WE LIKE TO have fun at the dinner table and one of the most fun meals is one that comes with a dipping sauce! Some current favorites are barbecue sauce, honey mustard, and mayo with rooster sauce (aka Sriracha) or Tabasco. We especially love to dip our chicken McNuggets - but wait a sec! - I know what you’re thinking and the Mc is for McGOVERN!
So, it was McNugget night recently, but didn’t have any chicken. Thinking fast, I pulled out a package of something we will never run out of: wild salmon. Feeling like the Iron Chef Mom of the kitchen, I set out to make salmon McNuggets! They turned out very good, but the dipping sauces needed some work. I’m not too fond of barbeque sauce on my salmon. We’ve tried some different combinations, but our favorite is tzatziki sauce. It’s a dilly, tangy blend that goes great with salmon. Next we tried an avacado dip, similar to guacamole (also great). Honey mustard sauce also works well.
The hardest part of making salmon nuggets (besides catching the fish), is deboning and skinning the fillet. These annoying bones are called “pin bones”. You can feel them with your fingertips running down the thicker middle part of the fillet. If you still aren’t sure, setting your fillet skin side down on an inverted bowl will help separate the layers and expose the bones more easily.
Use tweezers to remove pin bones
I use tweezers for this task. The secret to deboning without mutilating the fish is to pull out the bones in the same direction they are “pointing” (don’t pull them straight out vertically, but at an angle).
To skin salmon, use the sharpest knife you have. Preferably a fillet knife, but a sharp chef knife will work, too. Avoid using a serrated knife. With your non-dominant hand, grab the tail end of the fish. You will use this as a “handle” to keep pressure on the skin while cutting. With your dominant hand, cut into the salmon about 1-2 inches away from the tail until you “hit” the skin, then angle your knife towards the head end of the salmon. Keeping pressure with your other hand, cut towards the head, keeping the knife angled down as you go. Keep sawing back and forth with the knife (if you’re strong enough and your knife is sharp, you can do this without moving the knife back and forth) until you reach the end. It sounds difficult, but with a little practice, it’s easy!
Salmon Mc(Govern) Nuggets
Preheat oven to 425˚
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut boneless, skinless salmon into 1 inch chunks. Toss with lime juice and salt and pepper to taste.
In a small plate or bowl, combine yogurt and Dijon mustard. In a separate plate or bowl, combine panko and coconut.
One at a time, lightly coat each chunk of salmon with yogurt mixture, then the panko mixture , pressing to coat. Transfer to parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining salmon.
Bake 7-8 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving. Serve with desired dipping sauces. Below is a recipe for our favorite.
Quick Tzatziki Sauce
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, and mix well. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.
P.S. This combo makes awesome fish tacos, too!