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Notable Nosh: Grilled Salmon Skin

Grilled Salmon Skin

Whenever I grill Salmon or Arctic Char fillets with the skin still attached, I always grill it meat side down for a minute or two just to caramelize the surface, then I finish skin side down for the remainder of the cooking time. The result is a wonderful crisp skin that makes for a lovely tidbit for after the flesh has been eaten. Naturally, you are not limited to just cooking it this way, and the skin can be always be done separately if you are serving skinless fillets. Some like to deep-fry them with a little salt but others (the Japanese in particular) like the smoky depth you get from the grill.

I have featured the dish you see pictured above because it was not only well cooked, but presented very nicely too. Here, the salmon skin has been cut in to neat, uniform rectangles and is obviously not ‘leftover’ skin from a small fillet but rather belly skin intentionally reserved for this purpose. This is a nice choice because of the layer of fat that is absent elsewhere on the fish. The chef, in this case, served the finished pieces over extra thin cucumber matchsticks, and then drizzled everything with either oyster sauce or eel sauce (they taste quite a bit a like). The latter was nice with the cucumber and added just a little extra sweetness to the skin, but it was probably a bit superfluous other than for the nice visual effect…

Anyway, the grill job in this instance was really well done. Often, salmon skin is served very crisp (and this is particularly so with thin pieces without much fat). With the additional smokiness that comes from grilling, I find that the more crisply done pieces have lovely highlights reminiscent of bacon, with the mouth-feel even sometimes being quite similar. Here, though, the slightly fatty pieces have been grilled just to the point where they are crispy on the outer surface but with a lovely unctuousness on the other side. Really, it’s like enjoying uncured pork belly with the added bonus of a wonderful hint of the sea…

One Comment Post a comment
  1. That sounds amazing. I love grilled salmon skin anyway — but the way you describe, with the sparingly-cooked belly pieces, sounds perfect.

    August 15, 2016

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