No Waste Food Recipe: Salmon Flakes from Salmon Head & Frame

My strong Mottainai feeling especially occurs when I go to the fish shop – the bait section. There are so many edible parts of fish there. Some of them are the best part of the fish. And…, is this the price for this quality?! The bait section is honestly my treasure chest.

So, what do I do with them?

For Skin, I just season with salt and over-bake, and that makes crispy skin chips!

For Wings (that’s the best part), they can make tasty fish stew.

For Head & Frame, yes, off course we can make great fish head soup. However, my favourite is flaked fish meat – especially with salmon, which is called Salmon Flakes or Sake Flakes in Japanese. I oven-bake them and scrape the fish meat from between the bones and head. The meat between the bones has a great flavour, and the meat around the neck is much fattier than the back meat. Very tasty.

In Japan, a jar of flakes salmon is commonly sold in the shop. It is normally eaten as an accompaniment to rice. Rice Balls with Salmon Flakes (aka Sake Onigiri) is our favourite. Slightly salted fatty flakes salmon totally matches with sweet Japanese rice. Of course, we can make it from salmon fillets, but why not utilise the beautiful fatty meat left on the head and bones rather than wasting it?

So…, how much edible meat can a salmon’s head and frame yield?

According to this informative site ( ) and our fish monger, a salmon can averagely yield 70%, which means that 70% of the total weight of a salmon becomes salmon fillets after being gutted, cleaned and sided (compared to the other fish, this ratio looks quite good). This means, 30% of a whole salmon normally goes to a bin or a bait section as waste.

I am not sure how heavy salmon organs are (which goes into the bin), but let’s say, just roughly 30% of a salmon becomes my Salmon Flakes’ ingredient.

I weigh our purchased salmon last time (We normally buy a whole salmon and ask the fish monger to gut, clean, pin-bone and fillet the fish, and then we take the head, frame and any remaining except offal to home as well). It was…

  • Weight of the whole salmon – 4.3 kg
  • Weight of the head, frame and other bits and pieces – 1.3kg (Wow! it was 30%!)

After bake them and scrape the remaining salmon meat…

I could produce 220g of Salmon Flakes.

This means the salmon’s head and frame can still yield 17% more salmon meat.

What do you think? Is it worth it or cannot it be bothered?

For me, it’s totally worth it. It is such a waste to throw good food away. 220g of treasure is hidden in waste – that’s what I think.

I understand that fish head might not be for everyone, but next time when you go to the fish shop, just have a look at the bait section and maybe think about this post – that would be great.

If you are convinced, here is my Salmon Flakes recipe. All you have to do is season with salt and oven-bake them. Super easy! Although I love eating it with rice, it is also nice to make salmon salad with it. Place the salmon flakes in a clean jar, so that it will be kept for 3-4 days in the fridge or longer in the freezer. It will be ready to eat whenever you want.

Salmon Flakes by alittlebitofsoy


  • 1 x Salmon Head and Frame (about 1.3kg) – ask your fish monger and get a fresh one
  • 5 Teaspoons of Sea Salt


  • Prep for salmon head and frame. Wash the salmon head and frame. Pat-dry them with paper towels. Place paper towels on a big flat plate and lay every part of the head and frame nicely. Sprinkle sea salt over then evenly. Do not forget seasoning inside of the salmon head as well. Cover and wrap them with another layer of paper towels. Leave them for at last 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 220 ° C
  • Lay the salmon head and frame on baking trays nicely without over-wrapping each other.
  • Bake them for 30-40 minutes or until they are nicely coloured , and the meat is cooked. The head will take longer than others. The head will take about 40 minutes and the spine will be about 30-40 minutes. Other scraps will be between 20-30 minutes (the cooking time is just for your reference, It will depend on your oven and the size of the fish).
  • Once the salmon head and frame have cooled down, scrape salmon meat off the head and frame with either chopsticks or a fork. Please do not forget the cheek meat! It is the best!
Salmon Flakes by alittlebitofsoy

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