Sophisticated Savories

Sophisticated Savories

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Fish Skin

Fish skin...

crispy : delicious :: soggy : I think I'll pass

And you thought you'd get away from analogies after passing the SATs...

When I am serving fish, I generally will do a quick sauté on the stove top, in olive oil/nut oil/ghee with lemon juice and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper/dried herbs. High heat will do the trick. However, when cooking fish with the skin still on... a entirely different technique is used all together.

Salmon... shall we?

First of all. Verify that all scales have been removed by gently massaging the skin with your fingers. Brush away any left-over translucent scales and dry the fish with a paper towel. Season on both sides... lemon juice, smoked sea salt and cayenne pepper are a wonderful combination with salmon. From time to time, individuals think that the lemon will be overpowering when consuming the fish; however, the intention is to help develop the fish flavors as it cooks. A lemon taste will not develop, unless drizzled with lemon after cooking (however, it truly is an essential component to the initial searing process... it also keeps it from drying out).

In a medium saute pan, cascade oil into the bottom of the pan... try almond/walnut/avocado oil as a means of "mixing it up" and venturing out on culinary expeditions.

I know... cooking can only be so exciting... have to get those adventurous palate experiences somehow!

How much oil? Enough to have a thin coat covering the entire bottom of the pan. You can always add more if needed; however, if you begin with too much oil, then your fish will actually boil itself, without retaining a crispy sear or skin. Heat the oil to a medium heat. NOTE: medium heat; generally it is a HOT heat - however, because we are cooking the skin, the heat element is different.

Place the skin side down, the place a piece of parchment paper on TOP of the uncooked side and another sauté pan atop the parchment paper. Why. Reason behind the weight is to gently press the entire skin down as it is cooking. Otherwise, the edges of the fish will curl up and will not transform into a crispy crust. Allow the pan to rest atop the fish for about 2 minutes. At this point, you may remove the pan, as the fish skin has already learned, via "muscle memory," to maintain its flat shape. Watch the fish at this point. You can see the fish slowly transform from opaque to a nice light pink (or "salmon-color," if you will).

You enjoy that answer? "You'll know the salmon is cooked properly when it is a nice "salmon color."


Granted, every single piece of fish is different - size, shape, variety, etc. Some will cook faster than others... some slower. After about 5 minutes, the fish should be well on it's way to almost full-cooked. Flip the fillet carefully... revealing a golden, crispy skin.

Nicely done. #slaphands

Allow to cook for an additional 2 minutes... gaining a nice sear on the bottom-side. Transfer immediately to your plate and bon appetit.

A winning combination? Orange bell pepper puree, broccolini and seared sunchokes.

Yep. That about does it. Now... be creative and make it pretty...

“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.” - C.S. Lewis

Love y'all dearly!! 

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