I intend to cook some salmon fish over this weekend so that I can treat my friends and relatives. However, I saw this article - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/08/22/the-hidden-dangers-of-unc_n_120584.html, it mention about the hidden danger of uncooked salmon.

So, my question is how should I cook my salmon such that it is cooked properly? (in other words, how can I identify that my salmon fish is not cooked well. Of course, I don't want my salmon fish to become so cooked that it turn into a black ash.)

Would appreciate if there are pictures showing a well-cooked salmon fish and pictures showing salmon fish that is not cooked properly and showing sign of rawness inside the cooked fish when cut into half.

Just some illustrations as follows:

I don't want my salmon fish to be somewhere like this cause it look un-cook inside:

enter image description here

Also, I don't want my salmon fish to be somewhere like this cause it look over-cooked outside:

enter image description here

Also, I ask a article - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medium_rare (honestly, I do not know if it can apply to fishes)

Term (French)               | Description                        | Temperature range[1]
Extra-rare or Blue (bleu)   | very red and cold                  | 46–49 °C (115–120 °F)
Rare (saignant)             | cold red center; soft              | 52–55 °C (125–130 °F)
Medium rare (à point)       | warm red center; firmer            | 55–60 °C (130–140 °F)
Medium (demi-anglais)       | pink and firm                      | 60–65 °C (140–150 °F)
Medium well (cuit)          | small amount of pink in the center | 65–69 °C (150–155 °F)
Well done (bien cuit)       | gray-brown throughout; firm        | 71–100 °C (160–212 °F)

So, I was wondering if I really need to cut those salmon fish into tiny slices so that when I cooked them, the fish will be between "Medium well" to "Well done" throughout. (Notice that I did not want a "Well Done" because I don't want to have "black ash" on the outside of the salmon fish)

  • duplicate question? cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/14233/…
    – talon8
    Commented Oct 15, 2012 at 4:02
  • @talon8, if I have not mis-understand the question that you have refer, it is more about how to cook the salmon fish to medium rare. My question is more of a "full" rare (or in other words, the salmon fish starting from the outside to the inside is cooked properly and does not shows any sign of rawness.) My objective is to have the outside and inside of salmon fish to have a cooked balance. (I hope that my explanation is clear)
    – Jack
    Commented Oct 15, 2012 at 5:15
  • Cooked through and cooked properly are two separate things. Salmon like many other fish is much better to eat when cooked a little rare. You'll note in that article that certain frozen salmon is safe, so consider buying that and cooking it so that it's potential is achieved. Otherwise what's the point? Commented Oct 15, 2012 at 7:53
  • By "full" I assume you mean "well done" (Rare means raw). Either way though, the easiest way if you're unsure is to look at the colour inside, the colour will be even throughout. Alton Brown suggests 131, but I suspect that might be too raw for your target. I've read suggestions as high as 150F for the target temp. This might be closer to what you're looking for.
    – talon8
    Commented Oct 15, 2012 at 13:48
  • @talon8 Thanks for telling me that Rare means raw :) I have added extra information to my question and I hope that it is much clearer.
    – Jack
    Commented Oct 16, 2012 at 1:57

2 Answers 2


The most reliable way to test any meat is with a thermometer. Be careful to insert it all the way into the center (since the outside will be hotter). As has been mentioned in the comments, the 130-135F range is cooked, but very soft. It's more likely that you want something in the 140F-150F range.

This is where the second method comes in - just test it. When fish is cooked, it should easily flake apart, and you can see the inside and verify that it's cooked how you want it. Remember, you can always cook it a bit longer, but you can't go backwards, so don't be too shy about checking it. There's no shame in having to check it a couple times before you decide it's done; within a try or two you'll know exactly what you're looking for. And you can do this along with a thermometer, since it's hard to tell exactly what temperature would be best for you.

Whatever you do, be careful not to overcook it - remove it from the heat as soon as you think it's done. It'll still cook a little bit more, as heat transfers from the outside to the inside.

You still haven't mentioned how you plan to cook it. The picture you think looks bad might actually be really good - if it was cooked on high heat, it may be done perfectly on the inside, with a bit of browning and charring on the outside. If you're cooking it more slowly, that's obviously not what you want it to look like on the outside - then inside would be totally overcooked.

All that said, the easiest way to cook fish (especially if you don't have a lot of experience) is baking it, wrapped in foil (or in a foil-covered dish). It's a slow heat, so it's a lot harder to accidentally overcook it, and it cooks more evenly than a hot pan or a grill. There are a lot of other great ways, but this might be good to start with. You could look for recipes for baked salmon to get some ideas here, if you don't just want a plain piece of fish.

  • So, if baking the salmon fish in a slow heat, then, I think the time to take to bake it will be critical. So, how long would it take to make my baked salmon appear to what I wish for?
    – Jack
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 6:15
  • @Jack I really meant it when I said to use a thermometer, or to at least check it a couple times during. There is absolutely no way anyone can tell you how long it'll take - wildly guessing, it could be anywhere from 20 minutes for a thin filet to perhaps 40-50 minutes for a thick piece.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 6:29
  • yeah, it good to know the range of time to bake it. I think I will cut the salmon to thin fillet since it will take shorter time.
    – Jack
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 6:33

Do as the link suggest and freeze it to get rid of potential Larva, to pasteurise you need to over cook the salmon. Alton is right on the money for pasteurising, but need to keep it at 131 for a while, and it will be overcooked. I would suggest to eat it below 131 and be happy, I do mine at 104!

  • I'm not sure how you expect OP to perform that freezing process. I suspect its unlikely he has access to a capable of holding -31°F (-35°C) for 15 hours. -40 freezers go for several thousand for a tiny chest freezer. Instead, OP should buy fish that has already been so treated.
    – derobert
    Commented Oct 18, 2012 at 22:05

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