What's the white stuff on cooked salmon?

January 3, 2017

 

 

 

What you see: White stuff oozing out of your salmon as it cooks
What it is: Perfectly edible coagulated protein
Eat or toss: Eat!

 

Salmon’s known for being a fattier fish, so I used to assume that white stuff that crept out while it cooked was fat. Wrong! It’s actually just a weird kind of chalky protein. It’s totally harmless, but watch out if you’re seeing a lot of it, because you may be overcooking your fish.

 

While salmon cooks, its muscle fibers contract, pushing out this moisture-filled protein, called albumin,* in the process. As cooking continues, the albumin loses its moisture and denatures, which is when you start to see that chalky white stuff on the surface of your fish. It looks weird, but it’s perfectly safe to eat. 

 

Visible albumin is unavoidable when you’re cooking salmon, but, given the role that heat plays in pushing the albumin to the surface, it’s no surprise that overcooked salmon will be sporting more of the  white stuff. The key to determining if salmon is cooked remains to see if it flakes easily (a little transparency is OK). But, if you’re seeing a lot of albumin, it’s definitely time to check for doneness.

 

Once I learned that the white stuff was not fat or anything to worry about, it stopped bugging me. But if you want to minimize the albumin on your salmon, America’s Test Kitchen suggests a quick brine before cooking. 

 

SOURCES
What's that weird stuff coming out of salmon?  - The Kitchn

Cooking Salmon: Tips for minimizing that weird white stuff - The Kitchn

The Truth About that White Stuff Oozing Out of Your Salmon and How to Avoid It - Huffington Post

What is that weird white stuff on cooked salmon? It's albumin and we discovered how to minimize it - America's Test Kitchen

 

 

*Q: What’s the difference between albumin and albumen? 
A: Albumin is the white stuff on cooked salmon and albumen is egg whites. “Alba” means “white” in Latin.

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© 2019 by Eat Or Toss.

Content may not be duplicated without express written permission from EatOrToss.com. All information posted on this blog is thoroughly researched, but is provided for reference and entertainment purposes only. For medical advice, please consult a doctor. Please see our terms