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Jun 3, 2011 06:34 PM

Preparing fresh wild salmon and/or halibut

So I've probably put myself at risk for parasites unknowingly a few times in the last few years...

Normally most of the salmon I buy has been previously frozen; however, salmon season is back this year in CA, and I have some fresh salmon in my fridge. In the past I have made tartar, ceviche, and gravlax with salmon and even when I cook it, I prefer it rare. I also love halibut ceviche and have twice now survived eating delicious ceviche made with fresh halibut.

So how I can prepare this salmon (and future halibut) so it is safe to eat?

The government says "certain species of fish that are served raw, partially cooked or raw marinated [should] be frozen at a minimum of – 4 °F or lower for 7 days in a freezer; or - 31°F for 15 hours in a blast freezer, or frozen at - 31°F or below until solid and stored at – 4 °F for at least 24 hours.

But the government also recommends that I overcook all of my meat, not to eat raw oysters, and not to eat raw eggs.... and I don't listen b/c I think the risks are too low to worry about.

So now a bunch of questions:

So, first off, is this another gov't recommendation that can also be ignored or is it a serious risk?

If not, are there other ways of making the fish safe without freezing it?

For example, can you see the parasite? How big are they? If I make tartar and finely mince the salmon, can the parasite still survive?

Does curing the salmon (gravlax) kill them?

And now a question for a scientist: If I have to freeze it, and my freezer gets to -15F, how log do I have to keep it in my freezer before safe consumption ( I assume it is less than 7 days)?

Also, any ideas for how to fully cook the fresh salmon so that it is not dry would be helpful... Salmon curry is the only recipe I have liked where the salmon is fully cooked.

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  1. Poach or steam your fresh salmon or halibut.

    1. The only way to be perfectly safe by government standards is to over cook it. I feel the risks are low but that's me

      1 Reply
      1. re: scubadoo97

        me too. I have been eating fish at least 2 times a week for years, never cook it to government standards and I live to tell the tale.

      2. By government standards you should never eat a mid-rare steak or an eggs Benedict with a beautiful velvety runny egg yolk. I love both and eat them often. Are there risks? Sure there are, but you take a risk every time you get out of bed in the morning.

        Take your beautiful salmon, make your lox, and put it on a bagel with a bit of cream cheese, red onion, and capers.