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Crispy Skin Salmon with Cauliflower and Pancetta

  • Author: Emily Wilson
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x
  • Category: Salmon
  • Cuisine: American


Crispy Skin Salmon with Cauliflower and Pancetta is easier than you might think. Try it for dinner tonight or serve it up the next time you have guests over.


  • 2 6-ounce salmon filets, skin on, all scales removed
  • 4 ounces cubed pancetta
  • 3 cups cauliflower florets, trimmed to just slightly larger than the pancetta
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons white wine or Champagne Vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter, unsalted
  • 2 cups Cress greens, or other baby greens
  • 1 orange
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper


  1. Set a medium saute pan over medium-high heat. Add pancetta and cook until render is rendered and pieces are crisp, about 5-8 minutes. Stir often. Transfer crispy pancetta to a clean plate lined with paper towels. Reserve the pan with about 1 tablespoon of fat for cooking the cauliflower.
  2. While the pancetta cooks, trim the cauliflower and chop the parsley.
  3. Pat salmon filets dry. Be sure fish is totally descaled. Season filets with salt and pepper.
  4. Set a medium non-stick saute pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and warm. Once oil is very hot add the salmon filets skin-side down. Sear until skin is crisp and salmon sides look nearly halfway cooked up the sides. Carefully flip the filets over and lower the heat to medium. Continue to cook until sides look completely cooked. For 1/2-1 inch thick filets this should take about 9-12 minutes for medium cooked center.
  5. Set the pancetta pan back over medium-high heat. Once pan is very hot, add cauliflower. Sear for 5-8 minutes, resisting the urge to stir or toss for the first 3-4 minutes. This will allow the cauliflower to brown. Season lightly with salt and pepper, then add the white wine vinegar. Cook until liquid is absorbed then add back the pancetta and finish with chopped parsley and butter. Toss until butter is melted then remove from heat.
  6. In a small mixing bowl, toss the cress with 1 tablespoon of juice from the orange and season with salt and pepper. To plate, scoop some of the cauliflower mixture onto each dinner plate. Top with a filet of salmon, skin-side facing up. Loosely collect the greens and pile high atop the salmon. Serve warm!


For more information on properly descaled salmon, see my description in the blog post.