Skinny Grill Salmon that Tastes Like Butter

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How to cook salmon perfectly by Spinach Tiger

This title is misleading. All salmon, if made properly should taste like butter, only better. The naturally occurring omega 3’s in salmon make it a “good fat” fatty fish, that needs little fuss. When salmon is overcooked, and it often is, it loses it’s flavor and appeal.

Did you know that if you see that white stuff coming out of the salmon as it cooks, it means you are in serious danger of overcooking your fish?. That white stuff is a protein, albumin. As the fish cooks, it coagulates and it’s visible appearance is the sign the fish is done.

We like to get it off the grill BEFORE it comes out, because fish continues to cook and the perfect salmon is not cooked a second longer than it needs to. You can see the texture in the center of the fish in the picture. The salmon is cooked through, but just not a minute more than it needs to be, so it is very tender, buttery and not anything at all like the too often overcooked ruined fish we used to make.

On ordinary days when I’ve just worked out for 60-90 minutes, a girl’s gotta eat and it’s not going to be a drive through. For about the same price as a super-sized meal, I can light the grill, and eat super healthy. Who wants to put all that effort into working out to ruin it?

Did you know that after a good workout, your metabolism is higher and your body wants protein? But good fat is a girl’s best friend, not just for the omega 3 health benefits, but the satisfaction the brain feels and tells you that you are no longer hungry. Every time you eat, you feed your brain. That’s a lot to think about. I am no scientist, but I understand in simple terms that your brain gets signals to stop or continue eating.

Protein, healthy fat and good carbohydrate combinations gives your brain a stop sign, while sugar and empty calorie foods confuse the brain and keep sending out hunger signals, which is why you could eat a whole cake and still be hungry.

It’ s a little harder to eat 1000 calories of fresh wild fish and a purple sweet potato. This kind of  lunch is so good that your body immediately knows it was treated right, and your brain gives you a signal that you’re satisfied. Your senses are happy too, because this food is so much more appetizing and rewarding.

Wild or farmed?  I’m a wild girl, but Whole Foods stocks a Norwegian farmed salmon that is a good option. Look for their stamp that says “responsibly farmed.” Not all farmed fish is created equal, and because I know the commitment from Whole Foods regarding their seafood, I trust what they sell. They sell it frozen in six packs, each individually wrapped. There are no bones. The taste is mild.

I have suggested a marinade. That’s not as important as cooking method, and you could simply use salt and pepper, if that is your preference.

Tell me, what is your favorite super food that you tend to eat a lot of?

Cook Salmon Perfectly by Spinach Tiger

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4.50 from 2 votes

Skinny Grill Salmon that Tastes Like Butter

How to Grill Salmon. How to Pan fry Salmon
Prep Time35 minutes
Cook Time8 minutes
Total Time43 minutes
Course: Entree
Cuisine: American
Servings: 1
Author: Angela Roberts


  • wild or responsibly farmed salmon with skin about 1 inch thick
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup see notes
  • 1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
  • splash chili oil or sriracha
  • sea salt freshly ground pepper


  • Heat grill to very high (over 400 degrees)
  • Make sure grill is very clean, and sprayed down with cooking spray, or brushed with oil.
  • Marinate salmon for 30 minutes with a marinade of maple syrup, soy sauce, sriracha. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Place salmon on hot grill top side down for 2-3 minutes. Turn over and turn grill down to medium heat. Continue to grill for 4-5 minutes. If the white albumin starts coming out, take off grill immediately. You should have a very crispy skin underneath.
  • This is the one time I like to use a good non-stick pan.
  • Heat frying pan on medium heat. Add a tiny bit of oil (salmon is fatty, doesn't need much). Once pan is hot, add salmon skin side down, cook just until the salmon loosen from the pan, 2-4 minutes. Turn over for another 2-4 minutes. Remove from pan immediately.


You do not need to add anything to good salmon except salt and pepper. These flavorings are options.

Please follow me on instagram. If you make this recipe,  please tag me #spinachtiger.

If you love this recipe, please give it five stars. It means a lot. xoxo


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  1. 4 stars
    Mmm. You know what you’re talking about. It was only a few months ago that I finally discover my favorite technique for perfect salmon. It’s similar to yours:

    I heat up a cast iron frying pan on the burner and also put the oven on broil. When the cast iron is really hot I put the salmon in–skin down–then let it cook ~2-3 mins. I flip it, let it cook for a minute or two on the other side, then throw it in the oven under the broiler. The skin side will be up, so the broiler just gives it a final crisping. Turns out amazing. It is time-sensitive, though (one minute can make a huge difference!), so I can only say I’ve been successful 80% of the time. It’s beautiful: a moist, fatty center with a delicious crispy skin. Mmm. I hope one day this delicate treatment of salmon will become the norm. I find I’m getting pickier all the time with it.

  2. I like to cook my salmon fillet en papillote, quick, easy (no marinating involve) and healthy.. not much clean up after either.

  3. Great!! And so right about it being a completely other (yucky) animal overcooked! I work with singers and I always recommend this as a great meal before an important gig or recording session. Always looking for a good salmon recipe that’s fast – like this one! Thanks

  4. Salmon is one of my favorite things! I like to do a quick brine before cooking it, and that also prevents the white stuff from appearing. Lately, one of my favorite super foods is beets. Love the thought of feeding our brains. Thinking about that makes me want to always feed it well!

  5. Good info! Salmon is actually my favorite fish. I’ve cooked it in so many ways. Most recently served it with spaghetti & spinach, which is my other favorite super food. If that wasn’t enough, my most eaten super food & strawberries. I make strawberry smoothies each morning just to get a bit more calcium in my diet.

  6. I also love salmon but am equally partial to halibut. Growing up it was not the case since my dad does adore fish but in the overcooked state.

  7. Me likes poachin and grilling. I have a new found love for salmon after preparing it en croute. I often go to China Town to buy my salmon. Will try going to Whole foods for a piece this week.

    I learned a few things today…Gracias!

  8. This looks amazing, and I LOVE salmon. Living in BC, near the coast, means it is so much more affordable than when we lived elsewhere! Thanks for the tip about the white albumin – I tend to see that on the occasion I’ve cooked defrosted frozen salmon, and the texture is just never the same as from fresh fish!

  9. I am with you, I always use a sugar with my salmon… basil jelly or maple syrup.. I think it makes magic. Most people over-cook it and that’s where the problem comes. Good to get the shout out about how it’s raised… bad farmed fish is full of pesticides and antibiotics (which they need because the water that they are raised in is like a toilet) … not such a good idea for your health or the environment. Happy New Year!

  10. I love a good salmon too and I can still remember the days when I seriously over cooked my poor salmon too. You’re also right in saying that a meal such as this is so much more satisfying then any junk food could ever be. That always leaves me feeling terrible while good food energizes me! This looks delicious!

  11. Looks beautiful, Angela. I love salmon – it is totally one of my favourite foods. But I agree with you, it must be cooked just right – there are few things more disgusting than an overcooked piece of salmon. Yours looks perfect.
    Sue xo

  12. I eat salmon often and I love it because it is fatty (buttery) tasting and very satisfying. I generally sear it in a cast iron pan and then finish in the oven for a few minutes. Sometimes, I poach it. That’s super healthy and equally good.

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