Salmon (About)

Chinook Salmon

Chinook Salmon

By Cat, Sept 2015 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

Salmon is a fatty fish, but don’t let that dissuade you, as its fat is the kind that is really really good for you: Omega-3 DHA and EPA. A great advantage of wild-caught salmon over other ocean fish, is that it is not as polluted with mercury and other heavy metals, especially those from the cleaner waters of Alaska.

Wild-caught salmon is far superior to farmed salmon in flavor, and nutrient content.  It costs more, but is well worth it. My favorite is from the Bristol Bay fishery in Alaska, but Copper River is good also, if overpriced. Alaskan King salmon is excellent for roasting/broiling, because it is a larger fish with thicker fillets.

Farmed salmon is “the water-based equivalents of land-based concentrated animal feeding operations, and as such they create the same, if not worse, environmental concerns,” according to Dr. Mercola’s article, “Farmed Salmon Contaminated with Synthetic Tire Chemical.” (1)

Mercola’s posting includes an excellent 5 minute Vimeo video, “Racing a Virus,” by Alexandra Morton (2) about how farmed Atlantic salmon in British Columbia are succumbing to a deadly virus and passing it on to wild salmon in the same waters. This situation will eventually destroy the BC wild salmon fishery if it is not stopped. You can take action by writing to BC’s Premier John Horgan at premier@gov.bc.ca. For suggestions on what to include, go to “www.tinyurl.com/racingavirus” (3).

Landlocked Salmon

Salmon leaping Willamette Falls

Salmon leaping Willamette Falls

(Photo, above, of fish jumping Willamette Falls at Oregon City, Oregon is from Wikimedia Commons)

When I was a kid here in Bigfork, Montana, we had landlocked silver salmon (kokanee) in our beautiful Flathead Lake. Many tourists came to fish for them during the summer, supporting our tourist economy. In the fall, the salmon swam up the Wild Mile of our Swan River to spawn, but met their biggest challenge at our small dam. Many of them would be able to leap it and continue swimming up river to the spawning grounds. The rest were caught by snagging hooks (this was legal during the spawning time), then taken home to be smoked. We even had a community smokehouse in the village.

But all that came to a halt when mysis shrimp were introduced in to other lakes upstream, then made their way down to our beautiful lake. Lake trout had been introduced into the lake years earlier. While the salmon could compete with them in the early years, the arrival of the mysis shrimp, which lead to unprecedented growth of the predatory lake trout, lead to the end of our salmon fishery.

Landlocked salmon (kokanee) are still available in other lakes of the Pacific NW and British Columbia, as well as some of western Montana’s lakes that had not been invaded by mysis shrimp.

Preparing Salmon

For small salmon (10″ long or less), it is far easier to remove the bones after the fish is cooked. To prep: cut off the head and fins except the tail, then rinse and pat dry the fish before cooking in a skillet or on a grill. When both sides are done, remove to a platter, carefully lift the tail fin and pull upward to separate the left and right sides of the fish along the spine and rib bones. Then pull the tail/spine/rib structure off  in one long piece.

For larger salmon, I buy pieces already cut and trimmed by the meat department of our local grocery store. I find it hard to skin salmon, so when preparing a salmon filet, I cook it first on the skin side, then flip it over and slide my spatula between the skin and the meat to remove the skin more easily.

My fav way to cook salmon is on my stove top, using my cast iron skillet and a bit of coconut oil.

Smoked salmon, both hot- and cold-smoked, is excellent in sandwiches, salads, omelettes, quiche, chowders and so much more. Hot-smoked salmon has already been cooked by the heat of the smoker; cold-smoked salmon has not been cooked, but the smoking process does preserve it to last a bit longer in your fridge.

Sauces to accompany salmon:

Salmon lends itself to accompaniment by many different sauces which you can easily make at home.  Here are some ideas:

Sources:

While the bulk of this post is my own content; I have also drawn on the following sources:

  1. Mercola: articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2018/04/24/contaminated-farmed-salmon.aspx
  2. Vimeo video: https://vimeo.com/258135790
  3. The tiny url goes to Alexandra Morton’s website: alexandramorton.typepad.com/racing_a_virus

About Cat

See my 'About' page
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