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Apr 7, 2013 06:22 AM

Defrosted Salmon a soggy mess :-( Any tips?

I've never had much luck with frozen salmon. It comes out a water-logged mess that's falling apart. I typically take it from freezer (keeping it in the original packaging), put in warmish water for about 30 minutes. I don't know if I planned better and put it in the fridge overnight if it would have been better.

Anyway, yesterday, I purchased a piece of "previously frozen wild salmon" to see if my problem was how I was defrosting it, or something about frozen salmon itself.

As mentioned in my recent smoke'n hot ghee thread last night, it came out pretty good cooked on medium in a non-stick pan with some ghee (flesh side down till it looked nice, then cooked the rest of the way skin side down.

I've done some googling and youtube-ing on how to defrost frozen fish, and saw some conflicting information.

Most importantly, I learned here at chowhound that:

"There is a safety issue re: thawing in vacuum-sealed packaging. From

"Our products are sealed in vacuum-packed pouches while still frozen. This prevents dehydration or “freezer burn”, and is most effective way to preserve quality. We go to great lengths to bring you the best seafood possible, as with any all-natural product there are bacteria that develop during the thaw process. The curious thing about seafood is that when in an anaerobic (airless) environment, there is a chance of the formation of the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, also known as C-bot, a cause of food poisoning. By removing the packaging, you eliminate the risk of C-bot contamination. Just to be on the safe side, the FDA requires these guidelines for all vacuum-packed seafood. ""

So, it does seem that I should take it out of the packaging. I suppose the obvious answer is to put it on a rack in the fridge so it isn't sitting in its own water. I saw some references to a cookie sheet method that is supposed to keep it out of its own water, but I can't imagine how that works, unless you put it on an upside-down cookie sheet and let the water run away.

Anyway, broadly stated: what's the best way to defrost frozen salmon?


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  1. in COLD water. it actually helps defrost proteins more quickly and none of the fish is exposed to warmish temps.

    you could remove the packaging and thaw the fish on a rack over a cookie sheet in the fridge too, but then you run the risk of stinking up the fridge.

    that being said, if you're buying farmed salmon the texture will be mushy no matter what.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hotoynoodle

      Agree completely - use cool tap water and change the water a couple of times if need be.

    2. How thick a piece are we talking about? From the photo it looks fairly thin.
      I normally cook thin pieces of fish like that directly from the frozen state. I was actually taught (in high school home ec class) NOT to defrost fish, for the reason that it adversely affects the texture.

      1 Reply
      1. re: almond tree

        Wow! I never heard of that and I would never have even thought of trying that!

      2. Depending on how you plan to cook it, I would not defrost at all.

        If you are going to cook it with dry heat (e.g. pan frying or baking), go ahead and just use frozen salmon. In many ways this is preferable esp. if you like your salmon with a nice crispy skin and a medium rare center.

        If you want to poach or steam your salmon, then just defrost in the fridge.

        Easy peasy ...

        1. paper towel. apply to surface and press.