Salmon Head Soup

The Nasty Bits

Recipes and stories for everything but the oink.

Salmon Head Soup

[Photograph: Chichi Wang]

About the author: Chichi Wang took her degree in philosophy, but decided that writing about food would be much more fun than writing about Plato. She firmly believes in all things offal, the importance of reading great books, and the necessity of three-hour meals. If she were ever to get a tattoo, it would say "Fat is flavor." Visit her blog, The Offal Cook.

  • Yield:serves 4
  • Active time: 45 minutes
  • Total time:45 minutes
  • Rated:


  • 2 salmon heads, or one salmon frame (head, tails, and scraps)
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 1 large bunch fresh dill
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup cream, or to taste
  • To garnish:
  • About 1/3 cup chopped fresh dill


  1. 1.

    Over medium heat, melt the butter in the sauté pan. Add the onions and sauté until softened but not browned, about 7 minutes. Add the salmon parts, the potatoes, bay leaves, salt, and all but a few stalk of the dill. Add enough water to just cover the fish. Bring the water to a steady simmer and cook until fish and potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

  2. 2.

    Using a slotted spoon, remove the fish parts from the liquid. When the fish is cool enough to handle, separate the meat and other edible parts (eyeballs, cartilage, etc.) from the skeleton.

  3. 3.

    Add the fish parts back to the soup. Reheat gently at a low simmer, taking care not to break up the fish flesh. Add the cream and the chopped fresh dill. Add more salt, if needed, and freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately. Leftovers may be kept in the refrigerator for up to three days and reheated over a low simmer.