Culinary Arts

Sauté: Salmon With Spinach

Thomas Keller

Lesson time 19:09 min

Chef Keller teaches you how to make a dish that he eats several times a week: sautéed salmon with spinach. He demonstrates how to properly cut and fillet a King salmon and explains his technique for cooking salmon mostly on one side.

Thomas Keller
Teaches Cooking Techniques III: Seafood, Sous Vide, and Desserts
Chef Thomas Keller’s third MasterClass is devoted to preparing seafood, sous vide cooking, and making classic desserts.
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THOMAS KELLER: I get to cook you something that I eat maybe two or three days a week, seriously, a beautiful piece of salmon. I cook it unilaterally, which is only on the skin side. We want to get that skin really crispy. Then I flip it over and kiss it on the other side. I like my salmon medium rare to medium or, as they would say in France, . I'll always eat my salmon with sauteed spinach-- of course, Popeye's favorite vegetable. Packed full of nutrients, both of these ingredients. What you may see at the grocery store is a fillet of salmon. This is probably the most common way that you'll see salmon presented. You can see the beautiful fat that is in the belly on the bottom, and certainly that's one of my favorite pieces as well. But it's a little more difficult to cook, and certainly the skin in that is a little different than the skin on the top. So it's a little thicker for that protection. The top-- the top piece of skin is a little thinner. So you can see if we touch the flesh, it responds by bouncing back quickly, and that's a true sign of freshness in any fish. I'm going to go ahead and trim this up a little bit just to make a-- this is where the dorsal fin was. But you can see here, you can see all that beautiful fat that's just layered in there, all that full of omega 3. We have a little bit of the vertebrae here. I'm just going to trim that out. And of course we have our pin bones that run down. So we want to make sure that we're removing those pin bones. And more likely than not the fish that you buy in the grocery store will have those pin bones already removed. This is a sustainably raised Ora King salmon from New Zealand, and they raise them as close as they can to how they grow in the wild. OK, eliminate all of our pin bones. Always keeping a clean, dry surface. I'm going to remove the sirloin that we spoke about now. You can see where the vertebrae was. We're just going to take our knife and just go right down that line. In order for us to really get that skin crispy, we want to-- we want to remove as much moisture as we can from the skin. So we like to do something we call squeegeeing the skin. You notice I put it on a moist kitchen towel here to keep it from moving around. So if I take my knife down, you can see the water. You can see the water start to come off of that skin. You want to get all of that water off of there. And so just back up. And this will also assure that there's no more scales on the fish, and then back down. All the moisture that's accumulating along my knife blade, you can see that, removing more of the moisture out of the skin, which allows the skin to get much crispier when we cook it. So in our kitchen when we say squeegee that, that's what we're doing. Again, back down. Sometimes my knife-- now I'll start to do my knife at a little sharper angle to dig in there, a little more pressure. And you can see still moisture coming off of the fish. This will also, when ...

Elevate your cooking

In his third MasterClass, Chef Thomas Keller focuses on preparing fresh seafood like lobster and salmon, making classic desserts such as apple pie and lemon tart, and showing how sous vide cooking can be done at home to enhance flavor and texture. Whether you’re a beginning or advanced cook, you’ll learn the techniques and principles that will give you the understanding and skills to get the most delicious results.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Technique - perfection - new cooking method - EXCELLENT - THANK YOU SO MUCH - BRING ME MORE AND MORE AND MORE

Once again chef Keller gives excellent instructions and expert tips that are always coming in handy... thanks chef!

Chef Keller's techniques enhance the quality of my life by helping me devote all my food preparations towards enhancing and refining flavours.

Keller is the best. A wonderful teacher and chef. Having read his books it was a great opportunity to see him actually cook some of the dishes I had tried from his book and see how he handled it. He always brings something new to each dish and that's a wonderfully inspiring thing to see as well. I hope you continue to have him back at Masterclass to do more of these lessons!



I did a simple version but cooked over charcoal. Need to work on the presentation but flavor was,awesome. Thanks Cheff

Heather R.

Question: there is the basic (annoying) promo music running throughout the lesson. Can you fix that please? Thanks.

A fellow student

Made this tonight. Key to avoid the fish sticking is a very hot pan to start. Chow chow is very easy to make as well, good luck 👍

Peter M.

Brand new technique for me: Squeegeeing the skin. Makes perfect sense. Thanks for upping my game! To learn from a Master is priceless.

Rick B.

OK, you can't win them all. This was not successful for me. I had a really nice piece of fish, all dark skin, did the squeegeeing technique but all my nice crispy skin immediately separated from the fish and stuck to the pan. I used an All Clad copper core pan and I think next time I am going to use a more non-stick Scan Pan.

A fellow student

Gave this one a shot, but didn’t have enough time to prepare the chow chow. Still turned out great!

Nina E.

Learned that the small details in cooking, is what makes a dish exceptional.

A fellow student

I made this dish minus the pickles. I added brown rice instead. It was absolutely delicious!!

Gisele K.

Very much b But at the end he adds this vegetable pickles that give this whole very simple dish the quick and you don’t get the secret of that! Disappointing

Sandro C.

Looks absolutely amazing! Can’t wait to try this. I’ve been making Sauté Salmon for a few years now, but I learned a couple of new tricks. Thank you Chef.