Friday, April 1, 2011

Crispy Salmon with Garlic and Shallot


Anyone who knows me or has read my blog regularly knows I love eating and cooking with fish, but I am an extremely picky fish person. The only time I will eat fish that I’m not preparing is when I am in a sushi restaurant I trust. No matter how classy the restaurant, fish dishes come out too dry, under or over seasoned and/or too fishy. Oh, and don’t even get me started on fried fish dishes.

One of the top temperamental fishes I have struggled with is salmon. When it is fresh, high quality and cooked just right it can be amazing. Cooked a little too long, cooked improperly, seasoned wrong, it is completely inedible. I have two cooked salmon dishes up my sleeve that are absolutely taste bud blowing, moist, crisp and easy to prepare. The one I am going to share with you today is my super crispy with skin salmon prepared with fresh garlic and shallot.


Ingredients
1 pound fresh salmon with skin
1 large clove garlic
1 large shallot
Dash salt
Dash pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Directions
Take your salmon fillets and dry them very well on the outside with a heavy duty paper towel. Really moist meats will not brown properly. Lay your salmon on a cutting board skin side up. With your hand, hold the salmon in a roll and make half inch slices down the skin of the salmon about every half inch. This is called scoring. It not only helps the fish to cook evenly in the pan without being covered, it also helps it to not bow up and makes the skin even crispier between the scores.



In a large nonstick skillet, heat your oil on medium for 5-7 minutes, or until the pan actually starts to smoke. Finely dice your garlic and shallot. On the scored side of the salmon, rub it down with one tablespoon of the oil then add a dash of salt and a dash of pepper. Sprinkle a little extra salt and pepper into the scores and then stuff the scores with half of your garlic and shallots. Make sure all of your garlic and shallot are tucked away into the cuts so they don’t burn when searing your fish.


When your oil is smoking, add your salmon skin side down. DO NOT TOUCH IT! I can’t say this enough. People have a few habits that kill recipes. One is being afraid to let your oil get thin, super-hot and smoke and the other is thinking cooking means constantly poking, flipping and messing with the ingredients. The best recipes are simple and practically make themselves. If you are afraid of a hot pan and if you are a poker, break the habit with this dish.


Season the other side of your fish with another dash of salt, pepper and the rest of your garlic and shallot mixture. When the color of your salmon changes to a cooked color about two thirds of the way up the fish, flip it over. This should take around 4-5 minutes. When it looks fully cooked from the side view, toss on a plate and serve. This should take only 2-3 minutes on the second side.

Serving Suggestions
Start by serving with one of the seven wedge salads I mentioned a few days ago or with my rendition of a mozzarella caprice. You can find all of these recipes in my recipe label. For a side, something bright and green is absolutely stunning. I would suggest a green bean salad with bacon and shallots, steamed green beans with blanched almond slivers, steamed asparagus bundles wrapped in bacon, roasted brussel sprouts with hazelnut brown butter or something as simple as steamed sugar snap peas.

This recipe will serve 2-4 people.