The Raw Truth: How to Enjoy Wild Prince William Sound Salmon at Home
Eating raw fish, particularly raw salmon, has become increasingly popular in recent years, with dishes such as ceviche, poke, crudo, and sushi gaining popularity. While many people enjoy the unique taste and texture of raw fish, some may have concerns about its safety. Let’s talk about some safety concerns around eating raw fish, specifically raw salmon, and I'll provide tips on how to enjoy raw salmon at home.
Courtesy of Sara Hauman, thetinyfishco.com
It is important to understand that like any other raw meat, raw salmon has the potential to contain harmful bacteria or parasites. However, with wild salmon, you do not have to worry about antibiotics or aquaculture drugs. Wild salmon may contain naturally occurring parasites, but these can easily be rendered harmless by changing the temperature of the fish.
The FDA officially recommends that raw salmon (and other fish) be frozen to at least -4F for 7 days to eliminate any bacteria or parasites that may be present. This may come as a surprise to some, as many people have been told that the best sushi fish is fresh fish. However, freezing fish while it's still on a boat for example, or near the origin of harvest is one of the best ways to maintain its fresh taste. If you are buying “sashimi-grade” fish at a market or restaurant in the United States, it has been frozen to this standard or above, ensuring that it is safe to eat.
To enjoy raw salmon at home, it is essential to start with the highest quality fish. Wild Prince William Sound salmon is a great option, known for its rich flavor and high quality. When buying salmon, look for fish that is bright in color, with firm flesh and a fresh, clean smell. Avoid any fish that has a dull or discolored appearance, or a strong odor.
When handling raw salmon, it is important to practice good hygiene and cleanliness. Make sure your hands and any equipment you use are clean and sanitized. Keep raw fish separate from other foods to avoid cross-contamination. And, as mentioned earlier, if you want to be extra safe, you can also freeze the fish for 7 days at -4F.
Chris Miller Photography
While there are safety concerns around eating raw fish, particularly raw salmon, these can easily be mitigated by taking the appropriate precautions. By starting with high-quality fish, practicing good hygiene, and freezing the fish to eliminate any potential bacteria or parasites, you can safely enjoy the delicious taste of raw salmon at home.
Below is one of our favorite Copper River recipes, Kimchi Salmon Poke, provided by our friend Alana Kysar of Fix Feast Flair.
Reprinted with permission from The Poke Cookbook
- 2 tsp. soy sauce
- 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
- 1/2 tsp. finely minced garlic
- 1 lb. salmon, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 c. chopped kimchi
- 1/2 c. thinly sliced scallions (green parts only)
- Salt to taste
- Small and medium bowl
- In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, ginger, and garlic. Stir, and let the ginger and garlic sit for about 5 minutes to mellow.
- In a medium bowl, toss the salmon with the sesame oil until it is evenly coated--this will prevent the acidity in the kimchi from "cooking" the fish. Add the kimchi, scallions, and soy sauce mixture. Fold gently until thoroughly mixed. Taste, and add salt as needed; if your kimchi is already well seasoned, you may not need any salt.
- Serve immediately or cover tightly and refrigerate for up to a day. If you let the poke marinate, taste it again right before serving; you may need to season it with a pinch of salt.
Notes: I added almost double the ginger, garlic, and sesame oil to my poke (which, is just to say, taste as you go and season accordingly). I also recommend using Hawaiian salt or a pinch of kosher salt if possible.
Kimchi Salmon Poke, By Alana Kysar