Saturday, March 18, 2017

Crispy Skin Salmon with Honey Mustard

As a fan of Gordon Ramsey's Hell's Kitchen, I have seen countless chefs screw up crispy skin salmon. I'd never had it but wanted to try making it... but I was a little nervous since I don't have too much experience with cooking fish.
Meet Adam. We look nothing alike.

Luckily, I'm friends with Adam, my fish monger. Adam and I spent an evening cooking various kinds of seafood, a lot of his tips made it into my mussels recipe, and one of the things I asked him to teach me was how to make crispy skin salmon.

Because this recipe is a bit trickier, and is something I don't think many people have tried, I'm including some more in-process shots for reference.


2 salmon filets with skin on, about 3-4 oz each
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp dijon mustard


Flip your salmon filets over so they are skin-side up and cut shallow lines, not much deeper than the skin, diagonally along the length, about 1.5 inches apart. Then liberally salt and pepper both sides.

My knives were a bit dull, so we ended up slicing deeper than intended.
Heat a cast iron skillet or griddle over medium heat and pour on the olive oil, making sure to evenly coat the pan. Fish sticks really easily so you want to make sure you have a good non-stick surface. While the skillet is getting to temp, in a small bowl, mix together the honey and dijon mustard until smooth.

Once the griddle is hot, place the fish, skin-side down, in the pan. Leave it there. 90% of the cooking is going to be done with the skin side down.

Herein lies the tricky bit. How done do you like your salmon? I'm a risky fellow and I like mine to be a little raw in the middle, so I want a hotter pan so the skin gets crispy with a shorter cooking time. My wife, on the other hand, wants hers a little more well done, so for her I need a cooler pan that won't burn the skin over the longer cooking time.

How do you know when to flip? Well you can actually just watch the side of your salmon. The flesh changes color as it cooks, so if you want your filet rare, once it gets about three quarters of the way up, flip it. If you want it well done, wait until the color reaches almost all the way to the top
Once you have flipped it, lightly brush the honey mustard onto the skin. Let the salmon cook skin-side up for about 30 seconds. Remove from the pan and flip, skin-side down, onto a plate before brushing the remaining honey mustard onto the top.

Let the fish rest for about 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy with a side salad for lunch or with a salad and some quinoa for a filling dinner.

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