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Feb 5, 2003 02:00 PM

Thawing Frozen Wild Salmon

  • t

California had some great salmon runs this year. A good friend has alot of it frozen and has graciously shared it. What is the best way to thaw it to avoid any degradation of the fish?

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  1. Catch and release would be a great starting point.

    7 Replies
    1. re: AlanH

      I don't want to be a jerk, but are you aware of the death rates for fish that are caught and released? You might as well eat them.

      (I come from a family with an environmental scientist, so please don't think I'm pulling this information from some random journal. I've seen the research. It's pretty sad.)

      1. re: Kaetchen

        Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't wild Pacific Salmon an endangered species? If you're fishing for them as they are returning to spawn, that just ain't right.

        1. re: AlanH

          I understand the stock is being sustainably managed. There is even wild salmon available for purchase, if at a luxury price. Some people are "boycotting" farmed salmon in the belief that it is less environmentally friendly than wild salmon.

          Given the fact that wild salmon is considered a superior product, it's difficult for me to imagine that people who can afford to eat it regularly are making much of a sacrifice.

          Boycotting farmed salmon will supposedly result in improved methods of aquaculture in the long run, but the prices would undoubtedly rise significantly if this were to happen.

          Since there is no excess of wild salmon for most consumers to switch to, for a truly effective boycott to work most people who eat salmon to give it up completely. I can't see that happening.

          This debate seems to be something of an East Coast/West Coast issue.

          1. re: ironmom
            Seattle Rose

            Aside from the water pollution issues involved with farm-raised Atlantic salmon here on the West Coast, the major problem with the farmed salmon, as I understand it, is when they escape from their pens. They tend to take over the habitat of the native Pacific salmon, which , in time, will render the Pacific truly extinct.


            1. re: Seattle Rose

              boy did this get off topic, but anyway.............
              the other reason(s) for not eating farm raised salmon are 1. taste - there is no comparison - wild is so much better taste and texture wise.
              and 2. the low cost of farm raised salmon is driving salmon fishermen (fisherpeople?) out of buisness.


          2. re: AlanH

            According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch, it's okay to eat California-Alaska wild-caught salmon. Here's the link:


            1. re: Nancy Berry

              Cool. Thanks. I'm surprised they did not specify wild salmon in ocean environs as opposed to breeding stock, but what do I know?

      2. s
        Seattle Rose

        Alan H's comment notwithstanding, I believe you should thaw your salmon in the refrigerator. I have eaten a lot of frozen salmon -- yours should be just fine.


        1 Reply
        1. re: Seattle Rose
          Pat Goldberg

          That's what Julia Child thinks too.

        2. Wow...

          To answer your actual Question: the best way to thaw any frozen fish or meat is either in the refrigerator, still wrapped, with a pan under it to catch any thawing juices, or in the sink. If you thaw it in the sink, wrap it well (put it in a zip lock baggie), and put it in a bowl, and run a slow stream of cold water (never hot) over the package. This is much faster than thawing in the fridge, which normally takes overnight, depending on the size of the fish/fillet.

          It's not the thawing that damages the fish (unless you microwave it, causing actual cooking), it's the freezing. Any food needs to be wrapped well (airtight), and not stored more than about a month, to prevent protein breakdown and/or freezer burn.

          No matter how tempting it is, do not thaw anything at room temperature (on the kitchen counter). It thaws from the outside in, and as it thaws, the temperature of the outside areas goes higher than the "Danger Zone" of 46*, and can actually spoil.

          Tom, I hope that you enjoy this present from your friend.

          1. I don't thaw fish steaks or filets. What I do is put them in an oiled fryingpan, pour a little white wine so it reaches @ 1/3 inch up, Add seasonings, put on lid and slowly poach/simmer. If they are thick steaks, I'll turn them over. If filets, I don't.

            When done, I reduce the juices for a pan sauce and use that as-is, or whisk in some sour cream or mayonaise to enrich it.

            The wet-cooking treatment keeps them from drying out, and also catches all the juices that would normally be lost in thawing.