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Thread: Should one eat or not eat fish skins?

  1. #1

    Should one eat or not eat fish skins?


    I am beginning to cook fish a lot, and I'm curious if it is generally good or bad to eat the skins. I'm specifically interested in:

    Red snapper
    Rainbow Trout

    I find it's difficult to get the skins off of the raw fish. Once cooked, they generally come right off.

    I typically *enjoy* eating the skins when I do, but I'm holding off on doing this habitually because I'm unsure whether or not do so.

    I have and plan to buy almost exclusively from some wild-caught "organic" provider like Whole Foods or specialized fish stores. I live in downtown Chicago.

    Thanks for any suggestions or assistance!

  2. #2
    Fish skins typically contain higher quantities of pollutants as well as the parasites that live on the fish, so you want to be cognizant of that, however there's nothing inherently wrong with eating small amounts of the skins. Sushi-grade markerel often is served with some of the skin still attached, in fact.

    You mentioned that you're planning to buy exclusively from organic, wild-caught providers, and that's good in the sense that you're not as likely to encounter fish that have been fed growth hormones and that sort of thing. Wild fish are also typically leaner than farmed. That said, if they are caught in polluted areas, you're not protected from that.

    Here's a good article on eating fish safely:

    All in all, if it were me, I'd avoid eating the skins in large quantities, but not freak out if a little remained attached to the fillet. Additionally, I'd be more comfortable (again, this is me, not a doctor or an expert) eating skin that'd been cooked at high temperatures as opposed to raw.
    We are beautiful no matter what they say
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    We are beautiful no matter what they say
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    I got that same question published in both Eating Well and Fine Cooking magazine (I think it was FC...)

    I felt that skin would probably be a great source of Omega 3 acids because there's a lot of fat under the skin. Apparently, the authorities from both magazines said that the fish's skin is its first line of defense against its surroundings - like a filter.

    So the answer is no, you should not eat the skin.

    . o O (I was very disappointed...)
    "There's no food in your food!!" Joan Cusack to John Cusack in "Say Anything."

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    In front of my computer
    I didn't know that it was even done.
    Well, different strokes for different folks.
    More calm, cool, scathing logic that drives women crazy...

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