Friday, May 18, 2007

Fishy Bacon

["Bacon" and eggs]

About a year ago, I've read on some website that the salmon skin from Gravlax can be crisped and eaten. Ever since, I've been playing around with this idea every time I made this cured salmon. What does cured salmon skin taste like? Imagine the salty smokiness and crispness of bacon, but with a fish flavor. You are probably either super excited about this or seriously repulsed. It all depends on how much you like fish I suppose.

Unfortunately, the website didn't give details on how exactly one should crisp the skin, so I was left to my own devices. My first attempt tasted good, but was a bit explosive. I tried to fry the skin in a little oil in a non-stick skillet. Kids, don't try this at home. It splatters like mad!

My next attempt was to roast the skin in the oven. I put it on aluminum foil and popped in the oven. No mess, but what a stink! By the time the skin was crispy, the whole house smelled like fish. I don't normally object to a little fish odor, but if even I was bothered by it, it's probably completely unacceptable to most people.

I decided to take the whole project outside to keep the mess and the smell out of the house and tried using a grill. I turned it on high, brushed with a paper towel dunked in oil, and on went the strips of fish skin. The first side crisped in about a minute. I flipped it, crisped the other side, and voila! No mess, and no stink.

It's kind of fun to make bacon that even a cardiologist would approve of :)


rasita said...

this is a good excuse to buy some salmon, fire up the barbie and ignore my hubby arguing with his mum! (oh, and have bacon and eggs which the kids probably won't touch)

Anonymous said...

Just drop by your favorite sushi restaurant, and ask them to prepare you a salmon skin handroll -- and note how they do it. They are truly yummy! Although I've never paid it a lot of attention, I'm pretty sure they leave just a bit of the meat on the skin, and just simply broil it until crispy. This is my favorite sushi!

Alex M said...

Brilliant! Your curiosity is an inspiration.

I believe sushi chefs use mini blow torches to prepare the crispy salmon skins.

Helen said...

Hmm... fish skin and a torch. That sounds like fun :) You got me thinking about a salmon creme brulee. I've had a foie gras creme brulee once that was just awesome, and since salmon goes with sweet stuff... Well, it can either be absolutely cool or completely disastrous :)

BipolarLawyerCook said...

You are far braver than I. I still haven't even tried making Billionaire's Bacon, much less salm-con.

Foie gras creme brulee? Was that at American Seasons, perhaps? And did yours come with the white grape gelee? I still think about that dish from time to time.

Jeff said...

unrelated...but fishy nonetheless:

New Deal Fish Market has soft shell crabs in stock (at least yesterday 5/24/07). Seasonal, insanely fresh, easy to make at home, and a nice delicious treat. You won't be disappointed.

Mobius Strip said...

I once tried to do a "fish bacon" dish with tuna belly. It didn't quite work, as it just came out too flaky. I was trying to do a frisee and "bacon" salad for my pescaterian girlfriend as part of my "Tuna four ways" dinner. It tasted good anyway, even though the texture wasn't quite what I had wanted.

Helen said...

Lawyercook: the foie gras creme brulee was in a small bistro in Montreal called Christophe. To tell you the truth, I didn't like any other dishes in this restaurant, but that one.

Jeffrey: thanks for the soft shell crab tip :)

vilensky, fccg: even if the tuna belly didn't resemble bacon, I am sure it was still fabulous. it's hard to go wrong with tuna belly.


Unknown said...

I've tried this before - crisping fish skin is nasty and hard to achieve. I think my next attempt might be deep-frying it. You're a much more experienced fish cook than either D or me - any thoughts?

Helen said...

Hi Tse Wei,

Deep frying might work, but I avoid this technique like the plague when cooking at home. Grilling actually worked surprisingly well.