Crisp king salmon tail with pomelo, peanut & chilli salad

Crisp king salmon tail with pomelo, peanut & chilli salad

4 as part of a shared meal
Chris Middleton

For this dish we use NZ Ōra king salmon tails, the tails being a by-product of the cutting of salmon cutlets. The skin turns super crispy, like a salmon ‘crackling’. The salad features pomelo, which is one of my favourite fruits. I love the way it bursts with flavour in your mouth!


Quantity Ingredient
1 king salmon tail, weighing at least 500 g
50ml fish sauce
vegetable oil, for deep-frying
1 lime, cut into 2 cheeks


Quantity Ingredient
4 thin slices fresh galangal, about 2 cm round
1 tablespoon thai shrimp paste
180g chopped palm sugar
60ml fish sauce
3 red bird’s eye chillies, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons grated coconut, lightly toasted, (see Note)
1 tablespoon peanuts, toasted
45ml Tamarind water

Pomelo, peanut & chilli salad

Quantity Ingredient
1 large pomelo, segmented and broken into small pieces
160g roughly chopped roasted peanuts
1 handful picked thai basil
1 handful picked coriander
2 red bird’s eye chillies, halved, seeded and cut into half-rounds


  1. For the dressing

    Preheat the oven to 175°C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Wrap the shrimp paste in foil and place on the baking tray with the galangal slices. Roast for 20–30 minutes, or until the galangal is dry and slightly crisp, and the shrimp paste is dry.
  2. Meanwhile, place the palm sugar in a saucepan with the fish sauce and 60 ml water. Warm over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and starts to become a light syrup consistency. Set aside.
  3. Place the roasted galangal and shrimp paste in a food processor with the chilli, coconut and peanuts. Add a large pinch of sea salt and blitz until finely chopped.
  4. Stir the spice mixture through the cooled palm sugar syrup until combined. Add the tamarind water and mix thoroughly. The dressing should taste sweet, salty, sour and hot! Set aside.
  5. For the salmon

    Wash the salmon under cold running water to remove any slime and loose scales. Pat dry with paper towel. Working from the cut end, cut seven or eight slits, parallel to the line of the cut end, at 1.5 cm intervals, all the way to the tail end. Repeat on the other side of the fish. Rub the tail, including the insides of the cuts, with the fish sauce, then leave to sit for 5 minutes. This will season the fish and help it crisp up during frying.
  6. Heat about 10 cm of vegetable oil in a large saucepan to 180°C. Test by dipping a wooden chopstick into the oil: the chopstick will sizzle when the oil is ready. Gently lower the salmon tail in and cook for 5–6 minutes, until crispy and slightly undercooked on the bone, when you check inside the slit on the thickest part of the fillet — remember the fish will keep cooking once it is out of the oil. Remove with a large slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.
  7. To serve

    Place the salmon tail on a platter. Toss the salad ingredients with the dressing until well coated. Serve alongside the salmon, with the lime cheeks.


  • To toast grated coconut, spread it over a baking tray lined with baking paper and toast in a 160°C oven for 10–15 minutes, until golden and slightly crisp.
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