Eww! What’s That White Stuff Coming out of My Salmon?

salmon

Dieticians recommend having cold water, fatty fish twice a week. Any more than that and the mercury and other contaminants found in them outweigh the health benefits. The most healthful varieties include: salmon, halibut, sardines, mackerel and more. These contain omega-3 fatty acids which are heart healthy and anti-inflammatory—helping to prevent a whole host of diseases. Salmon is by far the most popular and perhaps the priciest. Most people like it because it’s light, tender, feels fancy and can be prepared in so many mouthwatering ways. But often they never stray from a simple lemon and dill sauce. Why not try it in pasta dishes, make salmon cakes or even be daring and whip up a smoked salmon Rangoon? You can poach it, bake it and grill it. You can even cook it as the Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest once did, on a cedar board before an open campfire.  When you buy it, be sure to pick up fresh caught fish over the farm raised kind. Fresh caught will have a special sticker, the other kind will not. Fresh caught fish contain more omega-3s as they’ve been eating other fish all their life. Farm raised fish eat mostly grain and develop less omega-3s as a result.

Some diners and cooks have noticed that salmon has one drawback, some yucky white stuff leaks out as you cook it. So what’s with the white stuff? First of all, don’t get excited. Though it may look unnatural, in fact it’s merely coagulated protein called albumin. Some people confuse this with albumen which is egg whites. The former is spelled with an “i” the latter with an “e”. There is nothing unhealthful about it. It’s 100% all natural, though gross looking. It comes out no matter which way you prepare it. As the fish cooks, the protein works its way out of the muscle fibers. When it pools on the surface you get those globs of white gook. Though there have been legends and myths of this not happening, they are all patently false. Any way you cook salmon, albumin is going to seep out. A little brining however can minimize the amount. Add 1-tbsp. of salt per cup of water. Submerge and soak the salmon in the mixture for about ten minutes before cooking to minimize albumin.

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