Sometimes seen as an offcut, fish belly is a truly delicious piece of meat – it’s full of flavour and all the goodness of omega-3. This week on Friday Night Feast, Jamie and Jimmy take a look at this underused part of salmon; and here, Daniel Nowland, Head of Jamie’s Technical Food team, explains how eating fish belly also reduces waste.

Salmon is one of the top five fish and seafood eaten in the UK, alongside cod, haddock, tuna and prawns. Most of the salmon we eat is farmed – a process that relies on many resources, including wild fish for them to feed on. So, as Jamie and Jimmy discover on Friday Night Feast, while salmon farming can be responsible, it is vital we make full use of the final product to reduce unnecessary waste.

What is the waste issue?

Very few of us buy salmon as a whole fish. Most consumers prefer to buy fillets that are neatly cut and packed, or displayed on a fish counter. In order to make the fillets look attractive to the consumer, the belly of the fish is always trimmed away as it’s less attractive than the main fillet – thinner and usually fattier. However, this overlooked cut is also delicious and has a good nutritional value

Is this a global issue?

No! In many countries, fish belly is bought for a premium, as consumers value the amazing flavour and texture it provides. For example, in Japan it is one of the most prized foods around.

What are the benefits?

Salmon belly is higher in fat and, like most animal products, this is where a huge amount of the natural flavour comes from. Remember: there are good fats and bad fats, and the fat in oily fish is very good for us when eaten in moderation. It is high in omega 3, which is particularly useful for healthy brain development.

What should I do to help?

The good news is that you can grab yourself a bargain, reduce waste and enjoy a delicious meal all at once! Ask for salmon belly from your fishmonger (they will love you for it), and you should end up paying far less than you would for the prime cut. When buying salmon, remember to look for fish that has been produced responsibly. At Jamie Oliver, we look for farmed salmon that has been certified by the RSPCA, Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), GlobalGAP, or organic salmon certified by the Soil Association.

Check out Friday Night Feast (Friday, 8pm, Channel 4) to see Jamie’s method of breading and frying his salmon belly into a tasty treat, or use the cut in a delicious fish pie.

About the author

Daniel Nowland

Daniel Nowland has a scientific degree in food quality, and is Jamie’s in-house expert on all things food and farming related. He spends much of his time on farms and in factories all over the world, working with Jamie on developing and raising standards.

Daniel Nowland