BERKELEY (KCBS) – My favorite fish of all is now in season. There’s a reason Chinook is known as California king salmon. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the king of all fish.
This time of the year, fresh out of the Pacific off the California coast, the flesh is firm. It has wonderful texture, and it is so easy to cook.
Take a piece of fillet, leave the skin on, season it with just salt and pepper, then dip the skin side into some corn meal. Fry it in an oil that can withstand a high temperature, such as grape seed oil or canola oil.
Get the oil good and hot, put the skin side down, start with the fire still high because you want to brown and crisp the skin. Then once it’s really sizzling, lower the heat about halfway, put a lid on the pan and do not turn it over. You want to keep the skin side down so that the skin gets crisp.
Be careful to not overcook it. It should stay nice and moist.
When I serve it, the typical reaction from people that don’t usually like the skin is really positive. It just adds a little more complexity to it.
The truth is, it’s almost impossible to hurt King salmon. Overcooked, it can get a little flaky, but then all you have to do is just add some mayonnaise and eat it on a sandwich instead.
Narsai David is the KCBS Food and Wine Editor. He has been a successful restaurateur, chef, TV host, and columnist in the Bay Area spanning four decades. You can hear him Saturdays at 10:53 a.m., 12:53 p.m. and 4:53 p.m., and at 2:53 a.m. Sunday on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.