Salmon is one of the prettiest fleshed fish for food photography. The color is unique and gorgeous and the fish holds up well cut as steaks, salmon sides, and fillets. Skin off or skin on salmon is just plain pretty.
One of the biggest problems food stylists come across when styling salmon is the white albumin that creeps to the surface during the cooking process. These are an accumulation of the proteins in the muscle that come to the top when the fish is heated. We like to call this “white slime”. It is not attractive and can really detract from the appetite appeal of the fish. Here you see some examples of this:
So the question becomes, what can we do about this “white slime”? Here are our favorite solutions:
- If you are not getting a lot, you could always scrap it off very gently with a knife. That may have worked in the first photo example above. It’s not a great technique as the filet can end up looking a little ragged from the scraping.
- Another solution which we have had mixed results with is to cook in a lower temperature oven like 300 – 325 degrees. Slightly under cooking the salmon will also help.
- Our favorite method is to create a salt brine to marinate the salmon in for about 15 minutes before cooking. We combine 1 tablespoon of sea salt for every cup of water; stir to dissolve salt. Then place your fillet or steak in a shallow ceramic or glass dish and pour the brine on top. Make sure to cover the salmon completely. Allow it to sit for 15 minutes then bake per your recipe or if you don’t need to follow a specific recipe put it in a preheated 325 degrees F oven until the salmon looks beautifully cooked on the outside. Of course, if you are showing the inside then you will have to cook it all the way through.
Any glazes or additional seasonings can be added towards the end of baking.