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Wingin’ It: Horseradish crusted salmon to help the Bills squish the fish

WNY loves horseradish and they’ll love it with salmon

Buffalo Rumblings regulars know the drill. But for the new Buffalo Bills fans circling the wagons with us, we’re about more than just football here. Need something exciting for this week’s game day chow line? Wingin’ It brings you a themed recipe for every regular-season and postseason Bills game. Like this one...

Wingin it crusted salmon

Some of you may have seen this before from me, but when I was a kid I used to be frustrated with the battle cry of “SQUISH THE FISH!” They’re mammals, right? As an adult it hit me. Misclassifying their mascot is a sign of disrespect. So now I’m with y’all! Squish the fish! This week you can do it literally as we add a horseradish-infused crust top to my favorite fish. It’s an easy recipe with fantastic results. I have the portion set for a dinner for two but it’s easy to multiply for larger groups*.

Horseradish Crusted Salmon

Serves: 2
Active Time: 0 min
Total Time: 2 hours


12 lb salmon fillet (scales and skin on or off, your choice), or two precut portions (4-6 oz each) with or without skin
Salt and pepper to taste
14 cup cracker crumbs
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp prepared horseradish

  • *For 4 servings, double your ingredients across the board:
    1 lb fillet of salmon or 4 pre-cut portions (4-6 oz each), with or without skin; 12 cup cracker crumbs; 2 Tbsp olive oil; 4 Tbsp prepared horseradish
  • For 6 servings: 1.5 lb fillet of salmon or six pre-cut portions (4-6 oz each), with or without skin; 3/4 cup cracker crumbs; 3 Tbsp olive oil; 6 Tbsp prepared horseradish
  • For 8 servings, simply double your ingredients needed for four:
    2 lb fillet of salmon or 8 pre-cut portions (4-6 oz each), with or without skin; 1 cup cracker crumbs; 4 Tbsp olive oil; 8 Tbsp prepared horseradish

You’ll need: Your choice of oven or grill for cooking

  1. Preheat: For grilling and tailgating, you want it toward the middle range of heat for most grills. If homegating, set the over to 425 degrees F.
  2. Season salmon with salt and pepper.
  3. Combine cracker crumbs, olive oil, and horseradish in a small bowl.
  4. Spread crumb mixture on the non-skin side of the fillet evenly (see below).
  5. OPTIONAL: Save money by cutting portions yourself. If you have decent knife control, you can pre-cut portions at this stage as long as you’re careful not to cut through skin. This allows you to cook it as one fillet, but have an easier time separating portions at the end as cooked salmon tends to fall apart easily
  6. Place salmon on lightly oiled foil (grilling) or a baking sheet.
  7. Grill/bake until the cracker top is firm, about 15 min (grill may take a bit longer, see below). You can push it longer to get the topping a bit crispy, if preferred.
  8. Remove from heat and serve warm.

Wingin’ It Tips and Prep Gallery

Our first picture shows the cracker coating and how I divided the fillet for later serving. The cuts are hard to see but are deep enough to cut everything but the skin. I cut mine into smaller pieces more like an hors d’oeuvre.

In picture two, the lighting is a bit off. I did not cook it until it was that dark. The lighting in picture three is better and shows the cracker top better. But for now, picture two shows that, despite the deep cuts, the fillet holds together pretty well through the cooking process.

Picture three is to reassure people who don’t like the idea of eating the skin (tastes great, but even I don’t eat the scales — which you can if you want). Salmon will fall off the skin easily. You can remove it after cooking, or even simply use a fork to flake it off while eating.

You might have wondered up above why “done” in this case was based off of the topping rather than the fish. The biggest reason for this is that the fish itself cooks pretty rapidly. It should be done by the time the cracker topping is browned and, if preferred, crispy. And don’t worry, the topping holds in the moisture and adds fat (oil), so you won’t end up with a dry fillet unless you drastically overcook it.

If you’re still worried, that’s where picture four comes in. Salmon should go from a translucent bright pink when raw, to an opaque light pink when cooked (that translates to 140 degrees F). If all you see is the light pink, you’re good. If you’re a first-time salmon person, you may also worry about the white parts that usually end up on top of the fillet or the sides. Those are fats that are really good for you. It scrapes off easy if you’re weirded out but you really should be eating that for sure.

Last but not least, I wanted a little more flair to the picture and paired this entree with some dill-infused cheese curds.