Salmon skin is probably my favorite ‘ewww’ food. What I mean by that, is most people (that I know) say ‘ewww’ when they hear or see salmon skin, most commonly served in salmon skin (hand)rolls at your neighborhood sushi bar. As mentioned previously, I’m a texture-first person and the crunch – as well as the salty, salmony goodness – is something that’s guaranteed to make my day, my week. . .even my month, when done to perfection.
Now bacon? That’s unequivocally not an ‘ewww’ food. In fact, it’s the secret/cheat ingredient of chefs nationwide. “Want something to taste good? Just add bacon” is a popular refrain everywhere from your local Denny’s to Iron Chef America. So while I was walking home from Whole Foods with the latest fresh/wild sockeye salmon filet, I was thinking – would it be too much if I combined the two? Is that outrageous? Am I just asking for crunchy trouble?
I knew I couldn’t just combine the two and be done with it – It had to be done with panache, and (a tiny bit of) finesse. I also knew that I wasn’t going to hide from the overabundance of salty crunchiness – I had to embrace it, and though balance is the ‘key’ to most dishes, it wasn’t my intention here. I just wanted to slightly temper the rich crunch and give it a good complement. I think I executed that here, and I’m going to be introducing this appetizer at my next get together.
And I’m going to turn those ewww’s into ahhhhs.
- salmon skin from one large (16 oz.) filet, in four or six pieces
- bacon, four pieces
- EVOO, 2 tbsp
- brown sugar, to taste
- cayenne pepper, to taste
- lemon, juice
- creme fraiche, one dollop
- fennel, to taste
- heat skillet to hot, add 1 tbsp EVOO
- fry bacon as normal, put on paper towel to drain oil
- using bacon fat + one additional tbsp EVOO, reheat skillet on medium-high
- add salmon skin, skin side down – fry until crisp (approx four min depending on thickness)
- flip salmon skin, fry one additional minute
- add bacon to pan
- add brown sugar & cayenne, liberally
- remove salmon skin to paper towel to drain
- crack skin into appetizer-sized pieces, crack bacon into 1/2 that size
- place bacon on top of salmon skin, add a dollop of creme fraiche, squeeze of lemon & fennel
- crispity, crunchity, crackling goodness!