9 Things You Didn’t Know About Salmon (And a Few Recipes to Get You Going)

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Think you know everything there is to know about salmon? Read on; you might learn a thing or two.

1: Salmon are an anadromous fish, which means they’re born in freshwater but spend their adult lives at sea. They return to fresh water only to spawn.

Recipe: Sweet and Spicy Grilled Salmon (pictured above)

2: When salmon are out at sea, they bulk up and acquire fat, which makes them tender and tasty. As they swim upstream, they lose their fat reserves; that’s why it’s best to catch salmon just before they start their upstream migration.

Recipe: Broiled Salmon with Herb-Mustard Glaze

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3: More than 90 percent of the wild salmon caught in the United States are from Alaska.

Recipe: Whole-Wheat Pasta with Lemon, Basil and Salmon

4: There are five different species of Alaska salmon: king, sockeye, coho, keta and pink.

Recipe: Salmon Nicoise Salad (with wild Alaskan pink salmon)

5: Salmon is brimming with omega-3 fats, which have been shown to reduce the risk of high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s and rheumatoid arthritis. Salmon also contains vitamin B 12, which has been shown to help lower the risk of coronary heart disease.

Recipe: Giada’s Salmon with Lemon, Capers and Rosemary

6: Most of the salmon you eat in restaurants and get at the fish counter is frozen (even at sushi restaurants!), and that’s a good thing. When wild salmon is caught, it’s flash-frozen right away to preserve the quality. So don’t shy away from frozen fish at the market; you don’t even need to thaw it before cooking.

Recipe: Chive-Coriander Salmon with Cabbage (using frozen salmon!)

7: Wild-caught salmon is a smart choice — wild salmon have a more robust flavor and are higher in omega-3 fatty acids than farm-raised fish, and are a sustainable choice.

Recipe: Grilled Salmon with Pineapple and Avocado Dressing

8: When you’re grilling fish, grill it with the skin on; it helps hold the fish together and prevents sticking on the grill.

How to Make the Best Grilled Salmon

9: Getting an extra-crispy skin on your salmon at home is really easy:

Use a large skillet: More room means less crowding and no steaming, which can make the skin soggy.

Oil and salt: Coat the skillet with a thin layer of oil, then add a generous shower of salt (the salt helps pull moisture out of the skin while seasoning) and heat over medium-high heat.

Restraint: Add your salmon fillet (any size or shape), skin-side down, once the oil is shimmering. Cook undisturbed, adjusting the heat if you need to so that the skin doesn’t burn. Watch as the dark color of the salmon flesh turns pink, starting from the bottom. Once the very top of the fillet has just turned pink, flip the salmon (if yours is stuck, it might just need another quick minute or so to render fat from the skin), remove the skillet from the heat and let the salmon finish cooking.

Ok, now you’re a salmon expert. Need more?

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