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Foolproof Air Fryer Salmon

This air fryer salmon is a culinary masterpiece that promises a perfect balance of flakiness and juiciness in every bite.

Juicy air fryer salmon with a citrus salsa

Salmon is a versatile and nutritious fish that has become a favourite among health-conscious individuals and food enthusiasts alike. With air fryers, preparing salmon has become even more convenient and efficient.

Just a heads up, this post contains Amazon affiliate links. Don’t worry, these are products I personally love and recommend. If you make a purchase through these links, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Happy cooking and thanks for supporting Culinary Cartel!

Why Choose the Air Fryer for Salmon?

Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, known for their heart-healthy properties. Cooking salmon in an air fryer minimises the need for excessive oil, making it a healthier option than traditional frying methods.

The air fryer’s rapid hot air circulation ensures your salmon cooks quickly and evenly. This time-saving feature is especially beneficial for those with busy lifestyles who still crave a home-cooked, nutritious meal.

The Salmon Song

Freshness matters: Choosing the right salmon is crucial for a foolproof dish. Opt for fresh, high-quality salmon fillets, preferably wild-caught, to ensure a delicate flavour and texture.

Skin-on or skinless: Decide whether you prefer salmon with or without the skin. Cooking with the skin on can add extra flavour and help retain moisture, while skinless fillets provide a more straightforward eating experience. I’ve used skinless salmon in this recipe.

Thawing: If using frozen salmon, ensure it is completely thawed before cooking. Pat the fillets dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture, allowing for better crisping during the air frying process.

Seasoning: Enhance the natural flavours of the salmon by seasoning it citrus zest, garlic, and dill.

Foolproof Air Frying Techniques

To achieve optimal results, preheat your air fryer for a few minutes before cooking. This ensures that the salmon starts cooking immediately, promoting a crispy exterior while maintaining a juicy interior.

Set your air fryer to 100°C. Cooking times may vary based on the thickness of the fillets and how thoroughly you want it cooked. Pull out your trusty Thermapen to make sure it’s done just how you like it: just-cooked sushi-like, or cooked through into large, moist flakes.

Confit Cooking

Confit is a French cooking technique that involves slow-cooking food, typically meats, in fat at low temperatures. The word “confit” comes from the French verb “confire,” which means “to preserve.” This method was historically used as a means of preserving meats before the advent of refrigeration.

Here’s a general overview of the confit cooking process:

  • Meat preparation: Confit is most commonly associated with duck or goose, but it can also be applied to other meats such as fish. The meat is seasoned with salt, herbs, and sometimes garlic to enhance flavour.
  • Cooking process: The meat is then slow-cooked in its own fat or another type of fat, for example, olive oil, at a low temperature, usually around 100°C. The slow cooking process allows the meat to become tender and infused with the flavours of the seasonings.

Confit results in meat that is flavourful and tender and has a unique texture and richness due to the slow-cooking process.

What is a Thermapen?

My favourite Thermapen 3 Classic Food Thermometer is a cutting-edge kitchen tool designed for precision and efficiency in temperature measurement.

It is renowned for its speed and accuracy, and can provide temperature readings in just three seconds! Its classic and ergonomic design features a foldable probe that ensures convenient storage and activates the device when unfolded, ensuring quick and seamless temperature checks.

The large, easy-to-read digital display offers clear readings, and the thermometer boasts an impressive temperature range suitable for various culinary applications, from grilling and roasting to baking and sous vide cooking.

Foolproof air fryer salmon with Thermapen

Metal vs Ceramic Roasting Dishes

Metal and ceramic roasting dishes are two popular options for cooking and roasting various dishes, each with its own set of advantages and considerations.

 

Metal roasting dishes

  • Metals such as stainless steel and aluminum have excellent heat conductivity. They heat up quickly and distribute heat evenly, providing consistent cooking throughout the dish.
  • Metal dishes are usually more versatile, suitable for use on stovetops and induction cooktops in addition to ovens. They are also often dishwasher-safe, making cleanup easier.
  • Metal pans often have a sleek, modern appearance and may come in various finishes. However, they may not be as aesthetically pleasing for serving directly on the table.
  • Metals cool down relatively quickly once removed from the oven. While this can be an advantage for controlling the cooking process, it may not keep food warm for an extended period.
  • Metal cookware are generally more durable and resistant to chipping or cracking. Stainless steel, for example, is known for its durability and resistance to corrosion.


Ceramic roasting dishes

  • Ceramic tends to have lower heat conductivity compared to metal. While ceramic retains heat well, it may take longer to heat up, and there might be variations in temperature within the dish.
  • Ceramic cookware are primarily designed for oven use. They are not suitable for stovetop cooking, and some ceramic dishes may have specific care instructions to avoid thermal shock.
  • Ceramic dishes are also known for their attractive, rustic, or elegant designs. They are often used for both cooking and serving, enhancing the presentation of the dish.
  • Ceramic has better heat retention, helping to keep food warm for a longer time after it’s taken out of the oven.
  • Ceramic dishes can be more prone to chipping or cracking if dropped or exposed to sudden temperature changes.

Are You a Fan of this Foolproof Air Fryer Salmon?

Did you try out this recipe? Let us know! Go ahead and leave a comment and a rating and remember to tag your photo with #theculinarycartel on Instagram – we’d love to see it!

If you’re looking for more sassy salmon recipes, have a look at:

Citrus Gin and Tonic Salmon

Miso Glaze Spiced Thai Coconut Salmon

Quick Glazed Salmon Supper With A Cucumber Salad

Foolproof air fryer salmon

Shop the Equipment​

These are Amazon affiliate links of the products I personally love and recommend. If you make a purchase through these links, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Instant Digital Large Air Fryer Oven with XXL Capacity

ETI SuperFast Thermapen 3

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this recipe gluten-free?

Yes! Anyone with gluten sensitivity can enjoy this foolproof air fryer salmon.   as

What citrus other than orange can I use?

Lemons and limes might leave your dish too sour and bitter, so try juicy, sweet citrus like clementines, satsumas, pomelo, blood orange, and yellow grapefruit. 

Why cook chicken to a specific temperature?

Ensuring the safety of supermarket salmon is crucial for maintaining good health.

Here are several factors and guidelines to consider when buying and consuming supermarket salmon:

  • Check the label for information on the source of the salmon. Wild-caught salmon is often considered a healthier and more sustainable option than farm-raised salmon. Look for labels indicating sustainable practices, such as certifications from organisations like the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

  • Fresh salmon should have vibrant, consistent colour. Depending on the species, wild-caught salmon can range from pink to red, while farm-raised salmon may be more orange due to their diet. The flesh should be firm, and the fillets should have a moist appearance. Avoid salmon with signs of discoloration, such as browning or grayish patches.

  • Fresh salmon should have a clean, ocean-like smell. If the fish has a strong, unpleasant odour, it may be an indication that it is not fresh and should be avoided.

  • Check the packaging for any signs of damage or leaks. Damaged packaging can increase the risk of contamination, so choose intact and well-sealed packages.

  • If purchasing frozen salmon, check for a label indicating that the salmon has been previously frozen. This is important for ensuring that the fish has undergone proper freezing to kill potential parasites.

  • Check the sell-by or use-by date on the packaging. Choose salmon that is within its recommended freshness period. If buying from a fish counter, ask the staff about the freshness date.

Paying attention to these factors and guidelines can increase your likelihood of purchasing safe and high-quality salmon from the supermarket..   as

Can I replace the salmon with other types of fish?

You can substitute with tuna, and cook until flaky! 

What can I serve with this air fryer salmon?

Try my grilled asparagus with tomato salad and tahini saucecruncy chickpea and kale salad, or crispy chilli sizzle ppotatoes with gooey garlic aioli.

Juicy air fryer salmon with a citrus salsa
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Juicy air fryer salmon with a citrus salsa

Foolproof Air Fryer Salmon


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  • Author: Jess Bunn
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 portions

Description

This air fryer salmon is a culinary masterpiece that promises a perfect balance of flakiness and juiciness in every bite.


Ingredients

Units
  • 600g skinless salmon fillet
  • 1 orange/blood orange/grapefruit (use whichever you can easily find)
  • 2 clementines
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced thinly
  • A few sprigs of fresh dill (optional)
  • Roughly 500ml olive oil – enough for your dish to cover the salmon
  • Handful (7g) parsley
  • More olive oil, salt, and pepper as needed

Instructions

Before we get started, it’s worth noting that the choice of roasting dish material affects the heating time. A metal roasting dish heats the oil faster compared to a ceramic one, which takes a bit longer to warm up. If using a metal roaster, start checking the salmon core temperature at 20 minutes, and with a ceramic roaster, give it 25 minutes.

  1. Begin by generously salting the salmon and letting it sit for 5 minutes. Use a peeler to remove the zest from the lemon and orange, setting the zest aside. Place the salmon in a snug roasting dish, then scatter over the zest, sliced garlic, and fresh dill. Pour enough oil to cover the salmon.
  2. Air fry at 100°C (212°F) for 20-28 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the salmon reads:
  3. 46-50°C (115-122°F) for just-cooked salmon with a slightly sushi-like middle.
  4. 58-60°C (136-140°F) for fully cooked yet moist and flaky salmon.
    Alternatively, cook your salmon in the oven at 90C, until cooked to the temperatures above.
  5. If purchasing salmon from a supermarket, cook it through from 58-60°C (136-140°F), as the temperature will rise to 63°C (145°F) after resting, the recommended safe temperature for farmed salmon. “Sushi-grade” salmon can be cooked at lower temps, reaching a perfect 63°C on resting. Don’t have a thermometer? Check for doneness by gently pressing the center of the fillet; if it flakes easily into moist, firm chunks, it’s done.
  6. While the salmon is confiting, prepare the citrus dressing. Cut the top and bottom off the orange to expose the segments. Stand the fruit on a cut end and carefully remove the peel and pith, aiming to expose the flesh with minimal loss. Slice the peeled orange into half-centimeter thick half-moons. Repeat this process with one clementine, placing the fruit in a bowl.
  7. On a clean board, finely dice half a red onion, adding it to the bowl with the fruit. Squeeze in the juice of the remaining clementine. Finely chop the parsley and drizzle in enough olive oil to loosen the citrus dressing (about 1-2 tbsp). Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Cut the previously zested lemon into wedges for optional squeezing over the salmon. Once the salmon has rested, spoon over the citrus dressing and serve.
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 30 min
  • Category: Fish and seafood
  • Method: Air fryer
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