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Old 09-28-2019, 11:51 AM   #1
fisheromen
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Default Salmon head and carcass soup

A couple of years ago I decided to try and learn how to utilize each salmon I caught in totality. For me and my personal ethic and situation it just made sense.

One of the ways I do this is with salmon head and carcass soup. It is very rich and healthy and everyone who tries it thinks it is to die for.
Here's how I make it:

Carcass: When I filet out my salmon I sever the carcass from the head and tail, halve it and put it in a very lightly oiled casserole dish, covered with tin foil, for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Pull it from the oven and put it in the refer or on the counter until cool enough to pick the meat from the carcass - comes right off. Save meat and put aside for the soup and discard the carcass.

Tail: I just throw these in a crab bait bag I keep in the freezer.

Head: The head(s) go into a crockpot with enough water to almost cover (more for multiple salmon), a teaspoon of salt per head, and a TB of apple cider vinegar per head (aids in breaking the head down I think). Make sure gills are entirely removed. I simmer this on low for 12-24 hrs, though a shorter time would probably get it done. When finished I strain out all the solids into a bowl (I use a slotted ladle) and set aside until cool enough to handle. The remaining broth is very oily and flavorful. When the solids are cool enough I pick out the salmon cheeks and the meat that comes off the back of the head which I save and put aside for soup.

FREEZING: I have frozen the broth and meat picked from carcass/head and used it up to 9 months later with no complaints.

SALMON HEAD SOUP - my version
70 oz Salmon head stock (2-3 coho heads)
20 oz Salmon pickings (2-3 coho carcasses)
2" Ginger finely grated or chopped
1 bunch Scallions
2/3 cup Wakame dried, seaweed - some recipes call for Kombu
1/4 cup White dry wine, vermouth, or mirin (if mirin eliminate sugar)
2 TB Sugar
1/8 cup Soy sauce
3 TB White miso paste
1 Jalapeno (optional)
2 Zucchini, noodled (optional, other recipes call for somen,
udon or rice noodles)

1. Heat stock
2. Heat two cups of water and add Wakame for 5 minutes, drain
3. Grate ginger, finely chop jalapeno, chop scallions, noodle zucchini
4. Add all ingredients to stock except zucchini and miso paste and bring to gentle boil, reduce heat to simmer
5. Ladle out a cup of broth and stir in miso paste until dissolved, stir this back into soup.
6. Add zucchini until desired tenderness (immediately?) and remove from heat.

Other variations and versions use sake, or add things like mushrooms, daikon, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, bok choy, mustard greens, pepper, lemon juice, etc.

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Last edited by fisheromen; 09-28-2019 at 11:53 AM.
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Old 09-28-2019, 01:06 PM   #2
fisherman_rick
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Default Re: Salmon head and carcass soup

Oh man that sounds delicious. I like to make fish stock out of my carcs/heads, too; I've got a bunch of it in the freezer. Makes a mean seafood chowder base. I'm going to try your soup recipe, with my stock. Thanks for posting!
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Old 09-28-2019, 02:01 PM   #3
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Default Re: Salmon head and carcass soup

Sounds great, if you put your carcass on a pellet grill with a little seasoning salt, on hot smoke setting, it takes about 15-20 minutes get the meat to fall off the bone level and it has an awesome smokiness to it.

Bookmarked as I want to try this soup recipe, thanks.
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Old 09-28-2019, 02:41 PM   #4
Sneaker
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Default Re: Salmon head and carcass soup

Does anyone do this with picked-over crab shells? There’s always a bit of meat left over, no matter how hard I try.
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Old 09-29-2019, 05:42 AM   #5
Big Bubba
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Default Re: Salmon head and carcass soup

Fisheromen, agree on not wasting any thing on the fish. Will certainly try your recipe. love good soups, especially healthy ones.

One thing I do before discarding carcass is take a spoon to it and scrape what little meat is still attached to the bones. I usually fill a small sandwich bag with chitlins, fry em, add to salads.
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Old 09-29-2019, 03:32 PM   #6
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Default Re: Salmon head and carcass soup

My version is very similar, my Norwegian friends appreciate it little more than my other crew.
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Old 09-30-2019, 05:43 AM   #7
Tesoro
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Default Re: Salmon head and carcass soup

I have made similar for a spiced cioppino/bouillabaisse type fish stew base stock. Diff Is I cut out the gills on all fish heads and add onions, carrots, lot of broken up unpeeled garlic heads and a cheesecloth bag of fish spices like thyme, oregano or just a bottle of italian seasoning. Add a little bit of salt but don't oversalt. Can also toss in picked out crab legs and bodies etc or anything else seafoody that has some meat and flavor.

Put all in a crab pot cooker with gal or two of water depending on amt of heads. Then get it real hot and then low simmer for a few hrs. let it cool some with time for most of the junk to settle. Then pour or ladle out of pot into a container that had a cheese cloth spread over lid ( if have helper) or into a giant funnel lined with cheese cloth. don't bother with the bottom part which if full of bones n parts.
Then take the liquid and re-filter it thru double cheesecloth to get out fine particles of spice.

Now you have a super tasty concentrated fish stock of known origin that you can freeze in plastic water bottles or whatever. Use as base for french/italian fish stews, spanish seafood paella for the rice or in other seafood cooking.
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Old 09-30-2019, 07:50 AM   #8
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Default Re: Salmon head and carcass soup

Gosh, we've never gone through that much trouble making salmon soup out of the carcass. After filleting the fish, we cut the skeleton in half, chop off the head and remove gills. Then we just put all of that (head and skeleton) in a stock pot and fill 3/4 full with water and boil for 45 minutes. We then strain the broth and the meat on the carcass and head are easy to pick off when done, if it didn't fall off already, then we add a bit of seasonings and green onion. We also have added cooked rice in it - that's good too. Or we have done the rice addition and serve with a fresh baguette so you can dip it in the broth.
You can freeze the broth if you don't want to make soup at that time.

The first time I had this soup I about died, it was sooo good! We've made it ever since when we get fresh salmon. Lots of omega 3 oils in it that keeps us healthy.
Just added a pic of this soup.
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Last edited by Ichthyolic; 10-18-2019 at 06:09 AM. Reason: Add pic
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Old 11-05-2019, 07:10 PM   #9
Tesoro
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Default Re: Salmon head and carcass soup

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tesoro View Post
I have made similar for a spiced cioppino/bouillabaisse type fish stew base stock. Diff Is I cut out the gills on all fish heads and add onions, carrots, lot of broken up unpeeled garlic heads and a cheesecloth bag of fish spices like thyme, oregano or just a bottle of italian seasoning. Add a little bit of salt but don't oversalt. Can also toss in picked out crab legs and bodies etc or anything else seafoody that has some meat and flavor.

Put all in a crab pot cooker with gal or two of water depending on amt of heads. Then get it real hot and then low simmer for a few hrs. let it cool some with time for most of the junk to settle. Then pour or ladle out of pot into a container that had a cheese cloth spread over lid ( if have helper) or into a giant funnel lined with cheese cloth. don't bother with the bottom part which if full of bones n parts.
Then take the liquid and re-filter it thru double cheesecloth to get out fine particles of spice.

Now you have a super tasty concentrated fish stock of known origin that you can freeze in plastic water bottles or whatever. Use as base for french/italian fish stews, spanish seafood paella for the rice or in other seafood cooking.
second that! that how I do it for ever...
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Old 11-05-2019, 08:29 PM   #10
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Default Re: Salmon head and carcass soup

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sneaker View Post
Does anyone do this with picked-over crab shells? There’s always a bit of meat left over, no matter how hard I try.
Yes, usually I have a few rockfish or a halibut carcasses and I combine them. The picked over crab makes kind of a thin broth by itself, but does add good flavor when added to a seafood stock.

I've also done something similar to this with picked-over crab shells:
https://www.brownetrading.com/recipe...tacean-butter/
I don't but the shells and butter in my kitchen aid though just break the crab in to small pieces and mix together. The trick is to keep never let the butter get too hot and burn or its all over and just throw it away. Just hot enough to mix the flavors of the shells and butter for the first part an just hot enough to evaporate the water an not brown the butter at the end. The crab infused butter is wonderful as a finishing butter over fish.

Last edited by Root Hog or Die; 11-05-2019 at 08:40 PM.
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Old 11-05-2019, 08:32 PM   #11
Root Hog or Die
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Default Re: Salmon head and carcass soup

It is kind of funny how many older seafood cookbooks will tell you that salmon carcasses don't make good stock and to stick to white meat fish. They're wrong, as long as it is good quality fresh salmon it makes great stock. I think the best fish stock I ever made was with spring Chinook.

Last edited by Root Hog or Die; 11-05-2019 at 08:50 PM.
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Old 11-11-2019, 08:51 AM   #12
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Default Re: Salmon head and carcass soup

Big fan of salmon stock/soup. Just so good. We have enjoyed recently adding fresh crab on top.

I also like grilling the carcass and heads. Split the heads, then olive oil, salt/pepper and cook quickly on very hot grill. No fish waste and it makes a great dinner. lunch. Best meat is closest to the bone!
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