Cooks and food lovers will understand what I mean when I say that most people don’t understand the art that is properly cooked salmon. It is easier to overcook salmon than it is to ride a bike. Just one minute longer is enough to ruin it completely. This is why the majority remain confused about how to properly cook salmon.
Can you eat salmon rare and medium-rare? How do you even know if it is rare or medium-rare?
It is easy to get lost in the magic of cooking, so we have brought you this short guide to preparing and eating salmon. Feel free to recommend delicious and easy-to-follow recipes in the comments!
Can You Eat Salmon Rare?
Yes, you can eat salmon rare. However, you should ensure it has been previously frozen to -4 or degrees Fahrenheit or below for a week or -30 degrees Fahrenheit or below for 15 hours. Then it can be seared on the outside and left rare on the inside. This is because of safety reasons. Eating raw or undercooked, never frozen salmon can give you a bacterial or viral infection.
If you are going to eat salmon rare, then freezing it beforehand provides an extra layer of safety by killing some of the parasites that might be in it. Also, ensure it is not undercooked, otherwise, you might get really sick. Another factor to consider is where the salmon was gotten from. Farmed salmons are known to have lower parasite rates compared to others because they are mostly fed food pellets.
Although the recommended and safer way to eat salmon is medium or medium-rare – because it is easier to mess up rare salmon – with some extra caution, you can also safely eat rare or even raw salmon.
Can You Eat Salmon Medium-Rare?
Yes, you can eat salmon medium-rare. The best way to eat salmon is between medium (125 degrees Fahrenheit to 140 degrees Fahrenheit) and medium-rare (110 degrees Fahrenheit to 125 degrees Fahrenheit). It is also best to properly freeze the salmon first as described above to further kill any existing parasites. Medium rare salmon leaves it with the best texture and flavor – a flaky crust on the outside and moist on the inside.
A properly done medium rare salmon is translucent and deep orange or red. It should be moist on the inside but not raw. A lot of restaurants serve salmon medium because of the flavor. However, it is not always easy to attain. When cooking salmon in any particular way, it is best to follow experienced guidance because of how easy it is to mess up. And once it is messed up, there’s no going back.
What Temperature Is Medium-Rare Salmon?
The temperature of a properly done medium rare salmon is between 110 degrees Fahrenheit and 125 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything above this is medium salmon and anything above 145 degrees Fahrenheit is overcooked.
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Can Eating Undercooked Salmon Cause Food Poisoning?
Yes, eating undercooked salmon can cause food poisoning and parasitic, bacterial, and viral infections. It is best to completely avoid undercooked salmon especially if you are in a high-risk group, for example, children, pregnant women, older adults, cancer patients, liver disease patients, people with transplanted organs, diabetics, immunocompromised persons, or HIV patients. You can have properly done raw, rare, medium, and medium-rare salmon but never undercooked salmon.
We recommend ensuring that any salmon you plan to eat has been previously frozen to -4 or degrees Fahrenheit or below for a week or -30 degrees Fahrenheit or below for 15 hours. This freezing is going to help kill some of the parasites that might be in the salmon and protect you from getting any kind of food poisoning or tapeworm infection. You should also check the salmon properly to ensure it’s safe to eat. It should not smell so fishy or musky, it should not look gray and it should feel moist and firm not slimy or breaking apart.
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How To Prepare Raw Salmon
When getting your salmon from a reputable fish market, remember to inspect the salmon and make sure it looks good and not slimy, smelly, or grey. Then follow the steps below to prepare the raw salmon:
- Get a big, sharp, and flexible knife – preferably a salmon or fillet knife for the best results.
- Cut off the head – place the salmon straight on its side and start cutting from just below the collarbone till you hit the spine on one side, then flip it and do the same on the other side. Then finally disconnect the head by cutting through the spine.
- Cut the salmon in two – cut above the anal fin on one side first, cutting only skin then going deeper with straight cuts along the backbone. Then disconnect the meat from the spine. On the same side of the salmon, turn to the backside and cut the same way, but above the dorsal and adipose fins. The backbone should be beneath the knife. Continue cutting until you can see the backbone. Then cut the connection between the meat and backbone, pass the knife through the salmon, hold on to the tail and cut it in half along that line. Afterward, disconnect the tail and take off the top part you just cut off.
- Remove the spine – after taking the top part off, you should be able to clearly see the spine. Put the knife in right below the spine at the top edge of the fish and cut through to the bottom. While doing this, cut off the anal fin and keep it aside, then keep cutting off the spine but angle the knife downward to cut off the rest of the tail.
- Remove the belly bones – this part has a lighter color and is the thinnest side of the salmon. First, cut off the pelvic fin and keep it aside. Then slide the knife softly beneath the belly bones making sure you can see the blade through the bones to ensure you’re not cutting off so much of the meat. Turn it and do the same, cutting off the dorsal fin as you go. Cut them off layer by layer until you’re finished.
- Pull out the pin bones – use tweezers to pull out the pin bones. Feel around the side of the salmon for the pin bones and pull them out when you feel them. Then move to the top of the salmon, pulling them out as you go. Pull the bones towards the head and not the tail to avoid breaking the meat.
- Cut into small pieces – make a straight edge at the top by cutting off the edge, keep this part with the fins you cut off earlier (you can use them later on). Then cut each piece to be 3 inches wide, you can measure this with your four fingers. After that, you can remove any other lighter parts you notice. Do the same for the top part of the fish.
- Remove the fishiness – sprinkle some salt in a tray and place the pieces in it, sprinkling more salt in the tray and on the pieces as you go. Then leave it for 30 minutes.
- Wash – rinse the salt off the pieces under the tap and then place them on a paper towel. Make sure the water pressure is low to avoid damaging the meat.
- Introduce rice vinegar – after rinsing the pieces, pour some rice vinegar into a bowl and place them in it. Ensure they are completely soaked in the vinegar. Wait for two minutes (you can flip them after a minute) and take them out. You would notice that the color is much lighter. Do the same for the rest of the pieces, with as many as the bowl can conveniently take without overlapping. After that, wrap the salmon with a paper towel to dry out the excess vinegar and then wrap the pieces tightly in any plastic wrap twice and freeze for 7 days.
Finally, after freezing, let them thaw in the fridge. You can decide to cook or eat your salmon however you wish.
There are many different ways to eat and cook salmon. It is versatile, expensive, and difficult to prepare – the perfect combination for an elegant meal. It requires a learning curve, but with proper guidance and continuous practice, it’ll become easier and you won’t have to worry about undercooking or overcooking your salmon.