HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >


How would I like my salmon? PERFECT

  • s

One of my most hated questions: “how would you like your salmon?” My answer is always the same… I want it slightly crispy on the outside, cooked through the middle, and not dry. Tuna, yes, can be rare. But salmon is different and restaurants seem to confuse the two. If you happen to like your salmon rare this can be specified, but my feeling is that the assumed preparation should be no different than that of red snapper, halibut, or chicken. It should be the chef’s take (which may vary) on “perfect.”

Last night I ordered salmon at the Clinton Street Bakery and the waitress posed this question. I took a deep breath and tried to explain my feelings above, and she recommended medium. I stressed I wanted it cooked through and went with her recommendation, but it came back raw. This is becoming a regular occurrence and I don’t know how best to convey myself. It’s not a steak and I hate having to guess what level of instruction is going to yield the results I desire.

I’m curious what other chowhounds have to say on this topic. Does anyone else share my frustration?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I have the same thing with diver scallops. I like them cooked through, but someone decided awhile back that scallops and salmon should be rare? Don't get it, dont think it gives the fish justice.

    2 Replies
    1. re: gyppielou

      I always specify "cooked through" when ordering Salmon. Call it Medium, Medium Well or whatever you like. Cook it through or I am sending it back. It is very tough to dry out salmon due to its oily nature and thickness.

      1. re: princeofpork

        I agree, and just like my Beef Tenderloin, I try to describe just what I want - warm red center for the Beef, and "flaky" for the Salmon. As you say, "call it, what you will," but I want it, as I ordered it - let the wait staff and the kitchen sort out what to call it.

        Same for Duck Breast. I describe it, and that is what I want.


    2. The trend of cooking Salmon rare, or pan seared only may have started with cuisine from Gilbert Le Coze, of Le Bernardin. After all the acclaim he received following the restaurants opening......many other followed his examples.

      It was widely known he served his Salmon only this way......when a customer would send it back to be cooked up as ordered........he refused and told the patron to order something else.

      1. Jfood thinks that salmon is different than your cited examples (halibut, snapper, chicken)because M&M jfood disagree on the level of doneness in salmon (not the other three) and they are just two data points.

        Interesting that in the first paragraph you want the "chef's take" while in the second paragraph you you state "the results I desire." Did you leave the word "not" in the chef's take sentence? Which are you looking for? If it is yours, why the angst about describing to the server, once again they are not, nor is the kitchen, mindreaders.

        Jfood likes his rare in the middle and mrs jfood, like you, wants it cooked through. And mrs jfood has sent several back to the kitchen for further heating. She has found that ordering it "medium" seems to give the correct indication to most kitchens, but again there will be exceptions.

        So to your "PERFECT" comment in the header, you and mrs jfood have a different perfect than jfood.

        14 Replies
        1. re: jfood

          Jfood does have a point. I guess I should clarify that my frustration is more surrounding the question itself. I feel the chef should have a preferred method of cooking, and that being asked indicates that he/she does not (fourunder pointed out that Gilbert Le Coze was very adamant about his salmon preparation, and I respect that). It’s true that my idea of perfect salmon may differ from what the chef and others like Jfood envision, but when I am given a choice AND it comes out wrong, it conveys to me that the chef has both a lack of vision and skill. This will likely continue to be a negotiation, but I’d prefer my salmon be served to me with conviction. And, ideally, it should reflect some version of perfection ;-)

          1. re: Stacy

            I'm probably with jfood on this. I think there is generally a preferred (if not correct) degree of 'doneness' for many foods (I don't like my poulty medium rare, nor do I like it overcooked and dry). But Salmon, like most cuts of beef has a lot of lattitude. I also like my Salmon no more than med rare in the center and my wife likes it pretty much medium throughout. While I would absolutely rely on the chef as to the method of cooking the salmon, how to season/sauce it, etc., I would never order it without making it clear how much doness I prefer (and then the chef is perfectly within his right to tell me I'm an idiot and please order something else....)

            1. re: bnemes3343

              I think salmon should always be poached, and I like it cooked through too. I don't like all this raw fish and don't thnk it's good for you, it's probably full of parasites.

              1. re: bronwen

                Well, if raw or less than fully cooked fish is full of parasites, they must be having a party in me (and LOTS of others). I could (probably) eat a piece of salmon that was 'cooked through', as you say, but would you do the same with a wonderful piece of Tuna? And I'm guessing that sashimi of any kind isn't one of your go-to foods. Is there anything better than a piece of raw beef, pounded very thin with some salt, drizzled oil and a few shaves of parmesan? Hey, parasites have rights too!

                1. re: bnemes3343

                  Frankly I could use a parasite right now. The diet is not going so well.

                  Personally, I think it is a shame to cook a good piece of fish. There are a few chefs out there who do it well, but most do not, and so I find I very rarely order cooked fish in a restaurant, unless I know they are good, or if they specialize in fish.

                  I understand Stacey's frustration. It is always difficult to send back your meal to have them redo it. It throws off the rhythm of the meal. Negotiation will always have to happen. And it is hard because "perfection" is such a subjective thing...

                  1. re: moh

                    "Frankly I could use a parasite right now. The diet is not going so well."

                    lol :) sadly, there are frustrated dieters who do resort to such extreme measures.

                    regarding the salmon issue, i think it's similar to ordering a steak. you should have it cooked the way you want it. period.

                    personally i can't stand my salmon if it's cooked at all past medium, and i like my steak rare to medium rare...and when i order it that way, that's how i expect it to be cooked when my plate arrives.

                    so if stacy wants "slightly crispy on the outside, cooked through the middle, and not dry," and that's what she's paying the restaurant for, then that's how they should serve it to her.

                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      ah yes, a friend and I have been known to travel back from India with a small brass flask of Ganges water.....meaningful, certainly, but useful also we thought if we wanted to lose 15 lbs in one fell swoop!

                  2. re: bnemes3343

                    It is probably more likely that you can get a parasitic infection from raw beef than you can from raw fish. Fish do have many parasites but most parasites that live in cold-blooded hosts have a very hard time transferring to a warm-blooded host (you). For example, nematodes can cause a severe gastric upset called anisakiasis but the nematodes usually cannot live longer than 7-10 days in the human digestive tract. As for raw fish (sashimi), Japan's National Health Institute recommends freezing fish to -4°F for several hours when preparing raw fish. This kills the parasites. I have no idea if Japanese restaurants here in the U.S. follow this guideline but I'd like to think that our FDA is on top of this.

                    1. re: ThaiNut

                      all raw fish served in the US is SUPPOSED to be frozen first.

                      1. re: ThaiNut

                        I'm pretty sure that in Canada, the fish must be frozen at -18C for seven days to kill the parasites before it can be served for sushi or tartare.

                        1. re: ThaiNut

                          The incidence of parasitic infection caused by raw beef (and pork for that matter) is extrememly rare. Go to the CDC's website and review the Monthly Morbidity and Weekly Report. The statistics show that you have more chance of getting an infection from undercooked bear or cougar meat than from commercially raised beef\pork.

                          Fish parasites in man are usually (I said usually) caused by fresh water fish fish which is why they don't serve raw trout/eel/etc. in Japan. Anago (salt water eel) you'll find as sashimi but Unagi (fresh water eel) is allways cooked.

                  3. re: Stacy

                    Thanks Stacy. Here is a typical conversation at Table Jfood.

                    Mrs jfood orders a fish. server asks how would she like it. mrs jfood responds. "cooked through, probably medium."
                    Jfood orders a fish. server asks how would he like it. jfood answers, "the way the chef wants to prepare it."

                    They come out together and are hopefully cooked to each of their requests. That's a good resto. If it comes out other than requested jfood agrees there is less than adequate skill.

                    1. re: Stacy

                      Wait a minute: now I'm confused: whose conviction should it be served with, and whose vision of perfection? you want it to be PERFECT, but you also want it to be the chef's idea of PERFECT...? In other words, you have a very specific idea of how you want it, but you also think the chef has his own idea, and if they vary, well, ....It sounds as though what you would really like is for the chef to NOT give you a choice, but to have the same exact vision as you anyway and to follow his/her vision, which happens to coincide with yours...(though as others have pointed out, a lot of folks don't share that vision: I also prefer that salmon be rare).

                      Is it possible that this ambivalence is somehow coming out even though you don't intend it to, which could in turn be confusing for the server?

                    2. re: jfood

                      I agree with jfood. Salmon is different from the other cited examples.

                      In our family I happen to like my salmon from almost rare to a silky medium (in the center) -and the Hubby wants it medium to fully cooked (not dry). He takes his tuna black and blue. (We both love sushi, but that is different.)

                      I do appreciate it when the waiter asks how I want something cooked. In a restaurant that I trust, I usually answer the question: "The way the Chef thinks is the best".

                      But just last week I was served cod that was mostly totally rare. I sent it to be reheated, since I really do not think cod is OK to eat rare...? The restaurant was apologetic, so I guess they agreed. (No one had asked me how I want it cooked, so that was an indication too, since they usually ask).

                    3. I am not a fan of Salmon it usually has a slightly funky aroma & flavor that doesn't jive with me. However... raw Salmon, rare & smoked I really dig.

                      Cooked through... no way in hell, when I am cooking it and it starts to seep those white "boogers" as it goes through the Medium cooking phase it usually ruins my appetite... but a beutifully rare center is quite attractive, no "boogers", and a crispy exterior... now we are talking!

                      10 Replies
                      1. re: Eat_Nopal


                        When those white things (just can't get to your word, if you do not mind) that usually indicates that the correct temp has been reached for jfood's family and is overcooked for jfood.

                        1. re: Eat_Nopal

                          That "slightly funky aroma & flavor" tells that the (piece of) salmon is not really fresh. For me, this is one of the big downsides of living in New York...

                          1. re: FoodWine

                            Not necessarily... I've had fresh, line caught Salmon here in Northern California... there is still this funkyness that reminds me of Sardines... very oceany fish.

                            1. re: Eat_Nopal

                              OK, I hear you.
                              The reason I chimed in, is that growing up, I spent my summers on an island (in Scandinavia) and got used to "minutes ago" caught fish, including salmon. A fisherman used to stop by and give us some just caught fish, on his way back home. I also caught fish myself (nets & line).
                              So I know what fresh fish looks and smells like.
                              That is why I am so frustrated here in New York: so many times the people at my various local fish stores try to tell me -with a straight face - that their fish is super fresh -and I do not even have to smell it to know that it so is not fresh.
                              Maybe I should move to Northern California... sounds like heaven to me...

                              What makes our differing experiences of the salmon aroma even more interesting, is that you mention sardines. I dislike the sardine smell, and rarely eat them. (The hubby does, though, so I get to "enjoy" those aromas every now and then.)

                              Maybe the California salmon has a slightly different aroma than the salmon from the Gulf of Finland & Gulf of Botnia...?


                              It just occurred to me that maybe we are not talking about the same thing:
                              I am talking about the scent of a fresh, raw piece of salmon... If you are talking about the smell it emits while being cooked, yes, I agree... there is a funky aroma (and because I have a really bad venting system in my kitchen, I therefore mostly cook salmon in the oven, or under the broiler in the oven, not on the stovetop.)

                              But, like I mentioned, too often a raw piece of salmon smells funky already in the fish store, here in New York. I thought you were talking about that.

                              1. re: FoodWine

                                Raw Salmon is wonderful... its the cooking that brings out that Sardine like flavor. My wife explained to me that its the high content of Omega fatty acids (which tend to be quite volatile particularly as they are heated)... that is why if you cook the Salmon under medium... it will not develop that fishyness that I am not so fond of.

                                On the other hand... I have had very palatable pieces of fresh salmon that have been cooked almost done.... they just happen to be sauced liberally & grilled by someone other than me!

                                1. re: FoodWine

                                  Also if you want to experience this heaven in Northern California... I am specifically referring to the Russian River area (same as the Russian River apellation of Sonoma County wines you might be familiar with)... where it meets the Pacific ocean... there are a number of Fishing Tour companies that will take you out to catch Salmon in the estaury... then come back & have it cooked or cook it yourself etc.,

                                  1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                    Thank you for the great tip, Eat Nopal! We will absolutely come visit! (We are already in love with the Napa Valley area [and the parts of Sonoma we have seen), and are ready to expand our horizons].

                                  2. re: FoodWine

                                    Two things:

                                    First, the salmon you grew up eating is not the same stuff as used to be (see below) caught off the California coast. The fish off of Finland are Salmo salar, or Atlantic salmon. Virtually all of the catch off of California is Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, or King (Chinook) salmon, with a few Oncorhynchus kisutch (coho or silver salmon) mixed in.

                                    Salmo is finer in texture and flavor than Oncorhynchus. The silkiness of top-quality lox simply isn't attainable with Pacific salmon. Not to say that Oncorhynchus isn't good eating; I'm an avid fisherman, and in the past tried to bring home a few hundred pounds of the stuff each year.

                                    But as indicated above, salmon fishing in California (and Oregon, too) may be a thing of the past. All commercial and recreational salmon fishing in California's oceans and rivers has been banned until further notice because the number of fish returning to spawn has crashed. Hopefully the fish population will rebound and fishing be re-opened, but until then Alaska is going to be the primary source for Pacific salmon.

                                    1. re: alanbarnes

                                      Good information. Thanks. The salmon that Walmart sells,
                                      at least here in N. Carolina, comes from farms in Chile. Do you have any idea what the species is and the plusses and minuses of those fish?

                                      1. re: ThaiNut

                                        The vast majority of farmed salmon is Atlantic salmon (salmo salar), and the vast majority of commercially-available Atlantic salmon is farmed. According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch, farmed salmon should be avoided: http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr....

                                        Salmon farmers seem to be getting their act together a little bit from the heyday of the '80s and '90s, cutting back on wholesale additions of antibiotics to the feed and other practices that were seen as dangerous and abusive. But the fish are still kept in tight quarters where they and the surrouding waters are exposed to high levels of biological waste. And FWIW, the color of wild salmon comes from eating krill, while the color of farmed salmon comes from dye added to the salmon chow.

                                        The big plus is that farmed salmon is (relatively) cheap. The big minus is that current methods aren't sustainable, and it's unclear whether they can be made so. Some folks claim that salmon aquaculture may be behind the decline of wild stocks to crash, but the science isn't there yet. Meanwhile, until I can catch my own again, I prefer wild-caught Alaskan salmon.

                            2. I have always lived in salmon country and grew up eating salmon, usually caught by family or friends. I never heard of eating semi-cooked salmon before this post. We always expected salmon to be done to the point where it was just barely cooked through and opaque in the center - where you could cut it using the side of your fork. Maybe I don't get out enough, but the idea of doing it medium-rare is a new one on me. If I were served one of those, I would assume the kitchen goofed.

                              How long has this been going on? Do they give you a steak knife with it?

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Sharuf

                                I am not sure when it started (in Europe it might have always been the case perhaps)... I remember having Salmon Tatakis with Mexican sauces at Bellinghuasen (Mexico City) as early as 1999... my next semi-cooked Salmon experience was in Seattle at a place famous for steaks topped with some kind of lobster sauce (which I can't remember the name of)... around 2003.

                                Whenever I cook Salmon... I just naturally want to pull it off the heat well before the white boogers (yes I said it again)... make me nauseated (and yes I am the same person that proclaims the virtues of oxtails, beef checks, pork belly & raw shrimp)

                                1. re: Sharuf

                                  I can't say how long it's been going on, but I can say that the restaurant where I worked in 1998 asked for a temperature (degree of doneness) on salmon, so we're looking at a minimum of nine years.

                                  1. re: nc213

                                    Le Bernardin opened in the mid to late 80's if my memory is correct.

                                2. There should be no question. The salmon should be "done" just as (almost) any piece of fish is done. Still raw in the center is ridiculous for salmon. My bet is that you weren't at the best restaurant for this type of food, though, which explains the stupid question. Any reputable place, in my opinion, shouldn't have their servers ask that question in that instance.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: madgreek

                                    There are only three people that have input into how people have their salmon, (1) the custo, (2) the server, and (3) the chef. There is no standard salmon doneness, just like there is no standard steak doneness.

                                    1. re: madgreek

                                      I agree with Jfood here. Almost every upscale eatery serving quality seafood will ask the customer the degree of doneness in which to cook the salmon. I'd say it's about a 50-50 split at my restaurant between barely cooked and thoroughly cooked.

                                      Greek, just because YOU don't like it cooked a certain way doesn't mean it's wrong.

                                      1. re: invinotheresverde

                                        Not "wrong." I just felt it unnecessary, but admittedly, I am no expert.

                                    2. I disagree 100%. I want my salmon mid-rare. That is "perfect" to me, and that is "perfect" to many other salmon-lovers as well as many chefs. I always consider it a sign of a good kitchen when the chef recommends mid-rare salmon.

                                      I understand that some people are squeamish about rare meat. That's why a good server will ask how you like it. Servers aren't mind readers, and if a server brought me your version of "perfect" salmon without inquiring about my preferences I would send it back as overcooked.

                                      Thus, the server has two options: assume that everyone likes salmon the exact same doneness and anger half of their patrons, or ask the patron about their preference and anger the two or three people who wrongly believe that there is only one "right" way to cook salmon.

                                      That said, when you ordered it cooked "medium" it should not have arrived mid-rare - that was definitely the kitchen's error.

                                      11 Replies
                                      1. re: Morton the Mousse

                                        If you have special instructions about the level of doneness, you should give them to the server. To me, having the question asked is just like having them ask how you would like chicken cooked. It should be assumed, and should be left to you if you want anything different.

                                        I understand that there are food safety reasons for cooking chicken to the correct temp, but I find no reason (as far as adding flavor) to keep the middle of the salmon filet raw.

                                        The white stuff on top shows overcooked salmon, imo. So, to me, it should be just after raw (but not raw), and well before the white dots stage. I find the scale of rare-med-well doesn't work well for salmon, because it tends to be a gamble, no matter what you say. Unfortunately, instructions are necessary (but shouldn't be).

                                        1. re: madgreek

                                          If I'm reading your post correctly, you're saying that there is only one correct way to cook salmon - the way you enjoy eating it. The fact is, many people like their salmon mid-rare. Perhaps all of us are "wrong," or perhaps there is more than one way to enjoy salmon.

                                          Inquiring about doneness is a quick, easy, and convenient way for a kitchen to learn how each patron likes his or her food prepared. What in the world is wrong with that?

                                          1. re: Morton the Mousse

                                            Good point. My feeling is that more people would prefer salmon as the op would, so the question is not usually necessary. Perhaps I'm wrong. It makes sense to me with beef, because I think people have more of a wide variety of preferences in the matter.

                                            As jfood points out, though, I think that it is very important to experience a dish as the chef intended it to be cooked. If he/she says "mid-rare" it should be experienced at that level of doneness. If it's not to your liking, then order it cooked differently next time. My point is, there needs to be a reason for "undercooked" salmon. You are, of course, welcome to order it any way you wish.

                                            1. re: madgreek

                                              Well if it makes sense with beef, then why can't you understand it with salmon? I'm surprised by your attitude , apparently shared by the OP. What can ever be wrong with choice? I want my salmon on the raw side, you don't. My Perfect is not the OP's perfect. So isn't the question from the waiter the absolute right thing to do to make us both happy?

                                              1. re: danna

                                                "Well if it makes sense with beef, then why can't you understand it with salmon? "

                                                I was operating on the assumption that most people prefer salmon as the op does, and that so the question was not necessary, and just as I said, it makes sense to me with beef, because I think people have more of a wide variety of preferences in the matter.

                                                The more I ask people, and the more I read this thread, I realize that more people than I thought like raw salmon. If this is really the case, asking how it should be cooked is justified.

                                                I never said there was something wrong with choice. That's silly.

                                          2. re: madgreek

                                            If any restaurant every inquired about how I would like my chicken cooked, I would simply leave, as it is a pretty silly question and I would assume that (if the question wasn't a joke) that they had meant to open a laundromat and ended up with a restaurant by mistake. undercooked chicken is a health hazard. Overcooked chicken tastes like shoe leather. This is not even remotely close to the range of 'doneness' that want might want from salmon or beef (or duck for that matter).

                                            1. re: bnemes3343

                                              Back in the mid-1980s was the first time someone asked me how I wanted my pork chops done. I was startled - conventional wisdom had it that pork should always be cooked until the pink was gone. Then the industry decided there was no more danger, and the au courant places started treating it like steak.

                                              This was about the same time that veggies started appearing cooked around the edges and raw in the middle. I would try sticking my fork into the green beans and they would fight back. Bummer!

                                              I suspect rawish-salmon emerged as a trendy alternative at about that same time.

                                              1. re: Sharuf

                                                "Back in the mid-1980s was the first time someone asked me how I wanted my pork chops done...convential wisdon"

                                                And jfood, always the adventurer said, "whatever the chef wants." And that was 1986 in San Fran before a red eye to NJ. 6 hours with the air toilet on a 767 convinced jfood that undercooked pork is a very bad idea.

                                                1. re: jfood

                                                  Guatemalans have traditionally made a "ceviche" out of Ground Pork.... and one of my friends (after hearing that trichinosis sp? was eliminated from U.S. pork)... started indulging in it. He in fact, did contract trichinosis... and its NOT PRETTY... the treatement (and he is lucky to be alive) involved cranial drilling... and he was on a bed for months.

                                                  I would still be careful & suspect of pork.

                                                  1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                    Trichinosis in the US is pretty much non existant now. While I might not want to do a pork ceviche in Guatemala, there is really no danger from pork that isn't charred in this country. In fact, the FDA recommends cooking pork to an internal temperature of 144, well below 'well done'.

                                                    1. re: bnemes3343

                                                      This involved a Guatemalan living in the U.S. consuming USDA approved pork. Because of his - ahem, status - he hadn't been back to Guatemala in 10 years.

                                        2. Huh, as someone who dislikes any meaty fish cooked all the way through, I'm pretty happy that chefs now ask how well done I want my salmon. I like white, flaky fishes cooked through (though, being Cantonese, I expect them just barely done), but with salmon and tuna and the like I prefer them as close to sashimi as possible.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: PegS

                                            One of my friends ate her salmon at home as she wanted her salmon cooked rare in the center. She'll be glad to know some places are asking about doneness now.

                                            It may indeed be a Cantonese cooking thing -- I've noticed that I never get my fish fully cooked in Cantonese restaurants. Sigh -- I wish Korean restaurants would do that as well. I think they like all their meats on the well done side. DH's aunt (who is from Hong Kong) has cooked boiled chicken for me a couple of times, always worrying that it was undercooked for my tastes. I think it's perfect -- the texture is much more silky.

                                            1. re: PegS

                                              Speaking of Cantonese and doneness, Peg and Miss Needle probably share my Cantonese experience of liking and expecting chicken that still looks bloody to Western eyes. Health hazard? Not. Millions of Cantonese seem to prove that.

                                              1. re: k_d

                                                k d,

                                                If there isn't any blood in the bones of my Soy Sauce Chicken.....it's over-done.

                                            2. The problem with specifying "rare" or "medium" for salmon is the subjectivity of it. It's generally accepted that "medium" for beef is reddish pink but not bloody, but for salmon does this mean still translucent or just barely opaque? I like salmon any way but dry, which means anywhere from raw to (just barely) fully cooked. If the flakes are solid with the white stuff leaching out I don't like it, because it's pretty dry by then. I'm much more fussy about my beef, it has to still be bloody, and if I'm not asked I'll specify.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: hsk

                                                As Justice Potter Stewart so famously said about obscene material: "I know it when I see it." I concur.

                                              2. I cooked some salmon fillets last night, and I remembered something about the pan needing to be very hot. So I seared the sides and let it cook. It was still rare in the middle (a darker pink than the outside) and I figured "well, if it's piping hot throughout, it should be fine". And it was delicious. Really tender. I haven't looked up much about it, but I figure rarer meats must be ok, and I hear a lot about misconceptions regarding anything other than beef.

                                                1. First of all, when I clicked on this thread, I thought the post would be about how a perfectly-cooked piece of salmon is rare. I see that I have a different view.

                                                  I live in BC. I cannot imagine eating any salmon that was not fresh or smoked. (Frozen? No way! Except for sushi.) In spite of my geographical advantage, I have NEVER ordered salmon in a restaurant. I have been cooking salmon for at least 15 years, and I have always cooked it rare. A few years ago, I asked my server how the salmon in the special was cooked. She was confused. I asked if it was rare. She got flustered, saying that the salmon would be cooked. I ordered something else.

                                                  I am happy to learn that servers are now asking how patrons would like their salmon cooked. But I don't think I'm brave enough to give someone the opportunity to serve me fishy fish, which is what salmon is to me when its anything but rare.

                                                  I also find the texture of medium+ salmon unsettling. It becomes gummy, and doen't melt in one's mouth the same way rare salmon does. I have this same issue with halibut.

                                                  Incidentally, for my last two meals out, I had ahi poke, and spot prawn ceviche. So I am a raw fish lover. And I eat my beef steak rare and bloody (unless carpaccio's on the menu, then that becomes my beef course).

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: miss_bennet

                                                    You should be glad you cook your salmon... I've had it a couple of times in midlevel / average Vancouver restaurants (Bar & Grill types)... both times I specialized Rare... and both times I got something that was just under fully cooked.

                                                    1. re: miss_bennet

                                                      I love raw fish, too, but I can tolerate salmon fully cooked as long as it's not dry. I like salmon sashimi (not as much as tuna) and before I knew about having to freeze it first I always ate pieces of trim from a very fresh whole salmon while filleting it - so yummy. I never got sick (but maybe I'm riddled with parasites, not sure how I can tell).

                                                    2. Greetings:

                                                      Even though this discussion thread is five years old, I stumbled upon it through a Google search and wanted to add my comments.

                                                      Personally, I feel insulted when a server fails to ask me how I want my tuna or salmon cooked. This has happened to me on two recent occasions.

                                                      On the first occasion, I waited a few seconds after placing my order before asking my server: "Do I get to tell you how I want it cooked?'

                                                      This was for a tuna steak. This seemed to take her by surprise. I then told her I wanted it cooked medium rare. This request obviously took the kitchen by surprise as well, as it came to me medium well.

                                                      On the second occasion, I ordered Salmon Francese at a popular local Italian restaurant. The server neglected to ask me how I wanted it cooked. This time I let it go, curious to find out how it would turn out. It turned out medium.

                                                      However, I am still learning about Italian food. Is it not desirable for a server at an Italian restaurant to ask their customers how they want their tuna or salmon to be cooked?

                                                      In any event, I feel that a server should at least ask.


                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: PontiusPalate

                                                        Welcome to Chowhound. If you are interested enough in food to register and then comment here you should take a look at all the other boards that the site offers http://chowhound.chow.com/boards?show... and see if you would like to become an active member of the community if any are of particular interest to you?

                                                        ADD: Sorry for not clicking on your profile first. I see you are an active member all ready. Carry on...nothing to see here. (g)

                                                        1. re: Servorg

                                                          Hello Servorg:

                                                          Many thanks for your words of welcome. I am a farily new member and have only been active for several weeks.

                                                          I almost started a fresh new thread on the subject of ordering salmon at varying degrees of temperature or doneness when eating at restaurants.

                                                          I then decided to conduct a Google search first to find out if the subject has been discussed before on Chowhound. This is how I discovered this topic thread, and I decided to reply and express my thoughts.

                                                          Thanks again for your words of welcome.


                                                          1. re: PontiusPalate

                                                            I got to CH originally by Googling information on a certain restaurant back in 2001 and never left. I've thought about trying a 12 step program but none of them seem quite right to break this particular addiction. ;-D>

                                                            1. re: Servorg

                                                              We split a post about poaching salmon yourself over to the Home Cooking board at: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/918925 Check it out!

                                                      2. Yes. It does seem that many chefs, or cooks, do not like to fully cook Salmon. They like to have it very "rare" in the middle, to the point of being barely defrosted.

                                                        For me, if it does not flake, then I do not want it.


                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                          if salmon is flaking, it's woefully overcooked for me.

                                                          vive la difference!

                                                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                            I was going to post the same thing when I read that, but didn't until now so thanks for chiming in, hotoynoodle. Flaking in the middle is going to mean way over dry salmon on the upper and lower outside portions. Our salmon needs to be really, really pink and translucent in the middle to be right for us.

                                                            1. re: Servorg

                                                              unless it's wild salmon i won't eat it anyway and overcooking THAT would be criminal, lol.

                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                Yes! That's exactly how I like my salmon, brightly pink and translucent in the middle. Eating dry and flaky salmon is a major bummer.