With the increased concern of high mercury fish and the need for some variety, more people are choosing salmon. The American Heart Association recommends consuming fatty fish like salmon twice a week for heart health. Although you may think twice about eating too much fat, it's the "good" fat found in salmon that has heart healthy benefits. This fat can benefit the hearts of healthy people and those at risk for heart disease.
Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, and sardines contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids that can help reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels. These fish are high in two types of beneficial omega-3 fats called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). With such long names, you will find them on food labels as EPA and DHA. It is recommended to consume 8 ounces of fish per week in order to receive an average of 500 mg per day of both EPA and DHA.
Salmon also contains protein and a ton of B-vitamins including vitamin B-12, B-6, niacin, and riboflavin. Many of these B-vitamins help convert the food you eat into energy. If you like eating salmon with soft bones, you can even get some calcium and vitamin D!
Which type of fish is safest to buy?
Due to increased contamination on some fish farms, look for wild salmon, followed by farmed Atlantic salmon from Chile or Washington State. Farmed salmon from the rest of the U.S., Eastern or Western Canada, and Norway would be your last choice. Salmon from the Faroe Islands and Scotland has been found to be the least clean of them all and best be avoided.
It's a good idea to buy fish within a day or two of delivery to the store. Don't be afraid to ask when the fish was delivered. When buying fresh salmon fillets or steaks you should look for a bright orange-to-red color, firm and moist texture, and a mild aroma. If the salmon smells very fishy, it's not fresh and do not buy it. Also, if you take a close look at the flesh, the muscle fibers be should be close together without many holes. Once you purchase fresh fish, place in the refrigerator in airtight packaging and use within 24 to 48 hours. You can also store salmon in your freezer wrapped tightly for 4-6 weeks.
Salmon can be cooked using a variety of healthy cooking methods including grilling, baking, broiling, poaching, roasting, and even curing. Cured salmon can be found in stores as smoked salmon or gravlox.
The trick is knowing how to "dress up" your salmon so it tastes great. Here are some flavor combinations that compliment the taste of salmon.
- Chili powder and lime
- Garlic and dill
- Pomegranate juice
- Orange juice and thyme
- Tarragon, fennel seeds, and lemon juice
- Soy sauce, maple syrup, sesame seeds, and chopped scallions
Leftover salmon should be covered and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and used within 2-3 days. Use it to make fish tacos, slice and add to a salad, or create a salmon sandwich for lunch the next day. The possibilities are endless, just use your imagination and your taste buds.