Crispy Skinned Salmon w/ Baby Bok Choy
how to get that perfectly crispy salmon skin
Seared eighteen-hour salt-cured California King salmon served on a bed of soy-braised baby bok choy.
For you to get a beautifully crisp skin on your salmon, the skin must be as dry as possible when you first start to cook it. Lightly salting the skin draws moisture out of the skin, which you can then blot away. Leaving the fish uncovered in a fridge aids in extracting moisture; additionally, the added time and contact with the salt means the salt is absorbed into the flesh of the salmon and flavors the protein evenly, not overly salted. If you want to add a little sweetness to the fish, use a mix of salt and sugar. All proteins benefit from a bit of dry aging.
First, check to make sure there are no scales left–brush the fish's skin side with the back of your knife. The skin is durable, so don't be afraid.
Next, Score the fish's skin– make three to four long scores per portion of fish. The scoring keeps the skin from shrinking too much when it hits the hot pan.
Now, place your fish flesh side down on a paper towel-lined plate, season the fish's skin side with a generous amount of salt (salt and sugar if you choose), making sure to rub some into the score marks. Place your fish in the fridge uncovered, and let the salt do the work. The salt will begin to extract moisture from the surface of the fish. You will notice the fish will become wet, give it about an hour (preferably overnight), and the salt will draw that moisture back into the fish, leaving you with really flavorful flesh and dry skin. If there's any moisture left or you are rushed for time, just pat the skin dry with a paper towel.
Remove fish from the refrigerator a least 10 minutes before you will start cooking it.
Heat a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat, add oil and add the fish skin side down lying away from you. Press the fish down into the pan for 10 seconds to let the fish relax and cook for 6-7 minutes - occasionally lifting to check on the skin. Once the skin is nice and golden brown, flip the fish and cook for 30 seconds on the flesh side. Remove the fish and place flesh side down on a plate to rest. Finish the fish with flake salt or your preferred seasoning!
Serve your beautiful crispy-skinned fish with whatever vegetables or sides you want! Enjoy!
Pair with Pinot Noir or a dry Pinot Gris.