
Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Combine brown sugar, salt, cumin, cayenne pepper, and black pepper.  This rub would also be delicious on chicken breast!


Place a skillet on the stove top over medium low heat.

Pat dry the salmon with some paper towels.


Pour the rub over the flesh of the salmon and rub the mixture in well.


By this time the skillet should be preheated and hot.  This is very important to ensure a proper sear on the fish.  Drizzle a half tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet and add in a very small pat of butter if desired.  The pan should be hot and the butter should bubble immediately.  If it doesn’t allow the pan to heat for a little longer.


Place the fish in the pan skin side up.  You should hear an immediate sizzle.  Try not to move the fish and cook for 4 minutes.

imageTurn over the fish and cook on the other side for 3 minutes.

imageThe excess brown sugar around the pan will cook and basically burn but don’t worry it won’t affect your fish.

After the 3 minutes place the entire pan in the oven and bake for 3-6 minutes.  (Make sure you have an oven proof pan)  I prefer my salmon entirely cooked through and well done so I cooked mine for an additional 5 minutes.  If your salmon is not as thick or if you prefer it a little under done in the center leave it in the oven for less time.

Be very careful when taking the pan out of the oven.  You WILL NEED an oven mit even if your pan has rubber handles. image

I then moved my salmon to my plate and allowed it to rest for a minute before digging in!  I served my salmon with roasted asparagus and roasted acorn squash.  Enjoy!


Printable recipe

Seared Brown Sugar Salmon


5 thoughts on “Seared Brown Sugar Salmon

  1. I made this salmon last night for my bf and I – it was delicious! I always find fish hard to make – either over or undercooked. This salmon came out perfect! And my boyfriend thinks I am a rock star cook now – so thanks Z!


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