Fresh salmon is both uncommonly delicious and extremely healthful. You can’t say that about a lot of foods.
When we’re looking for lighter summer recipes and new ideas for the grill, it’s a great time to get some good-quality salmon and think outside the box. Salmon is good grilled with teriyaki sauce, or broiled with lemon and dill, or pan-seared with a tropical fruit salsa.
But if you find the regular recipes wearing thin, salmon can be used in almost any preparation you can imagine, from salads to sandwiches to burgers.
According to Cooking Light and nutritiondata.self.com, fattier fish such as salmon should be eaten twice a week for heart health, because they provide high levels of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. They are also a good source of complete protein, delivering 39 grams for a 6-ounce portion of wild salmon. Of the 13 grams of fat in the same portion, only 2 grams are saturated. Salmon is also high in B vitamins and many essential minerals.
At Inlumi in Newburgh, Ind., executive chef Sam Wagoner has made waves with his rendition of a pan-seared salmon sandwich. Wagoner coats a top-quality 6-ounce salmon filet with salt, pepper and dry dill weed and pan sears it until crusty in a hot skillet, finishing it in the oven topped with creamy, melty dill havarti cheese. Then he piles it on a sweet Hawaiian bun slathered with herb- and garlic-infused cream cheese and tops it with fresh leaf lettuce, tomato and red onion. It’s a huge sandwich, wonderfully different and delicious.
‘‘A lot of people come in and say, ‘I don’t like salmon because it’s so strong,’ ” said Wagoner. “But you just need to get a really good quality source. We use wild-caught North Atlantic salmon that is packed and flash-frozen in less than three hours from when it’s caught, so it’s really fresh. The salmon sandwich is one of the more expensive items on the menu, but it’s a favorite of so many people, it’s become our signature sandwich.”
Lower-quality salmon can be mushy and fishy-tasting, so going with a slightly more expensive wild salmon, either flash-frozen or — better yet — fresh and never-frozen, is recommended. Flash-frozen in Cryovac is a better choice if the fresh salmon available is looking dried-out or soft. Look for a bright pink color, firm, springy flesh and very little fish odor.
3 ounces salmon, poached or steamed, cooled and chunked
1 tablespoon fresh diced onions
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Pepper and seasoned salt to taste
Combine mayonnaise, parsley and onion. Fold salmon in with spatula. Add black pepper and seasoned salt to taste.
Eat as a dip with crackers or as a sandwich spread.
— Adapted from Paula Deen
Fresh Salmon Cakes With Lemon-Yogurt Sauce
1 pound skinless salmon fillet, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Two 6-inch pita rounds or 3 slices firm white sandwich bread, torn into small pieces
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 tablespoons chopped chives, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Mix salmon, pita, mayonnaise, egg, coriander, cayenne, 1 tablespoon chives, 1 teaspoon zest and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Season with black pepper and form into 4 cakes (4 inches in diameter).
Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Cook salmon cakes, turning over once, until golden and just cooked through, 6 to 7 minutes total.
Stir together yogurt, lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining tablespoon chives and remaining 1/2 teaspoon zest. Serve salmon cakes with sauce and lemon wedges.
— Gourmet, August 2008
Chili-Garlic Glazed Salmon
3 tablespoons Asian chili sauce with garlic
3 tablespoons minced scallions (about 3 scallions)
1 1/2 tablespoons low-sugar orange marmalade
3/4 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
Four 6-ounce salmon fillets
Combine chili sauce, scallions, marmalade and soy sauce in a small bowl; brush half of chili-sauce mixture over fillets. Place fillets, skin sides down, on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Broil fish 5 minutes; brush with remaining chili-sauce mixture. Broil 2 more minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.
— “Cooking Light Fresh Food Fast” (Oxmoor House, 2009), by editors of Cooking Light magazine