Monday, January 20, 2014

Atlantic or Pacific Salmon? Also, One Fabulous, Simple Marinade Recipe

Seattle may as well be called “Salmon City” because here in the Pacific Northwest we have such an abundance of choices between different types of wild salmon and salmon plays such a large part in our cooking. The appropriately named King salmon reins supreme in flavor. Yet here we also go to Costco and ‘lo and behold one finds beautiful generous pieces of Atlantic salmon. Which is the best for you to eat?

Some things important to know are that Atlantic salmon are almost all farm raised and, therefore, will contain more toxins and sometimes also antibiotics. While they contain probably more healthy Omega-3 polyunsaturated fat than wild salmon which is healthy for the heart and lowers the bad cholesterol levels, they also contain more PCPs. Consuming antibiotics can lower the effectiveness of antibiotics sometimes needed for human illnesses. Grilling these fish can reduce some, but not all toxins. Wild Pacific salmon are more active and tend to have lower levels of Omega-3 oils, but much fewer toxins than a farmed fish. 

Most people in the medical field recommend fish twice per week and many consider the benefits in farm-raised fish to be so good for you that it outweighs the concerns regarding toxins. My preference when possible is to buy the wild salmon. Not only because they contain fewer toxins, but the taste of the Pacific wild salmon is so superior. 

We like to buy the wild King salmon at a small shop in downtown Kirkland, WA, called Tim’s Seafood. I’ve alway been told that fresh fish shouldn’t smell fishy. I had never met a fish that did not smell fishy until I went to Tim’s. The salmon there just smells like the sea. It is such a treat to cook and eat this fish that it approaches a spiritual experience. It oozes juices as it’s being cooked. The fish is so moist -- I’ve never, ever had seafood as tasty as Tim’s. Tim is a jovial man from Hawaii and loves to talk about fish or just about anything, so it is also a treat just shopping there.

Most doctors also recommend a variety of fish. Smaller fish live shorter lives, so they contain fewer toxins. Some fish contain quite a bit of mercury and should not often be eaten. Marlin and swordfish should probably never be eaten. Do some research before you buy and eat.

The following recipe is guaranteed to make even Costco salmon delectable:

Liz’s Marinade for Salmon

1/3 cup soy sauce
1 teas. grated lemon peel
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 head garlic, crushed, or more if desired
2 teas. Dijon mustard
1/2 cup canola oil

Combine above ingredients well and pour over fish arranged in a single layer in a Pyrex dish.  Marinate on one side for several hours, then turn and let fish marinate on the other side. Keep refrigerated while marinating. The longer this can sit in the marinade the better. Cook on an outdoor grill or any way you like to cook your fish. Enjoy!

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