Crispy Fried Salmon Skin

chef slicing skin off salmon

Dorling Kindersley / Getty Images

  • Total: 17 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 12 mins
  • Brine: 15 mins
  • Servings: 4 to 6 servings

This recipe is a great way to use salmon skin, especially since the skin is something that would normally be ignored or discarded. Frying salmon skin results in a tasty treat. Consider it similar to salmon bacon, or "salmon rinds," as opposed to pork rinds.

This recipe works for any type of salmon and gives the skin an Asian flair, but you could season it any way you'd like. The keys to tasty flavoring are the oil you use and the post-fry seasoning. 

As with most fried foods, you'll want to serve this right away. These crispy salmon skins are a perfect light appetizer for your salmon dinner. You can deskin the fish, prepare and serve the skins, and then serve the salmon separately. Perhaps the skins would make for a crunchy topping on a Japanese-inspired salad. Another option is to serve the crispy skins alongside a tasty salmon tartare. If they are crispy enough, the skins could replace crackers and be used to scoop up the diced fish.

Ingredients

  • 1 salmon skin
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (or amount needed for frying)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons sesame oil (or other flavored oil)
  • For Serving: soy sauce

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. With a very sharp knife, slice the salmon skin into 1/4-inch thick strips from top to bottom (from belly to back, not head to tail). This will result in long strips since they will shrink upon cooking.

  3. In a medium bowl, toss the salmon skin strips with the kosher salt. Set aside to brine for 10 to 15 minutes.

  4. Pat the salmon skin strips dry with a paper towel. To avoid oil splatter and ensure the skin gets crispy, it is important that the salmon is completely dry.

  5. In a frying pan or wok, add enough vegetable oil to come up about 3/4 inch up the sides. Add the sesame or flavored oil and turn the heat to medium-high.

  6. Once the oil is hot, add the salmon skin to the oil and fry over medium-low heat. Stir frequently so they don't stick; a chopstick is a good tool that can delicately stir them around. It can take a full 10 to 15 minutes for them to crisp up; they will look rubbery at first but be patient.

  7. When crispy, remove the skins from the oil and drain on paper towels.

  8. Serve with soy sauce and enjoy.

Recipe Variations

  • If you aren't using sesame oil or Asian flavors, you can skip the soy sauce. Experiment with other dipping sauces.
  • If you want to take this dish in another direction, use olive oil and some smoked paprika for a Spanish flavor, olive oil and lemon for Greek or Italian, butter and thyme for French, or bacon fat and cayenne powder for a Cajun feel. The possibilities are limitless.