Crispy skinned salmon with chilli garlic quinoa

Crispy skinned salmon with the delicate nuttiness of  quinoa – gluten and grain free.

crispy skin salmon 3

Have you ever eaten crispy skinned salmon in a restaurant and wish you could make the same thing at home? Well now you can. It’s all just a matter of following a few simple rules and you will have crispy skinned salmon every single time. This dish pairs beautifully with quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) flavored with garlic, chilli and ginger plus a fresh, crispy salad. If you haven’t tried quinoa before, now is the perfect time. Found in health food shops or the health food section of most supermarkets, quinoa is a great replacement not only for those of you who are gluten intolerant but it’s also a good substitute for rice. It’s quite bland on its own so treat it like you would rice and add flavour, flavour, flavour.

Quinoa in its uncooked state

Quinoa is native to South America and was sacred to the ancient Incas who relied on it to give them sustenance.

Not a grain, it is in fact a seed. It comes in white, black and red. Red quinoa has an earthy taste whereas regular quinoa has a delicate nutty flavour.

When cooking with quinoa, make sure you always rinse first to remove the bitter coating called saponins. Boil till all the water has evaporated and the saucepan is dry and then turn off the heat and let the steam continue softening the quinoa – about 5 minutes or so. The seeds will have sprouted little ‘tails’. Fluff with a fork.

Now to the star of the show: HOW TO COOK CRISPY SKINNED SALMON

1) Wash and pat dry your salmon fillet and place on a plate, skin side up.

2) Sprinkle a pinch of  salt over the skin and leave for 5 minutes. The aim is to draw out moisture.

3) The skin will feel wet again so pat dry.

4) Heat an uncoated pan to medium hot. (if you only have non-stick then use this, however best results are obtained using uncoated).

5) Add oil. Do not skip this step and do not be scant with the oil. The salmon needs decent lubrication and it needs to crisp up evenly. I find that coconut oil works perfectly as it has a high heat tolerance and is so incredibly healthy for you. Plus it’s great for weight loss/maintenance.

6) Once the pan starts to smoke it’s time to add the salmon.

7) Place fillet skin side down then LEAVE IT ALONE! Most of the cooking (about 90%) should be done with the skin side down.  If you are worried that the heat may be too high then check the fillet and adjust temperature (yes you have my permission). Watch as the meat starts turning pink up the sides and when it’s close to how you like it, flip fillet over and turn the heat off while it gently cooks the other side. The thickness of your fillet will determine how long you cook it for. Thick fillets may take up to 5 minutes.

8) Do not add lemon juice or any liquids or your skin will become soggy.

9) If you’re cooking a few pieces then keep the cooked fillets warm by placing in a very low temperature oven. Do not cover with foil or all your work will come undone.


Why this is so good for you

Salmon prevents and helps treat inflammation, helps prevent depression, maintains a healthy nervous system, increases cardiovascular health and  reduces the risk of macular degeneration.

Quinoa reduces inflammation, reduces risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and colon cancer.

Onions strengthen the immune system, help regulate blood sugar, reduce inflammation, reduce the risk of gastric ulcers, help fight asthma, chronic bronchitis, hay fever, diabetes, inhibit stomach cancer and detoxify the body from heavy metals.

Chillies fight sinus congestion, aid digestion, help relieve migraines, muscle, joint and nerve pain, control blood pressure and aid in metabolism for weight loss.

Garlic has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and antioxidant properties, supports the circulatory, digestive and immune systems, helps lower blood pressure, assists in detoxification, prevents formation of blood clots, reduce blood pressure, helps fight asthma, regulates blood sugar levels in diabetics, and lowers the risk of most types of cancer.

Ginger aids digestion, reduces flatulence, relieves nausea, reduces inflammation and fights asthma and coughs..

Sunflower seeds help prevent cancer, keep bones strong, help ease inflammation such as joint pain, gastric ulcer and skin eruptions; and help prevent heart attacks.


Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Tash x

Crispy skinned salmon with chilli garlic quinoa

Serving Size: Serves 4


  • 4 salmon fillets, skin on
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • Coconut oil
  • 2 long, large red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 thumb sized piece of ginger, finely chopped (or 1 - 2 tablespoons finely chopped)
  • 1/4 cup pan toasted sunflower seeds (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped coriander leaves (or flat leaf parsley)


  1. Cook quinoa according to packet directions.
  2. Heat a large frying pan with 2 tablespoons of oil and fry the onion, chilli and ginger till onion is translucent.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Increase the heat, add another tablespoon of oil and spoon the cooked quinoa into the pan. Fry for 2 mins, ensuring everything is mixed through.
  5. Season with freshly ground sea salt and cracked black pepper.
  6. Stir through the sunflower seeds and coriander (or parsley).
  7. Cook the salmon till skin is crisp. (Refer to blog notes above).
  8. Serve with lemon wedges and a crisp green green salad.

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