Against a shiny center-cut fillet, a fish collar would never win a beauty contest. But the moist, fatty flesh locked inside that bony triangle tucked between the fish’s gills is the most flavorful part of the fish. Think of it as you would dark meat on a chicken—then plan to grill some this summer.
To match the richness of the fish collar, you need an intense marinade. Sunny Jin, executive chef of Paws Up, a luxury wilderness resort in Montana’s Blackfoot Valley, channels his mother’s traditional Korean recipe, marinating the cut for four hours in soy sauce, honey, and rice wine. But patience with the slow marinade pays off with a rapid cook time.
“Just a quick grill to caramelize the sugars and crisp the skin,” Jin says.
Collars from any medium to large fish will work—salmon, halibut, tuna, and yellowtail are all delicious options. If you don’t see them out for sale—and you probably won’t—just ask the fishmonger.
“Collars are by-product for most people,” Jin says. The upside: “You’ll probably get them for pennies.”
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Makes 4 servings
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 1⁄2 cup honey
- 1⁄2 cup rice wine
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 sweet onion, sliced
- 2 shallots, sliced
- 1 bunch scallions, chopped
- 1 tbsp finely minced garlic
- 2 tsp finely minced ginger
- 1 jalapeño, sliced (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 salmon collars
- Toasted sesame seeds, for serving
How to make it