Is It Okay to Eat that Weird White Stuff on Salmon?

Here's exactly what it is.

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All About Salmon 05:00

Chef Danielle Alex shares tips on buying and cooking delicious salmon, both wild-caught and farm-raised.

It’s happened to the best of us: we cook up some gorgeous (aka expensive) salmon fillets only to find them covered in white gunk. What the heck! Where does that white stuff come from? Why does it appear sometimes, but not others? And most importantly: is it okay to eat?

Before you go trashing that salmon, read this. That white slimy stuff is called albumin, and it’s actually just a harmless (albeit pretty gross-looking) protein that solidifies as salmon cooks.

According to chef Danielle Alex, host on Food Network Kitchen and owner of a private catering busines in New York City, the albumin appears due to the way you cook the salmon: "More often than not, when you overcook salmon, you can see a lot of that white substance all over the salmon," Alex explains. "There’s nothing wrong at all with eating that albumin. It tastes completely fine, it’s good for you, it’s just another protein that comes out from the side of the salmon." Albumin also appears when you cook your salmon quickly.

The easiest way to prevent albumin from appearing is to cook salmon slowly over low heat — and to make sure you don’t cook it to death. If you are searing it or grilling salmon over high heat, just make sure you cook the salmon skin-side down for most of the time. The skin acts as an insulator and cooks the salmon more gently. Flip over those fillets at the very end and kiss the flesh with heat just long enough to take the dark pink color off of it.

And if all else fails and you end up with a lot of albumin on your salmon? You can gently scrape off the big bits with the edge of a butter knife before serving. Problem. Solved.

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