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Salmon: traditionally served with skin?


phan1
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Hi, I don't order Salmon in restaurants, but I'm making Salmon for someone. Could you tell me whether or not a grilled piece of salmon fillet is typically served with or without skin in a restaurant? And if it's served with the skin on, do people typically eat the skin? I know salmon skin isn't very edible unless browned into a crisp, but that also leads to overcooked salmon. I know Salmon is always sold at the market with the skin on...

And while we're on the subject, can you tell me the philosophies behind which fish is typically sold in a market with or without their skin on? I know Tilapia fillets are always skinned (a shame IMO), and Salmon always has their skin. Anyone knows why this is? I would always prefer to always the the skin on everything. Let's have the cook decide, right?

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Phan,

If you are grilling the fish (regardless of the type) the skin is ideal as a "barrier" to protect the fish meaning, grill the fish with the skin side down. When it's cooked, scrape between the skin and the flesh with your spatula to leave the skin on the grate... it's then an easy clean with a bit more burn time on the grill.

Long story short, yup, skin helps for cooking but service/plating is IMO without the skin.

Brian

Brian Misko

House of Q - Competition BBQ

www.houseofq.com

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If you never had Salmon Skin Temaki, you are really missing out on one of food's great pleasures. That said, I would probably eat the skin myself in the kitchen with a little bit of kabayaki tare and serve the salmon to my guests without. :)

"There's nothing like a pork belly to steady the nerves."

Fergus Henderson

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I'm not sure what the philosophy behind selling fillets with skin vs. skinless is, but it seems to me like flatfish such as flounder and sole fillets are always sold skinless, as are catfish fillets. Costco sells its fresh salmon fillets skinless.

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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I agree salmon skin can be delicious and it can also look fine on a plate, for example steaks with a crispy golden skin. I'll bet most restaurants serve skinless fillets, which is also fine. I wouldn't always eat all the skin for health reasons - the skin and fatty tissues tend to accumulate POP's (persistent organic pollutants) and IMS mercury, too.

If you've got wild Pacific salmon you're better off than with farmed Atlantic salmon or Great Lakes salmon from, lets say, the Shores of Gary, IN or Hamilton, ON.

WRT buying fish with the skin on, I've heard there are some gov't rules in place to assist the consumer with the identification of species . . . I can't recall the details.

Edited by Peter the eater (log)

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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I adore salmon skin. I felt so vindicated when I found out that the grilled skin is considered a delicacy in Japan, because all the time when I was growing up and my mom served salmon steaks, I kind of had to sneak-eat the skin while nobody was paying attention because my family thought it was weird. :laugh: Even though, yeah, the skin and the fat just under it is where the fat-soluble polutants accumulate, I eat the stuff anyway. The fat renders through the skin when you grill the fish, and it gets yummy crispy good.

At least in my experience, fish steaks are always sold and served skin-on. Filets, it can be all over the map. I've seen salmon sides sold skin-on and skin-off. As previously observed, skin-on filets are much easier to grill or broil because the skin holds the filet together and acts as a natural barrier against the metal of the grill or broiler pan. But I think the only times I remember seeing pros actually serve a salmon filet or side with the skin on is--sometimes--when they present a whole poached side cold on a buffet. The skin holds the filet together while diners slice/scoop off individual portions.

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In my opinion, it's only worthwhile to serve skin on the fish if you've made it nice and crispy. If it's not crispy, it's not appealing to eat, and it doesn't belong on the plate.

-- There are infinite variations on food restrictions. --

Crooked Kitchen - my food blog

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In my opinion, it's only worthwhile to serve skin on the fish if you've made it nice and crispy. If it's not crispy, it's not appealing to eat, and it doesn't belong on the plate.

Completely agree with this.

With salmon I like to score the skin and get it really crisp. I've been leaving the skin on other fish like red snapper as well. Skin is great stuff if cooked right.

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Yeah, I love the skin too, just not on the steak. I'll definitely dead up on the salmon skin temaki. Sounds great.

Oh, and I sous vide the Salmon today. It was awesome, very tender. I'm not a fan of cooked salmon either. I just never had cooked salmon that wasn't too dry. The only times I've been able to eat cooked salmon is if its was literally raw in the middle (I LOVE sashimi or cold smoked salmon).

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Whenever I poach or en papillote fish, I always remove the skin, salt it, heat up 2 cast iron pans and then sandwich the skin between them to make a crispy skin cracker. It packs a dose of browned flavour and provides a nice textural contrast to the tender fish.

PS: I am a guy.

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I use my panini toaster to make salmon skin crackling, which as I serve with fish soup. oil and salt the skin very well, put in in the toaster in medium to high heat, after 10-15 mins you will have the most delicious skin.

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The way I usually cook salmon is by using a hot pan and by placing the salmon skin side down. Then I either flip it to get a crust on the other side or place it in the oven as is for a few minutes. I always serve salmon medium rare to medium unless I poach it this way it does not dry out and you get a variety of textures.

You can also partly cure the skinless side with salt, sugar and herbs before cooking it and only cook it skin side down. This way you get a nice crisp skin, then a cooked layer of salmon, then a semi-cooked layer and on top a cured layer. It requires a bit more time though as the fish has to cure for a few hours.

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I was pleasantly surprised the first time I used a George Forman grill on a piece of salmon and got moist meat and crispy skin with no effort. I pulled it off and gave it another minute alone to really get crunchy. A nice bonus.

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I found that if you can get a crispy skin through pan-frying it, it wouldn't be crispy enough to withstand the inevitable steam and moist salmon underneath, so the nice crisp skin would turn soggy. So, although it is a pain, I recommend taking the skin off completely, and cooking it separately. Otherwise, you can't get it crisp to up enough without overcooking the salmon. And you can cook the skin up to a cracker-like crispness very easily (just leave it in a 350 degree over for about 20 minutes). My wife and kids can't get enough of it.

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Dude. I order the filet with skin, and ask for the thin tip end of the filet so that I can maximize my salmon skin-to-meat ratio. Crispy salmon skin is one of God's great gifts to man!

And - I cook it skin-side-up in the oven, so that the skin doesn't get soggy. A quick finish under the broiler.... a sprinkle of salt... mmmm... Heaven.

...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

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As above, The "pointy "end of the fillet, But I remove the skin and sear both sides, on a very hot grill , or a very hot cast iron pan, so it browns. Don't cook it to death...or else its to dry...

Bud

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I found that if you can get a crispy skin through pan-frying it, it wouldn't be crispy enough to withstand the inevitable steam and moist salmon underneath, so the nice crisp skin would turn soggy.  So, although it is a pain, I recommend taking the skin off completely, and cooking it separately.  Otherwise, you can't get it crisp to up enough without overcooking the salmon.  And you can cook the skin up to a cracker-like crispness very easily (just leave it in a 350 degree over for about 20 minutes).  My wife and kids can't get enough of it.

I always save the skin, this is the "chef's treat" at my house. I try to leave the tiniest bit of flesh on the skin and then next day crisp it in the broiler skin up. A little rice and cucumber, a sheet of nori, and instant heaven. If I could just get salmon skin trimmed this way from a fish market I would probably eat this every day.

"There's nothing like a pork belly to steady the nerves."

Fergus Henderson

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