The name of this recipe is extremely clever because it has two meanings. The first is obvious; the topping is made with potato chips. The second is obvious, too, since I am clearly less clever than I like to believe. The salmon is so good, you can’t stop eating it. Like potato chips, get it?
Please forgive me and don’t stop reading, this may well be the best recipe I’ve given you so far. It is very loosely based on two different Cook’s Illustrated recipes. If you like salmon even a little bit, you really must try this one.
Before I give you the recipe, I need to share one little bit of salmon family lore. I know, how many families have fish stories? We have a couple; I’ll tell you the story of Megan and the Fish some other time. This one involves Meg, too, and our shared love of Laurie Colwin. We regularly perform a little routine from one of our favorite Laurie stories. It’s a scream at a party.
When Laurie Colwin was a young mother in New York City, she and her friends would amuse their toddlers by taking them to the fish store after playgroup:
The fish man, an unshaven, unsmiling person, turned to the child.
“Whadda want,” he barked.
“Slamber,” she said without batting an eye.
“What color is it?”
“Pink and green,” said the child.
“Oh, yeah?” he said, “Well, we don’t carry it.”
“Then give me something else,” said the little girl.
So, yesterday, I sent Bob to our fish market to buy some slamber for supper. The preparation is an old favorite, and I served it over a lentil salad because salmon and lentils taste amazing together. I am so happy to share this recipe with you, I am going to tell you how to prepare the lentil salad as a bonus. Notice that there is a little apricot subtheme going on here.
Potato Chip Salmon
I usually use Cape Cod kettle chips for this recipe. But I inadvertently bought the salt and vinegar version, and the result was wonderful. So, your choice!
If you want to preseason the fish, start the recipe in the morning. The fish can also be completely prepped, crumbs and all, and stay in the fridge for a couple of hours before baking.
1 pound very good, fresh salmon filet, cut into 2-4 pieces
2 tbs. apricot preserves
2 tbs. country dijon mustard
1 cup potato chips
¼ cup roasted almonds
salt, sugar, and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 450°.
I like to preseason my fish, which gives it a light cure. This is not necessary, but it gives a good flavor and an amazing silky texture to the flesh. Sprinkle both sides of the filets with salt, sugar and pepper. Let the fish stand in the fridge, uncovered, for one to 10 hours if you have time.
Mix the preserves and the mustard. Grind the potato chips and almonds in a food processor until you have uniform, small crumbs. Put the fish on a parchment lined baking sheet. Spread the mustard mixture over the flesh side of the fish and then sprinkle with the crumbs, pressing gently to adhere.
Pop the fish in the oven. Immediately turn the temp down to 275°. Roast for 10-12 minutes depending on how done you like your fish and how thick it is. I like salmon quite rare, so I do barely 10.
Serve immediately with lemon or lime wedges. I love avocado with salmon, it perfectly complements the buttery quality of the flesh. And it’s great on a bed of lentils or lentil salad, but would also be good over Arugula Salad or Kale Salad.
I prefer French green lentil, but you may use your favorite, the black belugas are very nice. And I like to brine them so the texture is perfect. Either way, start with perfectly cooked lentils, dress them lightly with your favorite oil and vinegar. I like xv olive oil and white balsamic vinegar, some salt and pepper. Now, add some chopped spinach, toasted walnut pieces, diced dried apricots (soak them in a little hot water first if they’re not really plump and soft), grated or “noodled” carrots, and crumbled feta cheese. Take a picture before you toss everything together.