Sophisticated Savories

Sophisticated Savories

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Crispy Salmon Skin

Poisson. Fish. Fisch. Pesce.

Fish is one of the most difficult items to cook simply because it can transform from a perfectly-seared fillet into an overcooked, chewy mouth of seafood in a matter of seconds. 

Point blank, cooking can be intimidating. Learning basic cooking techniques will instill a culinary-confidence within your soul that will inspire your creative-juices to flow. Practice makes perfect.

Crispy Salmon Skin.

Bring the fillet of salmon to room temperature, ten minutes before cooking. Why? If you place a cold piece of fish into a saute pan, you risk drying out the exterior of the seafood before given the change to cook through. Be sure to dry the skin of the salmon thoroughly.

Heat a large, non-stick saute pan to a medium heat. Add almond or walnut oil, then increase to a medium-high heat. Season both sides of the salmon with salt and pepper (I used smoked sea salt and cayenne pepper). Place the salmon, skin-side down, on the pan. Because the salmon will be served with the skin-intact, it is essential that the skin cooks and becomes crispy. If the heat is too high, then the skin will burn. Once you place the skin-side down, do not touch the fillet. Simply allow the fish to cook itself. As the fish cooks, you will notice that the skin will begin to turn from a light-pink until a more-vibrant orange color. Cook the salmon about 70% on the skin, then carefully flip and "kiss" the opposing-side (meaning, only about 1 minute on this second side). After the skin-side of the salmon is exposed, you may even turn the heat off completely and allow the carry-over heat to finish cooking the salmon fillet. Drizzle with a hint of lemon juice in order to enhance the fillet, then serve with the crispy-skin facing up.

Compliments to the dish? Keeping it simple, I cooked Israeli-couscous in chicken stock, then added sauteed carrots and peas. Finished with pea shoots a touch of beet coulis. Why beet coulis? One, the sweetness of the beet coulis is a brilliant addition to the smokey crunch of the salmon skin. Two, the color is gorgeous. Textures, flavors, colors, techniques... there is so much more to cooking that just cooking... it is all in the details.

"I begin with an idea and then it becomes something else." - Pablo Picasso


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