Whether I saute, bake, broil or grill my salmon, I get white gunk. I know it has to do with the fat content, but how do I avoid it/get rid of it while cooking it?
It is just coagulated protein (similar to the albumin in egg whites). You can't get rid of it while cooking, although cooking more rare than medium or well-done will minimize it. Just scrape it off before serving the fish.
Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.
davidpdx is spot-on that "the white stuff" is coagulated protein, and its presence usually means that you are cooking it too fast/exposing it to too high heat. Turn the heat down, be patient, and it shouldn't be a problem. And don't be afraid to add a bit of white wine to temper the heat effect a bit.
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I had this problem and Michael Symon told me to cook it at a much lower temperature for less time. I now cook it in the oven at 250 degrees for 10-12 minutes and it solves the problem.
AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.
Put it in a brine solution for no more than five minutes, then pat and dry before cooking. I'm not real scientific about this -- I just put water in a flat dish, enough the cover the fish, then throw in a big pinch of salt and let it dissolve. Then I brine the fish and voila! No coagulated protein. I have no idea how or why it works. I just read about it somewhere, some time ago, but don't remember the source. I do know that it works for fillets of about 1 - 1.5 pounds. ;o)
Antonia's solution of brining works because salt draws moisture from within the cellular structure so that the proteins can't then flow out. It doesn't have to be plain brine -- soy sauce, teriyaki and similar treatments compliment salmon very well and will also do the trick (and in which case I allow 15 min. to let the flavor penetrate a little deeper).
I believe it to be the temperature of the fish, not the rate of cooking that's critical because the same thing will happen sous vide. Of course when you cook over high heat the outermost flesh will reach a higher final temperature so both actually are factors. Fish is delicate, always treat it gently.
I read the brine thing somewhere and can't seem to remember where. Probably Harold McGee. I find, though that this doesn't always work. We briefly brined a large chunk of salmon, and then baked it, and we still had the coagulated protein problem. Still tasted okay, though!
What I do is season it with salt and pepper about 10 min.before cooking it on a not-that-hot pan with butter and olive oil.No white gunk.
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