Cooking salmon in a cold pan and bringing it up to heat allows fat from the skin to slowly render. This is a foolproof way to get crispy skin. The method works well in a cast iron or nonstick pan but avoid using stainless steel.

Word to the wise: If you’re not in the mood to make rice from scratch, no worries. Just pick up or order in some steamed rice from a restaurant nearby. — Andy Baraghani

Start to finish: 30 minutes

Serves: 4

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  • 5 medium Persian cucumbers or 1 large English cucumber, very thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 3–4 tbsp. (45–60 mL) unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. (7.5 mL) honey
  • 2 tbsp. (30 mL) neutral oil, like avocado
  • 4 skin-on salmon fillets, 4–6 oz. (113–170 grams) each
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 6 cups (about 800 grams) steamed short-grain white or brown rice, for serving
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. Place cucumbers in a medium bowl and sprinkle with 1 tsp. (6 grams) kosher salt. Toss cucumbers. Then, using your hands, scrunch up and break down cucumbers to extract as much water as possible. Drain cucumbers and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk vinegar and honey. Pour vinegar mixture over cucumbers and toss. Chill cucumbers.
  3. Pour oil into a large cast iron skillet. Season salmon with salt and place skin-side down in the skillet.
  4. Heat skillet to medium and use a spatula to press down gently on fish. Cook until skin is golden brown and crisp and flesh is opaque on the sides but still translucent on top. It should take approximately 6 to 8 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fish.
  5. Carefully flip each filet and turn off heat. Use remaining heat to cook other side of salmon for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  6. Stir sliced scallions into cooked rice and season with salt and lots of pepper. Divide rice among bowls, top with salmon, and serve with chilled cucumbers on top or on the side.