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33 responses to “Six Days of Salmon”

  1. matt

    The hard life you lead!! Salmon belly is a favorite of mine, I just love it. Love roasting out the bones, and picking off them.

    Great article mate, lovely photos from Holly

  2. Jeff

    Fantastic. But please tell me you had at least one slice of sashimi before freezing those filets!!

  3. Jeff

    Err… just read in Wikipedia that you’re not supposed to eat raw fish that’s been in brackish or fresh water. What a shame! That filet looks soo beautiful. Not to diminish the other preparations… the collar looks divine as well.

  4. ntsc

    Amazing photos.

    I am of the opinion that when making stock (or soup) you do not want the liquid temperature to reach 190 F. I aim for 185.

    I also now do this when braising meat such as pot roast. I find that this temperature consistently brings moist meat, higher does not.

  5. Carolina Rig

    It’s been three very long years since my last king salmon collar dinner. This post has driven me to purchase a salmon license during my stay in the Canadian Maritimes…I only hope Salmo salar tastes half as good as the Alaskan King’s I’ve eaten. Thanks for lighting the fire Hank!

  6. Carolina Rig

    Thanks Hank. Just yesterday the mother in law fixed up some cod tongues and britches (roe) for dinner. Yum. You ever tried frying up fish tongues?!

    The subsistence fishery opens up in a about a week, so I hope to taste some fresh Newfie cod dishes.

    No luck on the Atlantics, yet.

  7. Sylvie, Rappahannock Cook & Kitchen Gardener

    Salmon for nose to tail: love it. Do salmon have nose or snout or … what? I won’t get river fresh salmon like that any time soon, but it’s fun to read about it and how the respectful way you are using it all. Ever since some of the dams have been removed on the Rappahannock (VA) river the salmons are now coming more upstream (and the eagles too), but I am too far up the mountain – still – for them…

  8. Sylvie, Rappahannock Cook & Kitchen Gardener

    ahem! I have been informed by a fellow Rappahannock Co resident who also reads this blog that it’s not salmon that’s coming back up the Rappahannock river, but “Shad, Herring, Yellow Perch and Striped Bass (Rockfish). Not that they aren’t some tasty species, but they are no substitute for salmon. ” Not they aren’t. but I would not mind some herrings to pickle! because I ain’t going to get salmon like yours, Hank!

  9. Hélène

    Love salmon & beautiful pics. I bought some really good smoked-candied salmon at the Farmer’s Market.

  10. Carolina Rig

    No collars involved with the tongues served in Newfoundland…It’s the tongue and the flap of skin & meat underneath the tongue. The Newfie mother-n-law tells a story about when the kids around town used to go down to the wharfs when the cod fishermen would come back in and cut out the tongues from the cod frames. They’d walk around town with a sack of cod tongues, selling them door to door.

  11. Lang

    Awesome post and v. good reminder for all so-called salmon lovers: the action is in the “nasty bits.” I need to be reminded myself of this sometimes because it’s true that the deep red of a fillet is so enticing. Been meaning to make a salmon head soup for a while. Will try yours in a couple weeks when the pinks are cavorting in Puget Sound.

  12. The Food Plot: ‘Six days of salmon’ … according to the Hunter Angler Gardener Cook |

    […] We love to eat fish in the summer. Just seems right. Read here about the Hunter Angler Gardener Cook’s “Six Days of Salmon,” and several recipes come with the read. Combined with stunning photography by Holly A. Heyser (aka NorCal Cazadora), this blog entry at the HAGC’s food blog is sure to taste your teasebuds. See […]

  13. Sandy

    Growing up in an Asian household, it was always a common sight to see fish heads lolling about in the back of the fridge, ready to be incorporated into a spicy Korean stew or clear soup. In fact, most of the Asian grocery stores I visited had fish heads for sale right along side the more “desireable” cuts of meat. Shocked me to no end when I grew up and discovered that most people throw the heads, tails, entrails, and bones away.

    To this day, my Filipino step-mother’s favorite dish is fish eyeballs lightly dipped in a vinegar and soy sauce blend. I’ve never had salmon head before. Might have to give it a whirl (if I can ever find a whole salmon). I wonder if mackerel could be used as a quick subsitute for your miso soup as I come across whole specimens now and then.

  14. Chris

    Hank, to say that this blog has inspired me would be a gross understatement. I have been hunting and fishing for years, not realizing the full potential of my game. Thanks for opening my eyes. A quick side note related to this post: I was in the local fish market (Narragansett, RI) and I noticed a whole salmon rack, including the head in a bag on the ice. I asked how much, and he told me to take it! Clearly, whoever filleted the fish didn’t care how close they got to the bones, because after removing the head and cooking it, I got 1 1/2 lbs. of meat. Yummy salmon cakes! And I made your soup recipe with the head. Two days of salmon meals, for free!

  15. barefootgeno

    Hank, or Boyfriend as you’re called in Holly’s Blog, thanks for a story about belly meat and heads, two of my favorites.

    I try not to hog the belly meat at salmon dinners, but lucky for me, many others don’t know the joy and benefits of this delicious cut of fish. I’ve been eating it for years and am always surprised by people who wonder why I go nuts for it.

    Heads are the same way. When I was a starving univ. student in N CA my neighbor had some friends down from the mts. for a “rock cod” trip. The came back with limits and were cleaning them in her yard, putting all the heads in a big washtub. They were amazed when I asked if I could have them and asked what I was going to do with them. Soup, I said, and proceded to show them how much meat was in a large rockfish cheek and around the collar. That soup fed me for a few days. Your story brought back memories. (My advisor called me the optimal forager, as I was always gathering something: mussels, fish, crab, huckleberries, chantrelles, etc)

    I found your blog and Holly’s while searching forums for CA hunting opportunities. I’m going to be down in the Clovis/Fresno area for 4 months or so and I’m looking for places to go.

    I may have to talk my wife into a trip to Sacto to go to Grange for dinner. Wish I had been able to get in on the duck dinner.

    Thanks for a wonderful blog.

  16. kumagirl

    Yum. I scored a salmon head and bones from my Japanese grocery and made soup. Later, I came across your recipe. Amazingly, I used most of the same ingredients as you! The only difference was that I put tofu and mochi in it instead of noodles. Delicious!

  17. Matt

    Just made a kokanee head soup with a 6+ pounder I caught up at Wallowa Lake this past week. Holy crap that soup is good! I only had the one fish, so I used the leftover skeleton and tail as well after filleting the fish. Added some chopped green onion to the final soup and again, holy crap is that soup good! Thanks for the good work.

  18. Katie

    I’m so glad I found your page!
    I just caught my ocean chinook two days ago, and I just couldn’t throw away the frame (the biologists term for the fish carcass after the fillets are removed). It has so much meat! I haven’t been able to do much cooking yet, making sushi tonight. But tomorrow, roasting the backbone, then soup with the bones!
    Already promised the head away, if I only had known!

  19. ClaudeA

    OK, why all the strange looks one who asks for fish heads, of the guys who caught, filleted and threw frames, heads, and entrails in the nearby dumpster? Oh well . . . Salmon licenses here in Washington State are outta my retirement funds’ reach, so I ‘catch’ a bargain or two at the store, or, watch for fat neighbors who love catching local salmon on several rivers and streams nearby.

    Anyway, when my boys were still home, both were great salmon catchers, and the North Umpqua River, just East of Roseburg, Oregon, provided many big salmon for our humble home provision. One of my means to earn a few bucks was providing fuelwood, and the local Douglas Fir loggers left many huge chum piles of ‘Madorna,’ as they refer to it down there.

    Being rather adventurous, I figured Madrone might make a good smoker flaovor, and it still is my favorite! [Move over, Alder guys!] So, with the eight heads and other parts my neighbors left me have, I soaked them overnight in salt, a bar-B-que flavor, and a hint of black pepper and chilli, then they went on a make-shift bar-B-que – turned-smoker, and some fresh-cut Madrone. After a few hours of low temp smoking, all were nicely cooked, and the heads fell apart as I gently lifted them off the metal pans on the grill.

    The ‘backs,’ as the “frame” is called here, yielded a good pound of very tasty meat slivers, and the heads gave up some cheek muscle, back meat, and went on to yield lots of yummy stock.

    That’s when I decided to look up how to use salmon heads for a meal, and your blog came up!

    My kids spent their first 11 years near their mom’s home in South Central Pennsylvania – Conewago Township – but we never thought to fish the little muddy streams, or the nearby Susquehanna River. Wish we had!

    I’ll tell a wild tale, later, about my butchering a medium-sized snapping turtle! What a crazy time that was!

  20. Ms.LA

    Glad you enjoyed your Salmon in such a scrumptious way. Just bought a whole Salmon from our local fish market & lady was flabbergasted when I said, “I want the whole fish, head also. Had them do steaks. Saved the head & looking for cake recipes. I will try some of your tips too. Thanks,Ms.E

  21. Db

    Did you take the gills out of the heads before you boiled them? I was roasting a whole rockfish head and didn’t take out the gills and the smell tainted the whole of the meat for me.

  22. RBValkyrie

    After reading this post I would gladly give up all other meats and live of salmon. Everything looked amazing and delicious.

  23. Alexis Rotella, M.Ac.

    Saw salmon bellies in the health food market the other day and didn’t know whether to take the bait. Now after reading this, I can’t wait to try them.

  24. Braised salmon head curry, Southeast Asian style

    […] face, that is what’s for dinner! Someone once told me that salmon are the pigs of the ocean – large, fatty, and succulent. And most importantly, there are significant taste differences […]

  25. Lori

    Thanks for the post yours was the only recipe I found! I really liked your recipe for salmon belly & fins. It seems so wasteful to toss. However good for me, I bought it from my local fish market for 50 cents/lb! My Japanese friend told me about broiling it, which I did this time. I want to try your recipe of bbq but since it cooks so fast and the pieces were kind of small, I wanted to know how long you actually cook yours on the bbq? It tastes better a little burnt.

  26. Dana Chivers

    wow! thanks for posting these ideas. Here in France local fishmongers throw away all the bones and heads. I was given one last night and found your idea&s just before boiling it to bits for the dog! great thanks, DC

  27. Dane Henas

    We cheated and bought a whole salmon at Sunh Fish and a couple of extra heads at Oto’s. Made the fish head soup–amazingly good and easy, and grilled the bones and brined collars and fins. The meat off the bones (the filets went in the freezer) went on a salad. Great dinner–thanks for the tips! We will never throw anything away again!

  28. Teriyaki Salmon Collars — 30 Day Cafe

    […] Many people believe that salmon collars are “fish bones” and just throw them away. The truth is that there is a lot of meat left on the collars nine times out of ten and that meat is just completely wasted. Another benefit of salmon collars is that they are usually very inexpensive. If you go to your local grocery store and ask if they have any salmon collars, in most cases they will, if the are selling fresh salmon steaks, and you will be able to get these collars for a discounted rate—as fish bones. Not only are the salmon collars relatively inexpensive, they are also full of flavor, making them one of my favorite meals. Many people have had salmon collars at sushi joints or other restaurants, yet they believe that it is too complex of a meal to cook at home. I’m here to show you the opposite. Here is an easy recipe to make salmon collars. […]

  29. Veronica

    I cook them with my own formula, Shallots, garlic, chilli peppers, key lime leaves, lemon grass, ginger, curcuma, galangal, bay leaf, lemon juice, salt, water.
    Fragrant and fresh and inviting to eat never stop. Hahahaha

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