The Secret to Crispy Skin on your Salmon and Sablefish (Black Cod)

The Secret to Crispy Skin on your Salmon and Sablefish (Black Cod)

How to cook your fish for a perfect sear every time


The Secret to Crispy Skin on your Salmon and Sablefish (Black Cod) | Sitka Salmon Shares

Achieving a perfect sear is easier than you think and can give your home cooked dishes high-end restaurant quality. Like bacon, the fats in the skin of species such as salmon and sablefish are released at high heat, which helps the skin become crispy and delicious. The skin will release naturally from your pan when the fish is ready to be flipped — any earlier and the skin might still be soft and stick to the pan.

Use a dry and well-salted fillet, a hot pan, and just a little bit of oil. Then add a bit of light pressure to set the skin in the skillet. Cook until the fish releases easily, then flip. Give it a try with the recipes below.

Crispy Skin Fish

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8- to 12-ounce) portion salmon or sablefish (black cod)
  • Fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

Directions:

  1. Pat fish dry and cut into 2 equal pieces. Season generously with salt.
  2. In a medium nonstick skillet, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the fish, skin-side down, and press  lightly with a spatula for 1 to 2 minutes, until the fish begins to lay flat when you lift the spatula. Lower the heat to medium, and cook until the skin is crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the fish and cook until the edges are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove fish from the pan and drain skin-side up on a paper towel-lined plate.
Crispy Skin Sablefish (Black Cod)

You can also get crispy skin by grilling your fish using a similar method.

Grilled Crispy Skin Fish

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8- to 12-ounce) portion salmon or sablefish (black cod)
  • Fine sea salt
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons canola oil

Directions:

  1. Oil grill grate before turning on the heat. Preheat the grill with the burners set to medium heat (375 to 400°F).
  2. Pat fish dry and cut into 2 equal pieces. Season generously with salt.
  3. Drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons oil over the skin side of the fish, and lay skin-side down on the grill. Close the lid and wait 5 to 8 minutes, checking for the skin to release easily. 
  4. Before flipping, carefully oil the flesh side of the fish and gently flip over. Cook until fish is cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes. Allow fish to rest on a plate for about 5 minutes.
Grilling Fish

In the interest of tip-to-tail cooking, we’ve got some ideas for how to eat that crispy salmon and sablefish skin if you didn’t munch it with dinner already! 

Fish skin can also be cooked separately and eaten a number of different ways. Remove the skin from the fillet before cooking, oil both sides, and cook as you would the rest of the fish, or until crisp. Then try one of these ideas:

  • Roll it into sushi rolls or hand rolls.
  • Top with furikake (nori and sesame seed spice mix) or red pepper flakes and flaky salt. 
  • Use fish skin chips as a vessel for hummus or your favorite dip.
  • Crack skin chips into bite-sized pieces and use as croutons for a salad.
  • Top with flaky sea salt and crumble over dishes in need of a little crunch.

The May 2021 Premium Share is projected to include sablefish, perfect for practicing your new technique. Not a member yet? Order by May 16 to get the May box!

Need some more inspiration? Our Culinary Team’s got you covered:

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