Ritz-Crusted Salmon Is The Dish That'll Knock Your Socks Off

Fresh or frozen, canned or smoked, Americans love their salmon. From a nutritional perspective, the fatty fish is a total powerhouse loaded with protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin B12. So it should come as no surprise that, today, it is the second most consumed species of seafood (per capita) in the country, ahead of tuna and trailing only shrimp. Look hard enough and you can find salmon in everything from sushi rolls and poke bowls to bagels, Caesar salads, and sandwiches.

However, despite being widely popular, salmon is somewhat of a polarizing protein. Depending on how it's prepared, it can have a distinct fishy flavor and aroma that may be a turn-off for people sensitive to any degree of oceanic funk. Its texture may also leave something to be desired: Cooked too long and it becomes withered and tough; cooked too little and it becomes soft and mushy.

For these reasons, when cooking salmon for your folks, friends, or dinner guests, you'll want to pair the fish with ingredients that complement its natural flavor while also enhancing its textural qualities. To achieve this magic harmony of taste and texture, one useful technique utilized by professionals and home cooks alike is covering your salmon in a crust. And there's no better bread crumb to deliver on both taste and crunch than a Ritz Cracker coating.

How to create an award-winning crust

A Ritz Cracker crust brings a lot to the party, adding a buttery note, toasty flavor, and light crunch to your salmon, while also improving the appearance of the finished dish. But making the perfect crust is not as simple as pulverizing a sleeve of crackers and patting it all over your fish.

Ritz may be delicious on their own, but when used to coat your salmon, you'll want to pair them with some supporting ingredients. One option is to introduce herbs and seasonings into the mixture. A few sprigs of rosemary, a sprinkle of Old Bay Seasoning, or some fresh lemon zest can help balance the richness of the crackers and round out the overall flavor of the dish. And just because you're using Ritz Crackers as the base of your crust doesn't mean you can't bolster the crunch factor with other things like ground-up potato chips, cereal, pretzels, or nuts.

So how do you ensure your beautiful and fragrant Ritz Cracker crust adheres to your fish through the baking process? Try drizzling in some melted or clarified butter to your dry ingredients until the mixture is slightly wet, sort of like damp sand. You can also coat your uncooked salmon filet with any combination of mustard, honey, miso paste, egg wash, maple syrup, etc. to boost the sticky factor and contribute another layer of flavor to the fish.

Other ways to use Ritz Crackers in your cooking

Have an extra sleeve of Ritz Crackers sitting in your cabinets? Don't let them go to waste. You can do a lot with these salty, buttery little discs.

The most obvious is using them in place of breadcrumbs. Break up the Ritz Crackers with a rolling pin or food processor and sprinkle them over pasta or macaroni and cheese for some extra saltiness and crunch. You can do something similar when it comes to making a casserole (because, seriously, who doesn't love that top layer of toasty goodness?). Bread crumbs are a normal addition to meatballs and burgers, so why not try Ritz Crackers as an alternative?

And if you're a fan of pie — sweet or savory — Ritz Crackers make an excellent bottom crust that's simple to put together and a nice departure from your classic pie crust recipe. Speaking of sweet, the Ritz Cracker can also be the unexpected star of your dessert tray. Dip the crackers in chocolate or, better yet, drop a platter of these Ritz Cracker-bacon brickle bites on your dessert table and watch with glee as they quickly disappear. Regardless of how you use them, one thing remains certain. Ritz can totally elevate your next home-cooked fish.