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Filleting and freezing whole wild salmon?

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  • Carb Lover May 21, 2005 07:40 PM
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I am lucky to have easy, plentiful access to wild salmon right now. I can purchase it direct from the fishermen at less than half the price at my market. The catch? I have to buy a whole salmon as opposed to pre-cut fillets or steaks. These salmon are weighing in at 7+ pounds right now, so that's more than the two of us can handle in one shot, but I was told that wild salmon freezes well.

So, I'm needing some advice from you hounds about this as I am a freezer-phobe when it comes to meat (I must have the most empty freezer in all of the US), let alone seafood. Does wild salmon truly freeze well? If so, what is the best way to wrap and store so that I can ensure no to little deterioration? The more details, the better. How long does it keep?

Any tips on cleaning and filleting would also be great. I'm thinking I'd like to have a mix of fillets and steaks, so which parts of the fish are better for what? Do the head and tail make good stock for bouillabaisse or a fish stew, or is it too strong? I usually use more mild fish for a fumet. Thanks.

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  1. Salmon is too strong for stock but I could probably split a fish with you if you are interested. Freezing is tough in the home environment and I only think it works ok if you have comercial vacuum and quick freeze technology. I say gorge on it fresh now!

    Is this really only $6.50 /lb direct?

    Nathan

    1 Reply
    1. re: Nathan P.

      $5/lb. at the docks! I'll email you...

    2. I have had great with freezing fresh salmon. I would rather have really fresh frozen fish than most garbage from the grocer. Wild salmon is especially good for this.
      That said, I have found that portioned filets are easiest and best to freeze. Make sure that your work surface is VERY clean and that your knife is VERY sharp.Filet one whole side and then cut into portion size (6-8oz) pieces. Double wrap each piece in plastic wrap. There you go!
      When defrosting, place filet/s in ziploc bag and place in bowl of cold water. To defrosst faster, running water into bowl works great!

      1. No tips on cutting or freeze time, but, as for packaging..... an old fisherman friend taught me, years ago, that if you freeze the fish in a bag of
        water (or vacuum pack in water, today), when defrosted,
        it's almost indistinguishable from fresh. I've been doing it for years and it works for me. Since you have an empty freezer, the space shouldn't be an issue, as it might for some.
        Good luck, and wish I had access to your source.

        1. Don't freeze too much salmon. I find it never has the wonderful moistness that fresh salmon has. You are such a great cook that I am afraid you will be unhappy. Thanks for the information on the Zuni Cookbook. I got it from the library after hearing about your chicken and I have really enjoyed it. My chicken was wonderful!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Deva

            Thanks for your and others' comments. Glad to hear your Zuni chicken turned out well.

            Since I am a freezer-phobe, I don't think I'll freeze too much salmon but am curious about whether it can be done successfully. To play it safe, I'm going to test it w/ one fillet (maybe two using two dif. methods) first using people's suggestions and see how it goes. Will report back.

          2. Don't freeze too much salmon. I find it never has the wonderful moistness that fresh salmon has. You are such a great cook that I am afraid you will be unhappy. Thanks for the information on the Zuni Cookbook. I got it from the library after hearing about your chicken and I have really enjoyed it. My chicken was wonderful!