Eat the skin on this crispy pan-fried salmon—you’ll love it.
Most of us think eating fish skin is a no-no. Prepared with wild salmon, it’s a yes-yes— salmon “cracklins,” basically, adding a very cool (and just a wee bit trendy) texture and taste to an already delicious piece of fish. In the memorable words of Kirsten, “This skin tastes like bacon!”
Well, not exactly, but it is tasty. Very nice paired with our chipotle crab garnish and a daub of Japanese tobiko (flying fish roe).
This might sound fancy-shmancy, but this gorgeous dish is a breeze to prepare and looks incredible. Perfect for that candlelit dinner, but you can also double-date: this recipe serves four.
Time to Prepare: About 1 hour
2 wild Sockeye, King or coho salmon fillets (about 6 oz each)
½ cup of grapeseed oil (or other high-heat tolerant oil, such as safflower or sunflower)
6 oz of fresh crab meat
2 Tbsp of chipotle mayonnaise (store-bought, or follow our little recipe)
3 Tbsp of sea salt
1 Tbsp of parsley
Japanese pickled ginger, aka tobiko
a small portion of wasabi
2 oz of flying fish roe, aka “tobiko”
You can buy fresh crab meat at your seafood counter, or buy a live crab and do the work yourself. (If you want to cook your own crab —and if you eat crab, you should do it at least once in your life—see below for instructions). For the garnish, fold the crab meat and parsley into the chipotle mayonnaise.*
Score salmon fillet skins with your sharpest, thinnest knife— at a 45° angle to the skin. (Don’t cut all the way to the edges of the fish, but leave about a quarter-inch uncut on both sides.) Make the cuts about a half-inch apart to aid searing. This is all made easier if you ‘pinch’ the edges of each piece somewhat to make the fillet slightly curved.
Lightly salt and pepper both sides of the fillet, and place skin-side down in the grapeseed oil at high heat. Cook until the skin is crispy, about 4 minutes. Then turn the fillet and cook as needed to finish. This should be a couple of minutes depending on the thickness of the fillet.
This can be served many ways with many sides, but for a Japanese touch plate the grilled crispy salmon, with generous dollop of chipotle crab, on a bed of brown rice. Serve with edamame,and garnish with the tobiko roe and wasabi.
*If you can’t find chipotle mayonnaise at your favorite store, take 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (ask your store) and a Tbsp of the adobo sauce itself and hit it with your food processor. Voila, Sean’s family secret revealed.
How to Boil a Crab:
Pop one live, 1-2 lb Dungeness crab into a pot about ⅔ full of boiling water with 3 tablespoons of sea salt. Cook for about 10 minutes per lb of whole crab, about 15-20 minutes for a big one— basically until the
shell turns an orange-ish red.
Pull the crab out and run it under cold water for couple of minutes, then get to work getting the meat out of the shell, by hook or crook. You can use scissors on the smaller legs, but for the claws pull out your nutcracker. (Don’t crush all the way through the claw or you end up with shell pulverized into the meat, which is never good. Put a good crack in the claws then pry the shell away from the meat.)
If you’ve done a 2-lb crab you should have some leftover meat, in which case scarf it when no one is looking or save it for the next day to eat with some garlic butter.