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salmon left out 45 min?

Forgot a salmon fillet, pretty thick, on the counter for 45 min at about 85 degrees room temp.

When I realized I'd left it I threw it in the pre-heated oven, but is this fish still good?

I wouldn't wonder about twenty minutes, but this was a solid 45 min left at 85F.


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  1. I think smell is the best barometer for this sort of thing, if it smelled OK, I would say go for it....but I would cook it thouroly (sp?) to insure the death of any bacterias on the exterior of the fish

    13 Replies
    1. re: devilham

      i didn't smell it before I threw it in the oven, but it smells pretty good right now after cooking.
      I brought it up to 170 and am going to make the most of it. It is really fatty salmon and can handle the heat.

      ha ha, probably fine right?

      The information I can scour from the web seems to support the idea that 1 hour is the max amount of time, I'm definitely not comfortable with that. I usually do ten fifteen minutes tops.

      Well, wish me luck!
      thanks for the response

        1. re: woodburner

          Wife said she won't eat it, going to buy another fish.
          I'm so pissed I could my head through a wall. I hate wasting food. Smelled soo good too.

          I wish I had a dog, or even a neighbor with a dog.
          I can't believe I put two pounds of beautiful salmon in the trash.


            1. re: redfish62

              This woman would've scarfed it happily. As long as it wasn't temp-abused before being left out, it would've been perfectly fine.

            2. re: coelomate

              Did you TELL her that the fish had been left out... for not all that long IMO... except for the temp?? If ya did... don't do that in the future!

              1. re: coelomate

                I think I would have said, "Then what are you eating for dinner? I'm having salmon."

                1. re: Philly Ray

                  that would've been more trouble then it is worth!

                2. re: coelomate

                  Too late now but 45 min is not too long. Sure there is a remote chance of illness but there would be a remote chance if it had been kept cold as well. If one tries to eliminate all risk, there would be little to eat

                  1. re: coelomate

                    Please don't ever give salmon to a dog:

                    This kind of made me laugh. I routinely get out all my ingredients and leave them on the counter until I need them, which is often well over 45 minutes. I always let thick steaks warm up on the counter per my butcher's instructions. It didn't ever occur to me that salmon wouldn't be fine. Chicken, maybe--there's salmonella and such. But what could happen with salmon?

                    Why in the world didn't you cook it and keep it for you to eat, even if your wife wouldn't?

                    1. re: christy319

                      Cooked salmon is fine for dogs. You just have to worry about it raw.

                      1. re: Jackie007

                        Ben the hound loves cooked salmon, the freshly cooked kind and all sorts of canned. It does really good things for his coat, too.

            3. Watch out, you could wake up dead tomorrow!

              1. I'm trying to remain patient with the safety hysteria so rampant these days, but it just gets harder and harder. I would say that leaving a piece of salmon out in a normal environment at 85º is about as dangerous as letting your kid ride a bicycle to school, allowing your name and address to appear in a telephone book, or driving a car with no air bags. In other words, what I and millions of other people have done for years and still do. Including the salmon: I always season fish or meat and leave it at room temperature for at least an hour before cooking. If there are flies about, I cover it; that's my idea of safety.

                7 Replies
                  1. re: FoodFuser

                    Yes, I do have trouble remembering my commitment to Peas and Hominy. Too hot-headed. But I'm just 71; I'll probably grow out of it.

                    1. re: Will Owen

                      Thank you for that. Gives new meaning to Grits.

                      1. re: Will Owen

                        Ah, Will, you're a man after my own heart. Lord knows how I've survived nearly 60 years of treacherous (supposed) food practices. Who knows, maybe next I'll spit into the wind or pull the mask off the old lone ranger.

                    2. re: Will Owen

                      Will, you said exactly what I was thinking. Too many people sucked in by advertising that germs are bad. This girl doesn't waste money on hand sanitizer. :)
                      What did people do when there were no refrigerators? Lots must have gone to waste.

                      1. re: enmnz

                        Before refrigerators, food was preserved in salt or cured and dried. Also, food of questionable quality was prepared with herbs and spices that killed bacteria.

                        1. re: Philly Ray

                          I'd contest the notion that herbs and spices killed anything; for the most part they just masked the taste and smell of "high" meat. On the other hand, a lot of cultures prize some things eaten rotten: game birds hung to "season" until the heads fall off, cheese swarming with maggots. Dry-aged beef is on the borderline there; I remember when the radar site I was on was being shut down, and instead of government grub the mess sergeant was given an allowance to buy locally. This being Oklahoma, he got a good deal on some prime tenderloins, hung them to age, then cut them into filet mignon and served them grilled and wrapped with bacon. Some of the guys heard that they'd had surface mold scrubbed off, and didn't like the smell, either. The rest of us reveled in getting seconds …

                    3. Fine if you went ahead and cooked it.

                      1. How much can go wrong in 45 minutes? Of course it's OK.

                        1. Eat that Salmon. Then enjoy the second helping of the fish bought by your wife.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: FoodFuser

                            thnx for all the replies.
                            went to market bought another salmon. All is well now. Market confirmed your opinion that 45 minutes is nothing to worry about.

                            I'm out $15, wasn't worth arguing over. I don't know anything about food safety but yeah, I think that it really ought to be fine. Reading the food safety websites makes you feel as though if you don't get it from your fridge to your oven in under 30 seconds then you are going to be sick.

                            now I know.

                            1. re: coelomate

                              Reading those food safety websites is akin to reading the cautions for every medicine known to mankind. Unless you're allergic, an aspirin is an aspirin (please, no responses about ulcers, esophagitis, or aspirin-induced mange). How did our ancestors make it to be our ancestors if life/food was quite so hazardous?

                              1. re: pine time

                                yeah I think you are right. They are too conservative with their information. I guess it is to cover their legal bases.

                                1. re: pine time

                                  "aspirin-induced mange"

                                  LMFAO! Seriously, funniest thing I've read all day.

                            2. I purchased a 2# piece of Alaskan King Salmon yesterday and had to sit in the car with it for more than an hour....close to 2, actually with the car turned off.
                              I didn't think twice about it and it was wonderful, when prepared.
                              Be logical next time. Really....45 minutes?

                              1. The rule of thumb for uncooked food is dangerous levels of bacteria MIGHT develop in four hours in the range between 45 and 145-degrees fahrenheit. Bacteria multiply exponentially, so each hour produces many times the amount of the previous.

                                You were in NO risk after less than an hour.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: nosh

                                  I did get that information at the market and I thank you for confirming it.
                                  Now I know.

                                  I guess we were thinking it wasn't good because it was close to 90F in the kitchen, hot day today.

                                2. Ever see how Eskimos air dry salmon, or how folks in other more temperate countries handle fish? I eat a lot of food that my friends would toss if it was them. I think we have gone a bit overboard with the whole safety situation. Many kids are getting sick because they are not allowed to build up immunities due to everything being sterilized. No harm in checking though, and the next time you will know.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

                                    Yup, we all learn and make our own choices. Can't imagine tossing a perfectly good country ham or aged cheese just 'cause of a little mold on the rind.

                                    1. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

                                      yes, thank you. A week in a romanian village, with food frequently out on the counter for hours, opened my eyes to food risks. Of course, it could be that alll germs were handily killed by the plum brandy we liberally consumed - palenca.

                                      1. re: tcamp

                                        Just go to any Romanian house and that's a common sight! Spent weeks in the cities and all my in-laws leave food out for hours and there's not a lot of a/c usage there. They bought some mici (aka, mititei, a type of fresh sausage) for dinner at a shop one afternoon, put them in the trunk of the car on a 95 degree day, and we went to another store for a few *hours* before heading home to cook them. And I couldn't drink the plum brandy - that stuff is like kerosene.

                                    2. Hi, coelomate:

                                      Of course it was fine. Your DW should have been sent to her room.

                                      You might consider the *positive* side of what happened, too. Salmon flesh left exposed to air (especially moving air) forms what is called a "pellicle", a very thin, drier layer that can make a moisture and texture contribution to your preparation. Try it again sometime with a fan blowing across the fillet.

                                      And don't tell the missus.


                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: kaleokahu

                                        I definitely did not know that.
                                        I usually let it sit for about 10 minutes, but... ha ha, I guess I threw away what might have been the best salmon I ever tasted?

                                        lol, well live and learn.

                                        Again, thanks for that info. Never heard of pellicle until now.

                                        1. re: coelomate

                                          It's a common procedure before smoking fish. I usually let mine dry uncover in the fridge but have certainly used a fan on the counter top to develop a pellicle

                                      2. Years ago I took the Food Handling and Safety course required by the State of New Jersey. The rule then was food can be kept out for 2 hours. As in: you can remove meat or fish from the refrigerator, season it, cook it, leave it out again to sit on the table but all of that should happen within a 2 hour window.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: nancyl126

                                          That is excellent info, thank you!

                                          That confirms what I was told, and also that if the temperature is 90F or higher then the time allotted is reduced to 1 hour.

                                          Great resource here and it is nice to see people so helpful.

                                          1. re: coelomate

                                            Sorry to hear about your salmon. Yeah, I don't think leaving out a piece of salmon for 45 minutes is all that bad. It depends the initial temperature of the salmon and the air the room. A thick piece of salmon actually takes awhile to warm up.

                                            On top of that you cooked it, so most of the bacteria would have been killed off.

                                            Finally, it also greatly depend on the status of your own health. It makes a big difference if you are a healthy adult vs a person suffering from a weak immune system.

                                            At the end, the salmon was throw away..... which is unfortunate.

                                          2. re: nancyl126

                                            And even then, large pieces of meat for roasting (beef, pork, lamb) can benefit immensely from at a longer period of time (3 hours, for example) out of the fridge before cooking: it will reduce the carryover-cooking effect after cooking.