It brings a tear to my eye when I see someone discard fish skin (or chicken skin for that matter). They don’t realize they are throwing out Mother Nature’s perfect, protein chip. When rendered properly, fish skin has the ability to provide that salty, crunch to an otherwise flaky, buttery smooth piece of fish. And the process to achieving that perfect piece of protein couldn’t be simpler. The dish requires one pan and no more than 20 minutes of time from start to finish. Keeping the skin on also makes cooking the fish easier, as it provides a barrier between the heat and flesh of the fish. You can also put your Piglets to work in the kitchen with some lime squeezing. And in my experiencing, the kids love the skin. It’s a fatty, delicious cracker and what child (or adult for that matter) can’t get behind that. When all is said in done, you have a healthy, gluten free dinner with a kick from the chili and a brightness from the limes. Enjoy!
- 1 whole, skin on salmon fillet, cut into 4-6 pieces
- salt and pepper
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 limes
- 2 shallots or 1 small red onion, minced
- 1 lb asparagus, cut to 1 inch pieces
- 1 can black beans
- 1 handful of cilantro
- 1 can of corn
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon of ancho chili powder
- 4 tablespoons of butter
- Place salmon pieces on a plate, sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides. Taking a micro zester, zest 1 whole lime over the fish. Rub in with your hands if necessary so it adheres. Heat a large non-stick skillet with olive oil to medium high heat.
- When oil is almost smoking, add fish, skin side down. Be prepared for some crackling and popping. Cook fish 2-3 minutes on skin side. You can watch as the color of the fish changes as its cooking. The bottom portion of the fish should be at least half way to the top prior to flipping. Flip the fish and cook for another 2 minutes on the other side. Remove and let rest on paper towel skin side down.
- While fish is cooking, pull out a food processor or mortar and pestle. Add the butter, ancho powder, garlic and zest of 1 lime, salt and pepper, along with the juice of half a lime. Blend. This will be your chili lime butter to go on top of your fish.
- In hot pan that the fish was just cooking in, add the shallots or onions and the asparagus to the remaining oil, scraping up any brown bits. Cook for 2-3 minutes until soft. Add salt and pepper. Also add the black beans and corn. Squeeze the remaining lime juice in the mixture. Check seasoning. To plate, scoop asparagus mixture into center of plate. Garnish the salmon with a scoop of the lime butter, then flip upside down so skin side is up (otherwise the skin looses it’s crunch). Garnish with fresh cilantro.