Sushi & Sake Series: How to Prepare Salmon Sushi

“That’s a big fish!” In the 2nd part of our Sushi & Sake series, we dove into filleting a king salmon with Stacey Ingram from Indah Sushi in Whitefish, Montana. 

What’s a King Salmon?

King salmon is the largest species of wild North Pacific salmon. It can be found in the rivers of Western North America, from Northern California to Alaska, all the way over to Japan and the Arctic Sea, and has also been introduced into other areas of the world. There are only 2 places in the world where you can get king salmon that is high enough in grade to cut it sashimi style. New Zealand is one of those places and where Stacey gets her king salmon from! Specifically, king salmon has a rich fatty consistency, that is a full fresh fish flavor with just a bit of sweetness. The fat on king salmon can be so creamy that sushi grade salmon belly is on par with sushi-grade tuna belly, which is considered a delicacy. 

How to Fillet King Salmon

We’ll break down the steps below, but our IGTV with Stacey doing her thing is super information and a real treat! Be sure to tune in here! 

Steps!

  • Take the head of the salmon off first
    • The head can be used for Fish Head soup, which is delicious! 

      fish head soup!

  • Open up the fish by cutting the fish long ways down the middle so you have 2 big slices
  • Debone the fish and take the spine out
  • Take the bottom fin off, this fin is know as the collar
    • The collar has super rich meat right behind where the gills of the fish are and you can fry this piece for something crispy and delicious
  • Take the additional belly fin off, trying to keep it as much in tact as possible
    • This is the premium part of any fish.
    • The blood rushes to the stomach which they utilize while swimming and contributes to the fatty goodness of this part of the meat
  • Take all the pin bones out from the end of the fish so they’re not served within the sushi 🙂 
  • Next you’ll start cutting the fillets for serving pieces cutting away from the skin
    • Most filet cuts are 3 fingers in width
    • The leftover skin can be put in the fryer for hand rolls
    • The perfect sashimi and nigiri size, are bite sized which creates a perfect balance
  • The bloodline also gets removed from the salmon

Other Facts

  • Fish is graded based on age and consistency of the meat.
  • The grading generally takes place right at the boat level. 
  • The restaurant level will pay for the fish based on a per pound basis and depending on the grade.
  • A consumer is charged for sushi pieces dependent on where the meat is coming from off the fish.
  • Skin on both sides is your fish is the most premium cut of king salmon and will be your most expensive.

All this rich delicious salmon sushi talk is making us want a crisp glass of white! We hope you had fun learning about how your delicious salmon sushi is prepared! 

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