If you have been looking for an alternative way to prepare salmon look no further. My salmon bacon recipe is unique and easy to make, the hardest part is trying not to eat it all in one setting!
I am a big fan of salmon not only for its flavor, but it has incredible nutritional value. It is loaded with omega 3s and is a good source of fat and protein. But, even I can get bored with preparing it from time to time, so I started playing around with a few ideas.
My goal was to create a recipe that would provide the fish with a different texture, mouth feel and taste while keeping the basic flavor profile of salmon. Human taste buds can detect 6 main forms of flavor – sweet, salty, bitter, sour, astringent and umami. The umami is the key to the success of the salmon bacon. The word is Japanese and means, “pleasant savory taste”. NPR produced an interesting story worth listening to.
I used pink salmon for this recipe because it is mild in flavor, inexpensive and readily available. Pink salmon is most often used for canning and is considered the least attractive of the species, but in the hands of the right cook, it can be delicious.
I started with cleaning my fish and patting it dry. I used two pounds of salmon. I bought a five-pound fish, but decided to use the tail end for this recipe and keep the top half, for another project.
I used a brine made of kosher salt and dark muscovado Mauritian sugar. This sugar is dark-brown and has a wonderful molasses flavor.
I packed my fish in the brine mixture, covered it with plastic wrap and placed it in the refrigerator for two hours. Just long enough to draw out some of the moisture and add the flavor of the brine. After two hours the brine turned to liquid as it mixed with the moisture from the salmon.
After rinsing the brine off of the fish and patting it dry I slide it in sections.
Once slide and dried I put it on the barbecue grill for about 15 minutes. Roughly five minutes with the lid open, 10 with it closed.
I took my fish off the grill and let it rest. The white fatty stuff that looks like egg white is actually coagulated protein and fat. It can occur when the fish is cooked at a high temperature. It is edible and does not pose a problem for this recipe.
Once the salmon cooled, I crumbled the fish onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. I used natural liquid smoke to add more flavor and sprinkled it with dried parsley. If desired, you can store the fish in the refrigerator for a couple of days and then make the bacon, it turns out great either way.
Once the liquid smoke was added. I placed the salmon in a 250 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Once the time was up I turned off the heat and allowed the fish to cool in the oven. This is a vital step because this is what dries the salmon out and gives it the unique bacon-like texture. I have left the fish in the oven anywhere between 3 hours and overnight. I advise you to play around with the length of drying time. For a soft meaty texture leave it in for a few hours. For a more dense chewy texture leave it in overnight. This is what it will look like after 4 hours.
Once this process is completed, you will have yummy salmon bacon to use as desired! Store it the refrigerator in a plastic bag or sealed jar.
I love to use this on salads, crumbled on top of scrambled eggs and sprinkled over an avocado half. It makes a great gift. My sister, Leslie, covets this stuff.