How to I get rid off the white stuff when I cook salmon?

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?

  • Posted by: afox001
  • August 27, 2012
  • 116202 views
  • 9 Comments

8 Comments

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davidpdx
davidpdx August 27, 2012

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.

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Voted the Best Reply!

boulangere
boulangere August 27, 2012

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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mensaque
mensaque August 29, 2012

Hey,B!Where have you been?Missed you!

Meatballs&Milkshakes
Meatballs&Milkshakes August 28, 2012

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.

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AntoniaJames
AntoniaJames August 28, 2012

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)

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ChefOno
ChefOno August 28, 2012

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.

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petitbleu
petitbleu August 28, 2012

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!

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mensaque
mensaque August 29, 2012

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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Michael Celestino
Michael Celestino April 11, 2018

Egg whites = Albumen not Albumin, One cut of salmon may have a lot the next a little, cooking temp has little to do with the amount of coagulating albumin, that is fake news. Brining does help, it breaks down the muscle/protein whateva. Most importantly, it is completely normal and harmless, scrape it off and get on with your lives.

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