These chunks of salmon are tossed in a lightly spiced salt and pepper seasoning and quickly pan fried for a crispy finish.
I’m a huge fan of Chinese food but also extremely picky about it when to comes to authenticity. Sometimes I feel like most Chinese food in the U.S. has been modified to fit a more western taste but there are places that can bang out some really flavorful dishes!
If you’ve never tasted Sichuan spiced Chinese food, I highly recommend you find your closest restaurant and make a reservation quick! It’s a spicy bold flavor but not like the same heat you’d find in some strong hot sauce. Sichuan cooking mostly includes the Sichuan peppercorn, garlic and chili flakes and can be very pungent and flavorful. Salt and pepper recipes have a light coating of salt, black pepper (Sichuan peppercorns if you can find them) and cornstarch which help give a crispy texture. There’s so many types of food that you can “salt and pepper”. Usually I’ll see shrimp and maybe sometimes squid but you can essentially toss any protein in the salt and pepper spice mixture and I can almost guarantee it’ll taste amazing!
What’s usually in the salt and pepper spice mixture?
Obviously salt and pepper but try to use a salt that has a texture somewhere between fine and coarse grain and kosher. Regular table salt won’t work. If you can’t source crushed Sichuan peppercorns, a coarse black pepper will work. Cornstarch is added to help the spices stick to the salmon and also to create a light crunchy texture, sort of like a really thin tempura. The recipe would be fantastic just like this but I added one more spice to my mixture because it’s a big favorite of mine and I really want you to try it! It’s Chinese five spice and very hard to explain what it smells and tastes like. If I had to try I’d say it was sort of a warm spice so think cinnamon, cloves and anise. It completely transfers food and can be found at most regular grocery or semi-specialized stores.
Do I have to deep fry the salmon?
No, you just need a shallow amount of oil in the pan. I like to use peanut oil as it has to be quite hot. You’ll also want make sure to use a good non stick pan or things will get messy. I cut my salmon into chunks but you could also season a whole filets like this and serve them with brown or white rice. The salmon only take a few minutes to cook as long as you cut them on the thinner side and not chunks or cubes which would take longer.
Once your salt and pepper salmon bites are cooked, a simple garnish of chopped green onion and red pepper flakes are all they need. Feel free to add a drop of chili oil if you really like it spicy. I think you’ll love this recipe and don’t forget you could also switch the salmon for shrimp or scallops. The flavor is insanely good!
Don’t forget to tag me if you make this recipe or any others, I love to see what people are making so use @foodnessgracious and I’ll take a peek!
Here are some other seafood recipes I think you’ll love!
Salt and Pepper Salmon Bites
- 1/2 pound skinless salmon filet
- 1 tsp coarse black pepper
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp five spice
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 1/4 cup peanut oil
- 1/4 cup sliced green onions
- red pepper flakes
- Slice the salmon into strips about an inch thick.
- In a bowl combine the pepper, salt, five spice and cornstarch.
- Add the salmon pieces and toss well making sure the salmon is well coated.
- In a medium sized pan stick pan heat the oil until hot.
- Gently place the salmon into the hot oil and cook for about 2 minutes. Turn the salmon pieces over and repeat with the other side until salmon is fully cooked.
- Transfer the salmon to a pepper town to absorb any excess oil.
- Serve with rice and garnish with chopped green onions and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.