Living in a seafood mecca like Sydney has some great advantages especially if you are a seafood lover. Mysaucepan and I love sheer variety and freshness of seafood that is so readily available all over Sydney.
Salmon is one of my favourite fish to cook with and with such fresh seafood, the best recipes are almost always the simplest ones.
Just like some of the cheaper cuts of meats such as pork and beef can often be turned into beautiful stews in winter, salmon is no exception either. I often come across huge trays of salmon heads with the backbone, salmon collar bones and salmon belly at fish markets where these cuts of fish are relegated to the back end of the display counters since they are not as visually appealing as the regular fillets, cutlets and whole fish. These cuts are also considerably cheaper since they are considered off-cuts.
To me, the belly is probably the best cuts of the fish, especially salmon and tuna where they command a much higher price when ordered as sushi and sashimi in Japanese restaurants.
The salmon belly is softer and more delicate because it has a higher fat content and when cooked properly, it literally melts in your mouth. Best of all, it is also a lot more healthy than say pork belly with its high levels of Omega 3 fish oil.
So today, I am sharing my simple recipe of Pan-seared Salmon Belly with you. I can assure you this will be one of the cheapest, simplest and most delicious meal that you can prepare at home.
Pan-seared Salmon Belly
One of the most important part of pan-searing or BBQ salmon belly is to sear the fish skin side down for almost the entire cooking process.
Try to avoid the temptation of flipping the fish because the belly is very delicate and it takes little time to cook.
Searing the fish skin side down for about ninety percent of the cooking time will give you a beautiful golden brown skin that is crispy and also takes away all the fishy aromas that is usually present in the skin of the fish.
I would choose this cut of fish any day over a fillet or a cutlet simply because it is tastier with its higher fat content.
A small dusting of corn flour helps the fish to form a thin golden brown crust on the outside when it is being seared. The meat inside remains soft, moist and buttery, it literally melts the moment it hits your mouth.
One of my favourite dipping sauce is fresh cut red chillies and soy sauce.
The crispy salmon belly skin is the equivalent of a good pork crackling except it is wafer thin and a whole lot healthier too!
- 2 strips of salmon belly
- 2 teaspoon of corn flour
- Small pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Small pinch of black pepper
- 1 wedge of lemon
- Wash the salmon belly under cold running water to get rid of any slimy fish traces and scales then pat dry with kitchen paper.
- Coat the salmon belly evenly with corn flour and set aside.
- Heat the EVOO in a cooking pan until it is beginning to smoke, then gently slide the salmon belly into the pan, skin side down.
- Sear the salmon belly, gently moving it a little to ensure the skin is evenly cooked and sprinkle a pinch of salt onto the meat side. Once the skin becomes golden brown, flip the salmon belly over and sear the meat side for approximately one minute until you can see a slightly golden brown crust forming on the outside.
- Let cool and serve with some freshly cracked black pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.
- The fish should have about ninety percent of its cooking time on the skin so that you get a beautiful golden brown colour and crispy texture.
- Handle the fish gently because salmon belly is soft and delicate and can break easily during cooking.
- Pat the fish dry with kitchen paper to remove any excess moisture from the fish before dusting it lightly with the corn flour.
- Do not add too much EVOO at the start because a fair bit of oil will come from the fish during the cooking process.
- Serve this salmon belly with your favourite summer salad or a piping bowl of hot miso soup or soba noodles in winter. Salmon belly will also go well with a simple pasta tossed with garlic and olive oil.
This is one of my all-time favourite comfort meals at home – this meal took about 15 minutes to prepare and cost a whole $2!
So dear readers, how can you go past a meal that cost $2, is delicious, simple to cook and good for your health too?