crispy salmon with balsamic reduction

11:06 AM Sian Mei Yeoh 1 Comments

i don't typically get a whole fillet of salmon just because i don't really know what is the best way to cook it - but when i came across fresh, wild salmon fillet for a reasonable price, i had to get it and made it a personal challenge to find my favorite way of cooking this fish with distinct flavor of its own. 

the story behind the discovery of this dish was one of my friends attempted gordon ramsay's beef wellington (which is my future project at some point) and i was just studying the recipe when i came across chef gordon ramsay's crispy salmon recipe with a side of new potato crab salad to make a complete meal. well, if i had fresh lump crab meat i would have probably attempted the whole recipe but instead i paired it with a delicious balsamic reduction and side of sauteed string beans. 

this is an incredibly easy recipe which literally takes less than 30 minutes to get it down. the crispy salmon takes next to no time to prepare ~ i'd say about 7 minutes which makes it such an anytime meal.
i still have a lot of work in improving my skills at scoring the fish..that and get a sharper knife. it was falling apart when it was cooking from scoring the fish too deep. but, thank goodness it still reached the crispy perfection i was looking for. :)

balsamic vinegar is quite the classic pairing with salmon (at least that's what i've noticed) and i found a honey balsamic reduction recipe that i absolutely love and will remain in my recipe box arsenal forever! lol. the secret ingredient is the addition of grainy mustard for that surprise bite. since the last time i prepared this dish, i've tweaked the balsamic reduction recipe to make it my own which, i believe will still compliment the crispy salmon beautifully. there are a couple of extra steps for my personal take on the balsamic reduction but i think it's really worth it. i'd recommend start cooking this before eeverthign else since it takes the longest to complete.

on the other hand, the simple string beans side dish can also be done in minutes. the string beans is essentially blanched in boiling salted water (to impart some flavor into the string beans itself) for about 2 minutes before submerged in ice cold water to stop the cooking to retain its crispness. it is then sauteed with some olive oil and minced garlic and seasoned with a dash of salt and pepper.

verdict | the crispy skin on the salmon is so yummy that i couldn't get enough of it. since salmon is quite the rich and fatty fish, the sweet and tart reduction, with a bit of bite in the back of the throat from the mustard, this is then lighten up with a side of crunchy string beans tossed in garlic-olive oil. a fast, simple and elegant dish. of course, you can also make new potato crab salad which adds to the heartiness of the meal - so take your pick whichever sides you'd like to serve with the meal. 

interested? check out the recipes below ::

crispy salmon
by chef gordon ramsay (watch his video on this dish on youtube:: here!)

ingredients |
  • salmon filet
  • salt 
  • olive oil
  • herbs (optional. chef ramsay recommends thyme, rosemary or basil)

instructions |
  • take the filet of salmon and roll it up, skin side facing up
  • place the rolled up salmon filet on a cutting board, and score the skin crosswise about one half inch deep. keep your cuts close together to get extra crispy salmon skin, and score the entire length of the salmon filet. (this also prevents it from curling while cooking - ensuring nice and even cooking)
  • open each score and sprinkle salt into the cut. be sparse but make sure the fish is seasoned well
  • chef ramsay suggests that your choice of herb (optional and if you'd like the extra flavor) be added at this point of the preparation
  • glaze the top of the salmon filet with olive oil
  • heat a heavy skillet over medium heat
  • add olive oil when the pan is hot. add the salmon, skin side down, as soon as the oil begins to smoke lightly
  • keep your fingers on top of the salmon filet for a bit to keep it nice and flat
  • season the top side up of the fish with salt and refrain from touching the filet
  • watch the salmon on the sides, and flip it over when 2/3rds way up of the filet has colored
  • tilt the pan, allowing all of the remaining olive oil coat the bottom of the salmon for a nice evenly cooked salmon filet
  • cook for another minute or so, watching the color
  • remove the pan from heat, flip the salmon back to skin side and let it rest a minute before serving

smokey honey balsamic reduction
inspired by the original recipe found at the cucina chronicles with a personal twist

ingredients |
  • 1 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbs honey (or substitute with brown sugar)
  • 2 tbs grainy mustard
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
  • 3 strips of thick cut, applewood smoked bacon (cut into lardons)
  • half a medium onion, thinly sliced 
  • salt&pepper to taste
 instructions |
  • slice the bacon strips into small pieces and place it in a saucepan over medium heat
  • render the fat from the bacon and fry the bacon bits till crisp (should take about 5-7 minutes)
  • remove the crispy bacon while leaving the fat in the saucepan. drain the bacon on a paper towel
  • add the sliced onions and chopped garlic and saute until the onion turns slightly translucent
  • add the balsamic vinegar, honey and grainy mustard. stir often over medium-low heat until it reduces and thickens (~10-15 minutes). this also allows the flavors to meld together. 
  • add salt and pepper to taste and if you prefer extra sweetness, you can add more brown sugar or honey depending on personal preference. 
  • add the bacon bits into the sauce and it's ready to serve
p.s. the great thing about this honey balsamic reduction is the versatility as a dressing. i've paired it with grilled/oven roasted asparagus and it was absolutely delicious.

disclaimer this is written based on my personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others.

p.p.s. blog entries will resume after my trip to korea next week :) be sure to check for hopefully a ton of awesome pictures of korea and its delectable food that i am hoping to taste! <3 freaking excited and extra nervous. i'll let you in after i return why the sudden trip to korea! ^^


Gosh, this looks interesting + easy to prepare. Will try it one day. Thanks dear.