Sunday, August 26, 2012

salmon and salmon skin chips?

Two words your probably do not want to hear together are "cheap" and "sushi." Yet, one of the few bragging rights of my neighborhood is that cheap sushi is abundant. So much so that a bar on the sushi-restaurant strip has a huge white sign in the window to let obnoxious patrons know that they don't have any. It's so ubiquitous, I guess, that people think they can order a tuna roll with their pint of Bud.
I have a couple of favorite restaurants in the area, and really, I don't want to think about the health implications of eating what is probably sub-par raw fish. The brain parasites have been blissfully dormant so far, and until they stir, I'll be ordering chirashi.

One wonders how far the south Brooklyn sushi purveyors have veered from the traditional Japanese offerings, though. In Tokyo, I'm sure they don't have Moscow, Bagel and Pink Lady rolls on the menus. Salmon skin rolls, too, might be an invention of thrift. They take what would be a waste product, make it tasty, and roll it up and charge you for it. And you're not mad, because it is delicious.
And you can actually enjoy the crisp, fishy flavor at home. Until I realized that, I was just throwing it away...

You start with this:
A baked salmon filet. 
(How? Heat oven to 375, smear a baking dish in a high smoke-point oil, like grapeseed, and definitely NOT olive. Lay salmon skin-side down, salt and pepper the salmon generously, squeeze out lemon juice over it, and cover the whole thing in dill fronds. This keeps it from burning as is cooks through and adds some vaguely Scandinavian flavor, maybe. Drizzle with more oil, and bake for 20-ish minutes. You want it to flake gently, so don't overcook. This skill might take a few years if you are me, but a perfectly prepared cut of salmon is such a beautiful thing.)

Now you have some delicious salmon. You cut into it with your spatula, and it magically separates from the squishy, slimy skin. You could eat the skin... or, you know, not, because it's kinda gross. BUT! You can make it delicious. Really, really, delicious. You can FRY it! Just like they do in those places you'd bring a date to.

What you want is a cast iron pan, some salt, and some leftover salmon skin.
If your pan is seasoned, and the salmon skin has some oil from when it was baked, you're good to go. But remember, not olive oil. It really will make a difference.  Between the fatty nature of salmon, and the fact that you oiled it already, you probably will not need additional oil. You may want some salt, though. So sprinkle the skin with salt on both sides.
Step 1: heat the pan. Get it really hot.
Step 2: add the salmon skin. It doesn't have to be one big piece, but not too tiny either, because it will burn.
Step 3: stay clear of the splatter! There will absolutely be splatter. Maybe invest in a mesh screen to cover the pan with. They're a good investment.
When the salmon skin begins to brown and crisp, it should lift easily out of the pan. Turn it over on the other side and let it get crispy, too.
Step 4: remove and lay on a paper towel.

And there you have it.

Use your chips to top a salad.
Or crush them and sprinkle over rice, like furikake (top with a fried egg. Top everything with a fried egg. I'm serious.)
Maybe you want to make a salmon skin roll? That's certainly ambitious.
Or just eat them like chips.

Is this healthy? I don't know. It's fried, you probably frazzled up all the omega-3's. But that salmon filet wasn't cheap, right? And now you've got a way to eat all of it. You have my permission to feel fancy.


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