The health benefits of fish are well documented, as evidence by the American Heart Association recommendation of eating at least two servings of fish per week for a more healthy heart. Salmon has received accolades as one of the premier varieties of fish to eat for health reasons. It is at the top of the list of foods that burn fat.
Salmon has the added advantage of tasting very good and being easy to prepare. Because of its high demand farm-raised salmon does have some health risks that the industry has not been keen on addressing. Because practically all of the fresh salmon we consume is farm-raised, if we are going to reap the benefits of this delicious fish knowing the most healthy ways to prepare it are important.
The majority of the contaminants in farm-raised salmon are located in the fat of the fish and in its skin. Therefore, as we look toward its most healthful preparation we will look for ways to cook out or eliminate these contaminated areas. Also, some ways of cooking are inherently better than others, so we will look at these factors and come up with recommended ways of preparing salmon.
With this in mind, we will stay away from pan frying or deep frying, and oily fish like salmon do not steam well. In the preparation of salmon, because it has a bolder flavor than most varieties of fish, you will be able to use bold seasonings and marinades. There are literally hundreds of salmon recipes on the internet, so I won’t get into favorite recipes, other than I happen to love dill with my salmon. But it is all personal choice.
1. Grilled. Fast and healthy, grilling works well for salmon because it is normally thick cut and is considered fatty. If you are concerned it may fall apart on the grill, cook it on a piece of foil.
2. Baking. As with grilling, the fish can be marinated prior to cooking, or sprinkle on some lemon and your favorite herbs and spices. You should avoid recipes that call for large amounts of mayonnaise, butter, oil, or cheese.
3. Poached. I’m not a big fan of poached salmon, but many people swear by this method. I think it works very well for tilapia and other light fish, but other methods of cooking better bring out the wonderful qualities of salmon.
One constant with fish is to not overcook it. Even salmon is much more delicate than meat and can easily dry out when overcooked, so grill, bake or broil over high heat for shorter periods of time. Also, overcooking will destroy a lot of its high nutritional value. The other constant is when buying fish, the fresher the better.
Granted, there is nothing quite like a wonderfully prepared piece of fresh salmon, but another safer and perhaps even more nutritious alternative is canned Alaska salmon. On the internet there are many recipes for salmon cakes, chowder, salads and many other alternatives. Just because it is canned doesn’t mean it can’t be delicious.