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You’re likely already aware that salmon is a good-for-you fish that’s easy to incorporate into your diet and pretty easy to cook, too. However, were you aware that the actual salmon skin contains a good majority of the fish’s health properties? Turn this skin into a tasty snack, with salmon skin chips. Here’s everything you need to know about this new trending healthy snack.
Crispy Salmon Skins
The Health Benefits of Salmon Skin
However you’re eating your salmon, make sure to eat the skin, too. Whether as part of a sushi roll or as the star of a succulent slice of salmon at your favorite steakhouse, the salmon skin provides amazing texture, protects the salmon as it cooks and comes with a hearty helping of health benefits.
Salmon skin contains the fish’s highest concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, aka one of the main health benefits that salmon provides. Omega-3 fatty acids can help decrease heart disease worries, protect against eye degradation, keep your brain healthy, promote skin health, increase antioxidant levels and increase your overall protein intake. Additionally, since your body can’t make its own omega-3 fatty acids, you have to get them from your diet or a supplement, and salmon is a great way to do this.
Other good-for-you stuff you’ll find in crispy salmon skin? Vitamin B, vitamin D, niacin, phosphorus and low carbs.
Beyond all this, just as the skin protects the salmon as it cooks and helps the fish retain its moisture, flavor and texture, the intact skin also helps the rest of the fish retain its nutritional benefits during the cooking process (kind of like how cooking vegetables via steaming preserves more nutrients than boiling or pan-frying), so you reap more health benefits from the entire piece of fish overall.
Concerns About Eating Salmon Skin
Unfortunately, eating salmon skin crisps isn’t always a great choice across the board. While, yes, this part of the fish is very nutritious and healthy, there are some concerns and things to watch out for.
If you’re not 100% sure where your salmon was sourced and that it was sourced responsibly, then you may want to steer clear of eating the skin. Salmon can absorb dangerous pollutants from the water, as well as from their diets, and then pass those pollutants on to you, via the skin. This can cause issues for those with compromised immune systems, children and pregnant women. Even for those without compromised immune systems, consuming too high a quantity of these pollutants can result in a range of health concerns, such as metabolic disorders.
For your best chances at avoiding salmon that’s been exposed to pollutants, always purchase your salmon from a sustainable seafood seller. Look for brands offering wild-caught salmon, not farmed salmon, as farmed salmon is typically higher in contaminants than wild-caught salmon. Look for wild-caught Alaskan or Pacific salmon, specifically.
Beyond pollutants and sourcing worries, it’s also worth noting that, while omega-3 fatty acids are healthy and necessary for most individuals, some may want to keep a close eye on just how much omega-3 fatty acids they consume. Too much in your diet may interact with medications including anticoagulants and blood thinners.
Additionally, just like any skin on any protein adds extra calories and fat to your meal, so will salmon skin. If you’re trying to cut back on your calorie or fat intake, you may want to keep this in mind and limit your crispy fish skin snacks.
What are Salmon Skin Chips?
Salmon skin chips are sometimes called salmon bacon or salmon rinds. As you could probably guess, whatever you call them, these tasty morsels are basically just the fish’s skin, fried up separately from the salmon itself. Salmon skin chips are slightly more mellow than actual salmon, with very little “fishy” flavor.
You can make salmon skin chips at home, or you can make things easier on yourself by just ordering them pre-made and packaged, online, for simple, on-the-go snacking.
How to Make Salmon Skin Chips
If you decide to go the homemade route, you can make salmon skin chips with just a few ingredients and steps.
First, you’ll want to separate the skin from the raw salmon—sockeye salmon from Alaska is a popular choice. Do so with a long, thin, sharp and serrated knife and do so very carefully.
You’ll want to lay the salmon skin-side down on a flat surface, like a chopping block. Cut the meat of the salmon away from the skin using one hand, as you grip the salmon near the narrow end with your other hand. You’ll want to go slowly, to ensure you don’t accidentally cut into the salmon skin (or yourself!).
After you’ve cut your way down the entire body of the fish or the filet, you’ll find that the salmon meat lifts cleanly away from the skin, leaving it behind. Don’t worry if some fish skin still sticks to the fish filet. A few tiny, remaining pieces won’t matter and also won’t interfere with your intended use for the actual fish body.
If that whole process sounds a little labor-intensive or you don’t really trust your knife skills, when you buy your salmon at the store, ask the person behind the counter to remove it for you — just make sure they send it home with you rather than tossing it!
Once the skin is removed, store the salmon safely in your fridge or freezer for future use. Then, cut the salmon skin into your desired shape and size, before dabbing the pieces with a paper towel to thoroughly dry them. As you cut the salmon skin into smaller shapes, keep in mind that the skin will shrink as it cooks, so opt for a larger size than you think you might want.
Next, there are several options for cooking your salmon skin chips. You can cook the chips on the stovetop, in a frying pan and with oil, or you can cook them in the oven on a baking sheet. You can also cook them in an air fryer.
If you decide to go the stovetop route, heat your desired cooking oil (olive oil is a good pick) in a non-stick skillet and, when hot, add the salmon skin, turning as needed. If the skin is sticking to the pan, it means it’s not ready to flip yet. Once the skin becomes crispy, lay the chips on a paper towel on a plate to drain off the excess oil, much like you would when cooking bacon.
If you’d prefer to cook your salmon skin chips in the oven, just rub your desired cooking oil directly onto your chips and then line them up on a baking tray covered in parchment paper. Place the chips with the skin’s shiny side facing upwards. You can add a sprinkle of salt at this point, then pop the salmon crisps in the oven to bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes.
If you’d rather cook the salmon skin chips in an air fryer, just add a little oil to your frying basket as you would for anything, and then, once the basket is heated, add a layer of skins. You won’t need to flip the skins using this method. Just let them cook for about 10 minutes and you’re good to go.
However you cook the crispy salmon skins, once they’re done, you can add any desired seasoning from there. Potential choices include sea salt and pepper, chili flakes, chili lime, bbq flavoring, garlic salt, paprika, sesame, curry powder or your favorite mixed seasoning that you might normally add to a piece of salmon.
Where to Buy Crispy Salmon Skins
If you’re not really a pro in the kitchen or you want to try salmon skin chips without all the work, consider just ordering your salmon skin chips online. Here are a few options for this low-carb snack, all on Amazon.
You can buy these salmon chips on Amazon in either a six-pack or a 24-pack. The chips come in a few different flavors, including Korean bbq, Thai lime, salted egg and sriracha. Each serving contains 9 grams of protein, 5 grams of collagen and 90 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids. The 100% all-natural crisps are made with premium salmon and are gluten-free.
Reviewers report that these salmon crispy skin chips are “insanely addictive” and “not sure what sorcery they’ve employed to strike that perfect balance between tasty and healthy but they’ve done it.”
These salmon chips, or cracklet, as the brand calls them, are keto-friendly and come in a tasty pesto flavor. You can buy the bags of salmon chips in packs of four, five, six or 12. Reviewers say, “These are crunchy, salty, and there’s plenty in the bag; I usually can’t stop until the bag’s empty, and that’s why it’s good to buy the 12-packs.”
If you really just want to buy one bag of salmon skin chips so you can give this addictive crispy skin snack a try, order this option from Irvins. There’s no need to buy extra bags (just in case you don’t quite care for salmon skin after all) and you get an 8-ounce bag from this Singapore-based brand.
Sure, these are a bit pricey, but just check out what the reviewers say: “I cannot speak highly enough about these snacks. They are impossibly good … and absolutely addictive. They are imported from Singapore and [I] plan on filling up a suitcase with them when I make it over there … Just writing this review is making my mouth water.”
Here’s another option if you just want to buy a single bag of fish skins. Made in Thailand, the fish skins have an umami punch thanks to the salted egg flavor. Each bag contains three, one-cup servings of skins.
What to Do with Salmon Skin Chips
Obviously, the easiest way to enjoy salmon skin chips is just straight and on their own, as a simple snack, appetizer or replacement for potato chips. Store them in an air-tight container or bag and keep them around for a few days of happy crunching during your next binge session or while at your desk. Try dipping the low carb crunchy chips into your favorite dipping sauce, like spicy mayonnaise, guacamole, hummus or soy sauce.
You can also add these chips to other dishes, to provide some extra texture, crunch and those healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Consider adding your salmon skin chips to the top of your favorite salad, instead of bacon bits. You can also use the crushed salmon skin chips atop favorite veggie-based side dishes, casseroles or even on top of other salmon dishes.
Other Uses for Salmon Skin
Of course, you don’t have to make salmon skin chips in order to enjoy all the health benefits (and the great taste) of salmon skin.
You can simply leave the skin on the salmon when you cook it, for the easiest method. Just note that the skin can become soggy and unappetizing if you boil or steam your salmon. For the best skin texture, go for grilling or frying (you can even use your air fryer!) and always cook your salmon with the skin side down, facing your heat source.
There’s also another member of your family who might enjoy chowing down on some tasty salmon skin snacks — your dog. Yes, salmon skin is safe for your favorite canine companion to consume. Just be sure that you only feed your pup salmon skin occasionally, as a treat, to avoid over-feeding your dog high-fat food.
Give This Salty, Savory Snack a Try
If you’re looking for a new addition to your snacking rotation, you could do worse than these tasty little treats that are filled with health benefits like omega-3 fatty acids and extra protein. Whether you bake them, fry them or air fry them, try making a batch of crunchy salmon skin chips the next time you cook up a salmon filet.
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Four Crispy Salmon Skins To Try:
- Tochi Salmon Chips
- Williwaw Salmon Cracklet
- Irvins Salted Egg Salmon Skin Chips
- SnakYard Salted Egg Fish Skins