Don’t Throw Away Your Salmon Skin — Make Healthy Bacon Instead
A surprisingly good snack.
When you get a bucket of fried chicken, do you peel off its crunchy, golden skin before you eat the meat? Of course not — the skin is one of the best parts. So why do so many of us throw away the skin on salmon filets before we eat them? I admit, I’ve done this myself. When I’m looking forward to the soft and flaky texture of salmon, the gray, scaly skin isn’t always the most appealing. But as it turns out, the salmon skin can be not only delicious, but also incredibly healthy for you. So don’t throw away that skin just yet — keep reading to see how to make crispy, flavorful salmon skins your new favorite (and the healthiest) part of dinner.
Can you eat salmon skin?
The skin on quality salmon is safe and incredibly nutritious. That being said, it’s best to only eat the skin of certain kinds of salmon. Salmon that’s been farmed, as well as wild salmon from the Atlantic, may be contaminated with high levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) and methylmercury, which are pollutants that may cause reproductive, endocrine, and neurological defects, as well as diseases like cancer. While pregnant women should avoid all salmon skin just to be safe, says food blog Wide Open Eats, the skin from wild-caught Pacific salmon is safe to eat.
It’s also very tasty, with a salty bite and pleasantly fishy flavor. When prepared correctly, it tastes light, crispy, and slightly oily, like a potato chip, but without the guilt of eating junk food.
Even if you don’t want to eat the skin, it’s best to keep it on your fish while cooking. It helps retain nutrients and moisture inside the meat, notes Wide Open Eats, and taking it off could make your fish both less nutrient-dense and moist.
The Health Benefits of Salmon Skin
You probably already know that salmon is good for you. It’s so healthy, in fact, that the FDA labels it as one of the “best choices” for seafood, and says you should have two to three servings of it per week. But did you know that salmon skin contains just as many, if not more of certain nutrients? Keep reading to learn about the vitamins and minerals in the part of the fish you used to throw away.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Salmon itself has a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, but the skin has a higher concentration of these healthy fats than the meat, says food site Farm to Fit. Omega-3s are considered a “healthy fat” that helps keep triglycerides, cholesterol, and blood pressure under control, as well as support heart health, according to Cleveland Clinic. Some other benefits include:
- Reduced risk of blood clots, arrhythmia, and cardiovascular disease
- Lower chance of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and age-related macular degeneration
- Protection against depression, anxiety, and inflammation
- Better skin elasticity and health
Salmon skin contains vitamin D, which is necessary for the absorption of calcium, say the experts at BluGlacier. Calcium is essential for bone health, which naturally wanes as we age, and is important for keeping osteoporosis at bay. The National Institutes of Health lists of health benefits of vitamin D:
- Maintains healthy cholesterol and blood pressure
- Increased heart health
- Regulates blood sugar levels
- Aids in brain function
BluGlacier says that salmon skin is also a good source of vitamin B. Salmon has all types of vitamin B, but is richest in vitamins B6 and B3, which are important for cholesterol management and brain health. B vitamins include multiple health benefits, says Everyday Health, like:
- Healthy metabolism
- Healthy hair and skin
- Reduced risk of stroke and heart disease
- Strengthened immunity
- Increased energy
- Reproductive health
How To Eat Salmon Skin: Crispy Salmon Skin “Bacon” Recipe
Want the health benefits but can’t bare to sink your teeth into a skin-on filet? No problem. Cook your salmon with the skin on, and take it off before you serve, but don’t throw it away — it will make for a delicious snack. Check out this recipe for Crispy Salmon Skin “Bacon” from food blogger Babaganosh.
- Remove skin from cooked filet, and remove excess meat, fat, and scales. Sprinkle with sea salt if not already seasoned.
- If pieces are large, cut into strips using kitchen scissors.
- Place into skillet on medium-low heat, scale side up. (No need to add oil to pan since skin has oil of its own.)
- Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, gently pressing on each side to ensure even cooking. Reduce heat if excessive browning occurs.
- Remove from heat and put on plate with a paper towel to cool and crisp.
Store it in the fridge for 1-2 days. The recipe creator recommends experimenting with seasonings like garlic and lemon, and eating as a snack or salad topping.
What will you do next time you make seafood? I know what I’ll be doing — saving the salmon skin! Check out this guide for finding the best salmon on the market.
ARNICARE FOR PAIN AND BRUISES!
Powered by Arnica montana, Arnicare® is designed to treat muscle pain, swelling, and discoloration from bruising. The unscented gel cools on contact and absorbs quickly into your skin, leaving no sticky or greasy residue, and provides you with the relief you seek. Learn more at Arnicare.com.