Photo credit: Julia Bainbridge
You could say that about almost every dish: salads, pasta, scrambled eggs, avocado toast… The list goes on. Fish skin, once crisped into a massive chip and then broken into salty shards that taste ever-so-slightly of the sea mixed with just-shy-of-burnt toast, is the most (eek, we’re going to say it) perfect garnish.
"The best part is, it’s waste, basically," said Bryan Weaver, chef de cuisine at Superba Snack Bar in Los Angeles, whose handiwork is pictured above. We sidled up to his bar Tuesday night and saw this Jenga-like mound of charred scales. We then asked how the texture was achieved, assuming the skin was deep-fried but hopeful that it would require some less laborious method. And we then were positively jazzed to hear that it just takes a turn in the oven.
No thermometers! No hot oil! No discarding of oil, either!
Here’s what to do: Remove your fish skin. (The salmon/trout/char family works best here, and Weaver prefers to cook whole sides of skin at once. Two fit on one sheet pan.) Lay it on a parchment-lined sheet pan and cover with another layer of parchment paper. Place a second sheet pan on top so it presses down on the skin. (This will keep it flat while it cooks.) Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, then remove the top sheet pan and parchment layer and bake for ten more minutes. Remove from heat, sprinkle with salt, and let cool on the sheet pan. Stays crispy for two days if stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
Now, go make some. And put it on everything.