Is it OK to Eat Salmon Skin?

More often than not, I get asked if it’s OK to eat salmon skin. The answer: yes—yes it is OK, but there are a few important things to consider before adding salmon skin to your diet, one being personal preference. I love crispy salmon skin but I know plenty of people who don’t. And although I will eat it grilled or pan-fried, I’m not inclined to cook it separately, but I know people who do and, believe it or not, they all swear it’s just like eating bacon. That, I doubt, but hey, if you like the texture and flavor, then go for it. Here’s a few other things to consider when deciding whether or not to eat salmon skin.

Nutritional value of salmon skin: Some of the same nutrients that are in the fish, are also in its skin—some, even more so. Salmon skin is a good source of protein, vitamins B and D, niacin and other essential minerals, and, because the skin itself is higher in fat than the flesh, it contains an even higher concentration of omega-3 fatty acids.  

According to the Mayo Clinic, omega-3 fatty acids can reduce your risk for heart disease as well as lower triglyceride levels

Consider the source: Just like the fish itself (and like many fruits and vegetables) the skin carries with it the traits of its environment. A salmon caught in the pristine waters of Alaska has far different attributes than one raised in polluted waters. And, while I am neither for or against aquaculture, if I don’t know the farm where the salmon is raised, I will not eat the skin. NOTE, there are some fabulous farms out there (Ora and Verlasso) with excellent salmon—salmon that has skin even I would eat, but, if you’re unfamiliar with the farm where it was raised, I advise you skip the skin.

Bottom line: It’s OK to eat salmon skin, but consider the source. And, be aware that it has a higher fat content than the rest of the fish so for those on a restricted diet, eating salmon skin might not be a good choice. But, for most people, eating salmon skin is A-OK and at around 100 calories per serving, it’s a tasty addition to your diet.

Grilling salmon with the skin seals essential nutrients and healthy oils inside the fish

Best way to cook salmon skin: As I mentioned before, there are plenty of people who like to fry salmon skin as they do bacon. So,  if you want to try this method, it’s as simple as can be: fry the skins until golden brown in a few tablespoons of oil (try sesame oil), add salt and pepper, and you’re done.

Or, you can grill your salmon with the skin on: lightly brush skin with olive oil, place directly on a hot grill, skin-side down. Grill salmon for about 10 minutes depending on the thickness of your filet. Use a heavy spatula to remove, place on serving dish and you’re done. Salt and pepper and lemon to taste. Enjoy!

On Being a Flexitarian

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