Some varieties of salmon like Oncorhynchus gorbusha are preferable to consume raw, they have great flavor even without any seasoning. Other varieties with dark flesh and high fat content when raw seem almost intolerable to me. Is to possible by some curing process to make their taste closer to neutral?

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    I'm not clear on which salmon you're talking about that you dislike; I'm not that familiar with salmon with "dark flesh and high fat content". Can you link to articles or pictures? – FuzzyChef Dec 20 '19 at 6:41
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    It sounds like you're describing sockeye salmon or possibly coho, which both have darker flesh. Sockeye, is also fattier & stronger tasting. I'm not posting this as an answer because it goes against your question's premise, but... You should consider cooking it if you want to make the taste less intense. Raw fish simply has a much more intense "fish" flavor compared to cooked fish. – AMtwo Dec 20 '19 at 12:05

My suggestion would be if you don't like the taste don't buy the fish in the first place, however if you have bought fish and then found out it's too strong a flavor there are a few things you can do:

  • A squeeze of lemon: acidity is a well known and frequently used way to cut fatty, oily flavors
  • Sugar rub: coating the flesh with some sugar and letting it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour draws out moisture and the sugar will impart some flavor, just get rid of the excess before you eat it
  • Salt rub: similar to sugar you can do the same thing with salt, I do a mix

You could do a full cure as well but it seems overkill and isn't likely to do more than a shorter rub. I'd suggest starting with lemon and seeing if that helps, if it doesn't I'd be tempted to cook it instead of spending a lot of time and effort making it more palatable raw.


I work on a gillnet boat in Alaska for a few weeks each summer. Here are some tips:

  • Get the freshest fish you can. I know you asked about the curing process specifically, but it all starts here. Anything you do after this is just masking any off flavors. The older it is the more fishy and strongly flavored it becomes.

  • If you can find it get fish that has been pressure bled. This is a process that occurs on the fishing vessel immediately after harvest where the blood is forced out with pressurized brine. It increases shelf life and removes some of the less desirable flavors present in the blood. In the US pressure bled is available for sockeye (red), chinook (king), and coho (silver), but not pink (humpy) or chum (keta/dog). I'm not familiar with other species, such as Atlantic salmon, so I can't comment on the availability for those.

  • Remove the brown or gray colored flesh next to the skin. It is more strongly flavored.

  • In my opinion sockeye salmon has the strongest flavor, and chinook is usually the fattiest (and by far the most expensive). Coho is somewhere in the middle. Pink is mild flavored, and has the benefit of being the most affordable, but you might want to give chum/keta a try too. I've never tried other species such as Atlantic salmon, so I can't give an opinion on those.

  • I've never tried it, but I can't imagine farmed salmon tastes better than wild. Their flesh is dyed, they are fed kibble, and are mass confined in pens.

  • Since we are talking about raw salmon: never eat raw salmon that has not been frozen long or cold enough to kill parasites. In the US sushi restaurants do this and so should you if you make it at home. You don't want to get anisakiasis or fish tapeworm, and never feed raw, unfrozen salmon to your dog. But don't let this scare you: just properly handle your fish and you and your dog will be fine.

  • How is salmon that is used for sushi prepared to prevent anisakiasis or fish tapeworm? – CrossRoads Dec 20 '19 at 19:10
  • @CrossRoads In the US it must be frozen first. I'll mention that in the answer. – llogan Dec 20 '19 at 19:11
  • Is that true for other fish also? I've had sushi at a few Japanese restaurants outside of the Boston, MA area and it has all been rather tasty. (whereas previously I had never had sushi, sashimi, etc., ever.) I do like cooked fish as well. – CrossRoads Dec 20 '19 at 19:16
  • @CrossRoads Yes, other fish as well are frozen first which is good because I've seen anisakis/pseudoterranova in halibut, cod, herring, and others too. – llogan Dec 20 '19 at 19:18

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