Wild salmon needs very little doing to it. Just show it the pan and serve with something seasonal, as Philippa Davis suggests with this recipe for crispy skinned salmon.
Crispy skinned salmon is an unadulterated delight. If yours has swum in from the supermarket then experiment and dress it up any way you see fit. Perhaps poached salmon with a hard-boiled egg, or one of our top 7 best spring recipes, peppered salmon. But if you have caught the fish yourself, do as little as possible to it. Just a few seasonal additions for a dish you won’t forget.
CRISPY SKINNED SALMON WITH WARM ASPARAGUS AND ANCHOVY DRESSING
■ 4 x 200g (7oz) salmon fillets, skin on
■ Olive oil
■ 1 lemon, quartered, to serve
For the dressing
■ 12 salted anchovy fillets, rinsed of salt and deboned
■ Pinch dried red chilli
■ Half a garlic clove, crushed
■ 2 tsp tiny capers
■ 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
■ 2 tsp Dijon mustard
■ 10g (1⁄2oz) dill, roughly chopped
■ Juice of half a lemon
■ Black pepper
For the salad
■ 500g (171⁄2oz) prepped asparagus
■ 200g (7oz) red radishes, cleaned and cut into wedges
Flabby cooked fish skin is not great to eat (unless you’re the family dog) but crispy skinned salmon is worth keeping for yourself.
Make the dressing by blitzing the anchovy fillets, chilli, garlic, capers, olive oil and mustard in a food processor until smooth. Stir in the chopped dill and lemon juice and add a few twists of black pepper.
Just before you are ready to eat, blanch the asparagus in a large pan of salted water for three minutes then drain and toss through the anchovy dressing and radish.
To cook the salmon, follow this method to get perfectly cooked fish with a crispy skin.
For the best crispy skinned salmon first dry the fish skin with kitchen paper then season with salt.
Heat a large frying pan (overcrowding will cause the skin to steam and the temperature to drop) with a tablespoon of olive oil on a high heat until almost smoking.
Rub a little extra oil all over the fish to ensure every part is covered then lay the fish skin-side down in the pan and turn the heat to medium.
When the fish touches the pan it tends to curl up – press down with a spatula so all the skin touches the pan. This ensures the whole skin becomes crispy.
Cook the fish mostly skin-side down (depending on size it may take three to 10 minutes). It’s important not to move the fish until the skin looks like it is browning and it lifts easily off the pan. Turn the heat down slightly if it’s colouring too fast.
Once the skin is crispy and brown and the fillet almost cooked through, flip the fish over and sear on the flesh side for a further two minutes. Wild salmon is best eaten rare/medium rare so if you see too much white residue seeping from the fish (albumen) you have overcooked it.
Serve your perfectly fried crispy skinned salmon, skin-side up, with the warm asparagus salad and anchovy dressing plus a wedge of lemon.