Don’t Judge Salmon by its Color

Tips for Purchasing & Preparing Salmon at Home

Seafood School Lesson #3: Don’t judge your salmon by its color.

  1. Don’t judge your salmon by its color.
    When buying salmon to cook at home, don’t be fooled by its color. Some species, like Alaskan Chinook (seen here), are naturally redder than others because their diet is full of crustaceans, while other varieties can be a light grayish pink. But, unfortunately, some farm-raised salmon (BUT CERTAINLY NOT ALL) also have that magnificent color because they’re given color-enhanced feed. So instead of focusing on color, make sure the fish smells clean. Check that the flesh is firm and bounces back to shape when lightly pressed. When buying a whole salmon, the eyes should be bright and clear and the skin should have an abundance of shiny scales.
  2. Purchase fish the same day you plan to eat it.
    Ideally, you should cook your salmon the same day you purchase it, but that’s not always possible. If need be, refrigerate as is for two days: rinse with cold water, pat dry and wrap tightly with plastic. Above all else, handle your fish delicately and keep it cold, right around 32°F.
  3. You don’t need a recipe.
    There’s nothing better than simply grilling a nice piece of salmon: place fish on aluminum foil, lightly brush each piece with a combination of canola and olive oils, salt and pepper to taste, grill hot for about eight minutes for a one-inch-thick, three- to four-ounce serving. Another excellent and easy preparation method is to use cedar planks in the oven. Same basic preparation as you would for grilling; cook at 375°F for 10–15 minutes. Be sure to always cook salmon skin-side down. Note: You can buy cedar planks just about anywhere and they can be reused. Just be sure to soak the planks before use according to the package directions. Photo courtesy of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.

Coming up next … fun facts about oysters and why the world’s most famous lover ate them for breakfast—stay tuned as I continue to post daily lessons over the next few weeks where you’ll learn about a variety of seafood and some great cooking methods that will turn you into a seafood wizard-chef in no time.

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DISCLAIMER: I’m a writer and an editor. And I try my best to make sure every post is articulate and free from errors. However, being that I edit my own work—and it’s next to impossible to properly edit your own work—I admit, occasionally there may be an error or two I miss. But doing so doesn’t make me an idiot so don’t be mean. Just smile, pat yourself on the back for finding an error and be glad you’re not the only one who makes mistakes sometimes … yes, even mermaids slip up every now and then. xoxox