2skin-on salmon fillets(6 to 8 ounces each, 1 to 1-1/2 inches thick, pin bones removed and skin descaled)
1-2tablespoonsneutral, high-smoking point oil, such as canola
kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper
Remove salmon fillets from the refrigerator 15 minutes before cooking and let stand at room temperature (about 70 degrees F).
Heat a 10 to 12 inch frying pan on the stove over medium-high heat until hot. (See the Equipment section in the article above for pan type recommendations.) Add a few droplets of water to the pan. If they jump around and quickly evaporate, the pan is ready. Add enough oil to the pan to lightly coat the bottom. Heat until shimmering, but not smoking.
Just before searing, pat the fillets dry with paper towels on all sides, and season the flesh with kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
Add the fillets to the pan skin side down, from the front of the pan to the back, so the any oil splatter moves away from you. Reduce heat to medium/medium low. The fillets will begin to buckle when they hit the hot pan. Use a fish spatula to gently press down on the flesh until they regain their original thickness, about a minute.
Cook on the skin side until the fillets are 3/4 of the way cooked. Watch the color of the fish; starting at the bottom near the skin, it will change from a richer, translucent coral color to an opaque, pastel shade. It will take about 5-9 minutes for the color to change 3/4 up the sides of the fillets, depending on your stove, the pan, and the thickness of the fish.
Use your fish spatula to flip the fillets and continue cooking on the flesh side to your desired doneness, 1-4 minutes. The USDA recommends cooking salmon to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. For medium-rare fillets, cook the salmon to 120 to 125 degrees F; medium: 125-130 degrees F, medium-well 135 degrees F.*
Remove the fillets from the pan and drain on a paper towel lined plate for 2-3 minutes. Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or your favorite finishing sauce. For crispy-skinned fillets, plate the salmon skin-side up. To remove the skin from the fillets, use your fish spatula to loosen the skin from the bottom of the cooked fillet, lifting the fish from the skin in one piece.
*Consuming raw or undercooked seafood may increase your chance of food borne illnesses.