RECIPE: Grilled Salmon Collars

  • Photo by: © Holly A. Heyser/

    Now that we have everyone’s attention with our amazing wild Alaskan salmon, I wanted to take a moment and look past the big slab of ruby red meat we call the fillet. I want to look north from the fillet toward the head of the salmon, to two little know delicacies of an almost devine nature––the collar and the cheek. I have extolled the virtues of salmon cheeks and given many away to some of you, but in this article I am going to talk about the collar, a crescent shaped cut taken from just behind the head but in front of the fillet.

    Like the belly of the salmon, the collar area is full of fat, which is fantastic for you and tastes amazing. King salmon collars in particular are outrageously fatty. The head is also full of fatty meat and is popular in many Asian countries but seems to be slow to catch on in the U.S. The collar generally has a good amount of fillet meat attached as well as fatty meat around the plate of bone along the front edge. While there is a little more work involved in getting at this succulent meat, it is well worth it.

    The Japanese have long enjoyed a dish called Hamachi Kama, or grilled yellowtail collars. Hamachi is a highly valued species of fish that is both farmed in Japan and caught wild in the Pacific––in the U.S. it is sometimes called yellowtail (Seriola quinqueradiata) or amberjack. These collars are grilled simply with salt and pepper and served with Japanese style pickles and other side dishes. Eating salmon collars comes from this illustrious Japanese tradition.

    While you can simply put a little olive oil, salt and pepper on the collars then grill, you can also marinate them in something a little sweet and a little salty. Try soy sauce, brown sugar and fresh ginger (recipe here) then marinate for a few hours or overnight. Also try this amazing and simple marinade from Honest Food––Grilled Salmon Collars.

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