Crispy Salmon with Coconut Rice and Crackle Sauce

SERVES: 4

The key to crispy skinned salmon, or any piece of skin-on fish, for that matter, is patting it dry and starting it skin side down in an un-preheated non stick skillet. As the skillet heats up, the skin begins to render or dispel some of its fat, and what you’re left with is evenly golden brown, shattery skin. With regards to the crackle sauce, if you’re spice averse, hold back some of the red pepper flake, but bear in mind that it should be spicier and saltier than you’re comfortable with, since it’s ultimately going to be spooned over a fatty piece of fish and a pile of coconut rice.

Active Time: 35 Mins

Total Time: 35 mins

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Produce

  • 1 English hothouse cucumber
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ inch piece ginger

Pantry

  • 2 cups long grain white rice
  • 1 13.6 ounce can full fat coconut milk
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup roasted peanuts
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1½ teaspoons red pepper flake
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Protein

  • 4 (6-ounce) skin-on salmon fillets

1. Start the coconut rice:

  • Rinse 2 cups of long grain white rice in a fine mesh strainer until the water runs clear. Drain well and add to a medium saucepan with a tight fitting lid.

     

  • Crack open a can of coconut milk. Set aside 3 tablespoons of the coconut milk in a small bowl. Stir the remaining coconut milk, ¾ cup water, and 1 teaspoon salt into the rice. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat. As soon as it comes to a simmer reduce the heat to as low as possible, cover with a tight fitting lid and set a timer for 16 minutes. Once 16 minutes has elapsed, remove from the heat and keep covered until ready to serve.

     

  • While the rice cooks, thinly slice 1 English hothouse cucumber crosswise (use a mandoline if you have one!) Toss the sliced cucumber in a medium bowl with salt and keep chilled until ready to serve.

2. Make the crackle sauce:

  • Chop or crush ½ cup of roasted peanuts. Combine the chopped peanuts, 3 tablespoons sesame seeds and ¼ cup olive oil in a large non-stick skillet.
  • Set the skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring often, until the peanuts are several shades darker and the sesame seeds are toasted, 6-8 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and transfer the mixture to a small bowl. While the oil is still hot, finely grate 2 garlic cloves and ½-inch piece of ginger right into the oil.
  • Stir in 1 teaspoon honey, 1 teaspoon ground turmeric, 1½ teaspoons red pepper flake, and the reserved coconut milk, and season the sauce with salt to taste. It’s gonna need a lot of salt to really start to sing so don’t be shy--there’s a lot of fat in this sauce to counteract it.

3. Cook the salmon:

  • Wipe out the non stick skillet with a paper towel. Season the salmon all over with 1½ teaspoons salt.
  • Arrange the salmon fillets skin side down in the skillet and set over medium heat (starting in an un-preheated pan is the key to crispy skinned fish.) Cook, pressing down on the top of the salmon occasionally to encourage it to make contact with the pan, until the skin is golden and very crisp, 7-9 minutes. (Work in two batches if your pan isn’t large enough to hold all 4 fillets).

     

  • Flip the salmon fillets over and continue to cook on the other side, until the salmon is mostly opaque on the sides, with a slight hint of translucence, 1-2 minutes longer. This will yield salmon that is cooked to medium.
  • Cook a minute or two less, or more, if you prefer your salmon medium rare or medium well done

4. Serve:

  • Remove the lid of the pot and fluff the coconut rice with a fork.
  • Divide the rice among shallow bowls. Top each bowl with a salmon fillet and a pile of salted cucumbers.
  • Drizzle the crackle sauce over each one and serve.

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