Friday, June 9, 2017

Salmon Days

One of the most popular dishes at restaurants is salmon. People love it, seared or broiled, zinged up with lemon or herbs or both. Yet it never is that popular at grocery stores.It's rarely seen in shopping carts or checkout counters. It's strange because it's such a versatile fish to work with in the kitchen.

Salmon is a cousin of trout and whitefish, two meats that home chefs feel confident cooking.It's considered an oily fish , rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D.Indigenous peoples , especially those in the Pacific Northwest. Always look for orange or red flesh although there are some varieties that are white in color.The color comes from the fish eating shrimp krill and other tiny shellfish. Go to a fish monger for the best cuts and advice however such grocery stores as Acme and Stop & Shop have excellent seafood sections. As with any other cut, look for salmon that has a bright color and NO smell.If you're buying the entire fish, make sure there are no brown spots on its'belly. Also go in knowing your types. There are five different ones ; king,  sockeye, coho, pink and chum. King is the most expensive with a rich , buttery taste. Sockeye has a deep red color and is deliciously fatty due to the fish gorging themselves to make fuel to move. Coho is the most popular and freezes well while pink is mild in flavor and fragile, It doesn't freeze or age well, however. Chum is also referred to as dogfish and is the best candidate for smoking.Its' also harvested for its roe and breeds at only the mouth of rivers and streams.

You can also buy canned salmon. Bumblebee has one that's packed in water as does Chicken of The Sea. Both offer packs too.  These are great for making quick salmon dinners such as a lower calorie spin on salad Nicoise where it's subbed in for tuna. An easy recipe is salmon burgers, a nice change up from the usual ones. Fillets can also be used in this tasty blend of fish, Dijon mustard,panko bread crumbs and scallions Add a healthy pinch of the famed Old Bay seasoning to zing them up, and give them a crab cake vibe.  Want a really quick and yummy salmon dish? Then try the fish in a crunchy croquette.  Egg is used for binding while celery is added for crunch and color along with green onion and dill. They're then rolled into balls , flattened and fried in oil. The fillets are also good grilled, They can be simply marinated with some oil, a squirt of lemon and seasoning. Soy sauce along with ginger and scallions makes another good marinade .Like any other fish , it can also be baked. Try it with butter and white wine, zested up with tarragon or Italian style  with crushed tomatoes,oregano and garlic, Serve with a side of buttered spaghetti or with green beans.

Home chefs should be embracing salmon.It's a versatile fish that can be coned, baked, roasted and grilled in a variety of ways.Don't bother with the restaurants. Make it on your own.

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