These days, everywhere you turn, you hear health professionals encouraging consumption of “fatty fish” like salmon due to their omega-3 fats and associated health benefits.
Fatty fish are a rich source of DHA and EPA omega-3 fats, which are associated with a lower risk of heart disease and may be beneficial in conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, eczema, asthma, depression and bipolar disorder. Additionally, omega-3 fats are critical in the formation of the brain and eyes of developing fetuses.
It’s easy to understand why we’d all benefit from regularly (at least twice per week) consuming fatty fish. Fatty fish, like salmon, are an excellent source of high-quality protein and are low in saturated fat and cholesterol. A serving of salmon contains more Vitamin D than a glass of milk, another nutrient many of us are lacking in. There is no better time to start eating salmon than right now because it’s Alaska salmon season!
Alaska sockeye salmon are considered the best and are prized by high-end restaurants for their succulent, rich, flavorful and silky flesh. Why are these salmon so spectacular? All wild salmon are born in freshwater and migrate to the salty seas to mature. Eventually, they return to their home streams to spawn — and because they stop eating prior to and during the trip, they must store extra fat to fuel egg production and provide energy during the trip.
So how should you cook this super-delicious fish? Simply. Alaska sockeye salmon is so delicious you’ll want to let the flavor shine in all its glory. Roasting is the perfect method to bring out the best of the fish’s natural flavor. The method outlined below is nearly foolproof. An initial blast of high heat kick-starts the browning process and kills any bacteria, and then a lower, gentle heat cooks the salmon to perfect doneness without drying out the edges. For all you foodies out there who want something a little more challenging, try a few of the flavor combos listed as variations.
Debbie Guild, RD, LD, CDE, is a registered dietitian at Hy-Vee North and South in Ottumwa. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Score” the skin prior to cooking (see below) to enhance moisture in the fish as it cooks. The skin is very easy to remove after the salmon is cooked.
4 (6-ounce) skin-on wild Alaskan salmon fillets, about 1-1/2-inches thick, skin scored
2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Lemon wedges, for serving
Adjust oven rack to the lowest position and place a rimmed baking sheet on the rack. Heat the oven to 500 degrees.
Pat the salmon dry with paper towels. Rub the fillets evenly with oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Reduce oven temperature to 275 degrees and remove the baking sheet. Carefully place the salmon, skin-side down, on the hot baking sheet and immediately return to the oven.
Roast until the fish flakes apart when gently prodded with a paring knife, nine to 13 minutes.
Gently transfer the fish to individual plates and serve with the lemon wedges.
To score the salmon: Use a sharp or serrated knife to cut four or five shallow slashes about 1 inch apart through the skin of each piece of salmon. Be careful not to cut into the flesh of the salmon.
& mango salsa
Combine one diced avocado, 2/3 cup chopped mango, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Top roasted salmon with mango salsa and serve.
Salsa recipe adapted from www.californiaavocado.com.
Oven-roasted salmon with horseradish, walnut and herbs
Combine 5 tablespoons creamy horseradish, 2/3 cup finely chopped walnuts, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (such as chives, parsley, dill and/or tarragon) and 2 tablespoons softened Promise or Smart Balance spread.
Prepare salmon as directed above, through step 3.
Roast salmon for five minutes, remove from oven and spread mixture evenly over salmon fillets. Return to oven and continue roasting for an additional six to eight minutes, until fish flakes apart when gently prodded with a paring knife. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Horseradish topping adapted from www.AlaskaSeafood.org.
with Sol-I-Mar rub
Combine 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt, 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds, 1 teaspoon dried minced onion, 1/2 teaspoon dried orange peel, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon cilantro, 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon dried basil.
Stir well to combine.
Rub 1-2 teaspoons rub mixture onto each side of the salmon fillets. Allow to rest for five minutes.
Proceed with step 3 as directed above.
Salmon rub recipe adapted from www.AlaskaSeafood.org.