Making the most of frozen salmon
January 15, 2012 10:41 PM   Subscribe

I just ordered some wild Alaskan salmon online, partially in hopes of being able to prepare sushi for myself at home. But the fish feels a little spongy when I eat it raw after defrosting it. Is this because of how long it's been frozen? Is there any way to revitalize fish that has been frozen for a period of months?

The website states that the freezing process meets sushi / raw consumption guidelines. The packages state that the fish were caught last August.
posted by Earl the Polliwog to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It sounds like you might have a salmon slushie on your hands. Yes, that would be because of the long period of freezing. The fish is probably still fine to eat, but the mouth-feel is going to be off for good. There's no way to fix this that I know of, as the flesh has basically deteriorated.
posted by Gilbert at 11:14 PM on January 15, 2012

Best answer: My roommate's dad lives on Prudhoe Bay and spends half of every month fishing for salmon and halibut. He says that sponginess is a consequence of the lengthy freezing, and that there's nothing to be done about it. You can still eat it, though the flavor might have been affected.

As a general rule, he wouldn't keep frozen fish for longer than a couple of weeks, though he does have the luxury of being able to get fresh salmon from his backyard. He occasionally mails us frozen fish - he catches it in the morning, packs it in dry ice, sends it to Anchorage in the afternoon, and it's put on the last flight to LAX that evening. Then my roommate has to schlep all the way out there to pick up the box of fillets before they thaw. It's totally worth it. I actually ate six pounds of halibut by myself on Thursday.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 12:09 AM on January 16, 2012

Best answer: The chef at the sushi place I go to does this amazing thing with all the leftover bits of salmon (or tuna) which aren't quite pretty or big enough to feature in nigiri or maki: he takes a spoon and scrapes the flesh off the skin (if any), then minces the fish with the edge of the spoon. Once he's got a roughly fist-sized pile of salmon-or-tuna fishmush, he places it on a bed of matchstick-cut cucumber, pours some ponzu over it, and adds a dash of spicy chile oil and some tobiko to top the whole thing (if you don't have fish eggs, I'm betting sesame seeds would be awesome too -- anything with that small, crunchy mouthfeel).

Bam: sushi salad. It's actually a favorite of mine, well worth ordering in its own right, and the texture should work with what you've got. If I were you, this is how I'd "fix" your fish.
posted by vorfeed at 12:28 AM on January 16, 2012 [8 favorites]

Yeah, vorfeed nails it. Spicy sauces are traditionally the way "sushi chefs" mask the taste of not-quite-fresh fish.

You can't really help the sponginess.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:41 AM on January 16, 2012

Best answer: Along the lines of what vorfeed was saying, you could also try making a salmon tartare. Basically, just blend it with salt, pepper, some lemon juice, and spices of your choosing.
posted by Deathalicious at 12:42 AM on January 16, 2012

Response by poster: The taste seems fine, so those suggestions should be very useful. Thanks! Any more recipes like that are appreciated - I've got about fifteen pounds of the stuff!
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 12:53 AM on January 16, 2012

Salmon mousse! I have no specific recipes, but this kind of mushy fish would be perfect. But be careful.
posted by Meatbomb at 7:56 AM on January 16, 2012

You can make salmon-mayo salad and eat it by itself or put it in the center of a roll.

Start by skinning and pounding the salmon as vorfeed describes. Then mix it with a tablespoon of Japanese mayo (per serving), some crunchy roasted garlic, finely chopped scallions, a dash of soy sauce, and a dash of lemon juice.

Variations: add some diced sashimi-grade raw scallops; add extras like matchstick carrots or cucumber to give it some crunch.
posted by SakuraK at 5:06 PM on January 16, 2012

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