Shallow-Fried Salmon with Pine Nut Crust

Yesterday I was at my parents house picking some things up, and decided that I would cook a tasty meal to save dad the trouble.

There was a nice salmon fillet defrosting on the counter, so I thought I would do poached salmon with rice, a favourite of his. Then I considered that poaching might not be ideal for fish that had been frozen (it might dry out too much). It was far too cold outside to grill, and I didn't have any cedar available for planking.

Eventually I decided to experiment with a schnitzel-like crust on the fish. The results were delicious, so I thought others might be interested in this.

You will need:

The fish that I had was skin-on, but for this meal I thought that might be unpleasant, so I removed it. I used a torch to melt the fat and then just peeled it off. The less pyromaniacally-inclined might just use a sharp knife.

The crust is basically just pine nuts that have been fried to a delicious golden colour. Other nuts might work, but all I had available were pine nuts and peanuts. To prepare, just chop the nuts reasonably finely. I used a knife, but a food processor would speed things up a lot.

Beat the egg, and wash and dry the salmon. Dip the fish in the flour first, then the egg, and finally coat with the chopped nuts. It can sit like this for a few minutes while the oil comes up to to the appropriate heat.

Like schnitzel, this is to be shallow-fried. Put about 5 millimetres of oil into an appropriately sized pan and bring to medium temperate (6 out of 10 on their electric range, in this case). If the temperature is too high the outside will burn and the middle won't cook!

Lay the salmon in the oil and be prepared to fend off curious family members. The smell will be amazing.

When you suspect that the bottom has become golden and crunchy and tasty (5 minutes or so), it is time to flip it over. It won't need quite as long on the second side.

After a few minutes on the second side, transfer the salmon to a warm serving plate and throw a little sea salt on it. I served this with plain roasted potatoes and carrots (with generous amounts of butter... mmm), but it would be nicely accompanied by rice or pasta as well.

I made a sauce for this, as an experiment, but in retrospect it was probabably not absolutely neccessary. A wedge of lemon would be perfect.

For the curious:

Melt two tablespoons honey, two tablespoons lemon marmalade, finely chopped ginger, and a little water in a saucepan on medium-high heat. Cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in a suspension of corn starch and water and pour into a serving dish (it should thicken nicely as it cools).