Most Filipinos love salmon. Unfortunately, a yummy, generous fillet isn't exactly affordable, which is why, in the Philippines, many families save their salmon recipes for special occasions, like Noche Buena or a birthday party. But did you know that you can enjoy this beloved fish without making too deep a dent in your budget? Meet the salmon belly, an inexpensive cut that allows you to have your favorite fish whenever you want.
Despite its price tag, salmon belly doesn't rob you of satisfaction. It's full of fat, which means flavor. It even has meat on the side, so you have that familiar earthiness. If you love bangus belly, then you'll appreciate salmon belly, too. Did you know that it's the most preferred portion for salmon sashimi?
Keep reading for everything you need to know about this budget-friendly ingredient. Plus, discover some salmon belly benefits and learn a few easy recipes to maximize its potential.
What is Salmon Belly?
The belly is underneath the loin. Fishmongers trim it off to prepare those neat fillets. It ends up thinner than other cuts, but it’s full of delicious fat and becomes tender once cooked. Salmon belly doesn't always look the most appetizing – especially if you're partial to fillets and steaks – but what it lacks in appearance, it makes up for in flavor.
What are some salmon belly benefits?
Salmon is well-known for being a source of omega-3 fatty acids. So, don't hesitate if you see a strip of salmon belly on your plate. These healthy fats aren't like pork fats at all. They help develop a healthy brain, manage heart disease, and lower blood pressure.
Salmon Belly Recipes
It’s wallet-forgiving, abundant in flavor, and even good for your health! If you still need more convincing, turn to these easy recipes featuring that beautiful belly.
Sinigang na Salmon Belly
Are you tired of the usual sinigang featuring pork belly, beef ribs, or shrimp? It’s time to make a salmon version! The best part? It cooks quicker than other proteins as the belly takes no time to poach in the sour soup base. Plus, this salmon cut lends more flavor to the dish, transforming it into an umami bomb.
Breeze through the process using a packet of Knorr Sinigang sa Sampalok mix. Simply sauté some onions and tomatoes in a pot, then add water and the instant powder. Toss in your vegetables, chilies, and belly strips, and then simmer until done. Serve with steaming white rice and patis for sawsawan.
Salmon Belly Salpicao
Salpicao is a classic dish of beef cubes cooked in olive oil and garlic. However, the protein, especially the good kind, will make you spend beyond your budget. So, why not use salmon instead? The fatty cut will work perfectly as a tasty and tender beef substitute.
Cut the belly into cubes, then marinate and cook them as usual. Just be mindful of the cooking time since fish cooks faster than beef. Serve with a generous sprinkling of fried garlic!
Salmon Belly Teriyaki
Teriyaki is a Japanese cooking technique of broiling or grilling meat and topping it with a glaze of soy sauce, mirin, and sugar. You can use many types of protein for this, including chicken and pork strips. But if you want a healthier and budget-conscious option, then go for salmon belly.
You can follow any simple teriyaki recipe for this purpose. Marinate your fish in teriyaki sauce for 30 minutes. Next, fry the belly, skin-side down, until it gets crispy. Once your belly is nearly cooked, pour in the remaining marinade and reduce until thick. Done!
Salmon Belly Tempura
Are you thinking of making tempura but don’t have the budget for prawns? Say hello to the belly! Your guests won’t even notice the difference since the strips effortlessly mimic the shellfish. To start, prepare your tempura breading according to package directions. Coat the belly, then fry it until golden and crisp. Repeat until you have enough to feed everyone. Serve with the usual dipping sauce and a bowl of Japanese rice. Alternatively, you can top your fried fish over a bed of greens, like in this tempura salad recipe.
Next time you’re buying fish, skip the pricey filet and grab a bag of salmon belly instead. Your tummy and your wallet will thank you later!