If you’re making salmon for dinner and the recipe calls for skinless filets, do not—we repeat, do not—toss the salmon skin in the garbage. Not only is that wasting a nutritious part of the fish, it’s also depriving you of an addictive seafood snack that’s currently trending: crispy salmon skins chips. Best of all, you already have everything you need to make them.
What are salmon skin chips?
“They’re crispy, salty, crunchy, and umami—what’s not to like about salmon skin chips?” says David McCasland, a former Alaska salmon fisher turned chef and owner of Deckhand Dave’s in Juneau, Alaska. Contrary to what you might expect, salmon skin chips aren’t fishy at all. When you crisp them up in oil, they retain a mellow salmon flavour with a crunch that rivals any chip. They’re the perfect snack on their own or dipped into hummus, guacamole, or another serving dip; they also can be a crunchy topping on salmon dishes, salads, and vegetable sides.
And while these chips are lightly fried, the salmon skin does offer some health value: “Just like its meat, we get the same amount of nutrition from the skin,” says McCasland. Look for wild salmon (and its skin), in particular; it contains higher levels of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids than most seafood.
How to prepare this healthy snack
To prepare Salmon skin chips, start with salmon skin that is scaled, removed from the fish (it shouldn’t have any extra meat on it), and dry. Once the skin is prepped, cut it into strips that are roughly 1-inch wide and about 2- to 3-inches long. You don’t need to get out a ruler, but remember that smaller pieces will cook faster than larger ones.
Pro tip: Most importantly, note that moisture is the enemy of crispness; make sure the salmon skin is extremely dry to get that ultra-crispy skin, says McCasland. Use paper towels to pat and blot away any extra moisture before getting started.
Outsource salmon skin removal
Not sure how to descale or remove the skin from the fish? Don’t! The easiest route is to ask the seafood counter to take care of it for you—most fishmongers will be happy to.
Often, there will still be a few pesky scales left intact on the skin. Don’t worry about those, McCasland says. It’s OK to have a few leftovers, especially if you are using wild Alaskan varieties of salmon that have smaller scales. They crisp right up with the skin when you fry them.
How to fry salmon skin chips
Now, it’s time to fry up your salmon skins:
Preheat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and add a thin layer of oil. Arrange the salmon skin strips in the preheated skillet, working in batches as necessary, about ⅛-inch apart.
Cook until the edges of the skin start to turn golden (similar to pancakes), around 2 minutes depending on the size of your strips. Then use a thin metal spatula to flip each piece.
When the skins are crisp and light golden on both sides, remove them from the skillet to a paper towel-lined plate.
Sprinkle the salmon skin chips with salt and any desired seasoning when they are hot out of the skillet, then let them cool and continue to crisp up before eating.
Pro tip: Salmon skin will easily release from the skillet when it is ready to be flipped. If you try to work the spatula under the skin and it’s stuck, give it another moment to finish crisping before trying again.
How to season the chips
Add some additional flavour to your salmon skin chips by seasoning them. A pinch or two of salt is a must, and pepper is essential, too. Beyond that, there are so many ways to customize and enjoy these crisps: Opt for a simple sprinkle of sweet or smoky paprika or use a mix like Cajun spice, Old Bay, or curry.
This story first appeared on www.marthastewart.com.
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