I am not much of a fish eater, but when it comes to salmon recipes, I often have a change of heart. There is something about this fish that makes my mouth water.
Maybe it’s the fact that salmon is one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. Its numerous vitamins and minerals, as well as the high level of omega-3 fatty acids, are sure to keep your heart and brain in great shape, but also protect you against diseases like cancer. Hey, even the new US Dietary Guidelines recommend eating two servings of this fish a week!
Or maybe it’s the numerous ways of preparation and serving that prevent you from getting bored of salmon – fried, baked, grilled, in a salad, in a sandwich, a cake…salmon is called the ‘king of fish’ for a good reason!
What Type of Salmon is the Best?
Before we move on to my favorite salmon recipes, a few important tips regarding the type of salmon you should use.
Opt for wild salmon whenever you can. Farmed fish can be treated with antibiotics or, in some cases, with pigments to make their flesh more orange.
Fresh meat is always a better choice than frozen, and you can find it in markets from June to September. However, frozen salmon is good for up to four months in the freezer and very convenient to use anytime you want, whereas canned wild salmon is the most economical choice. Just make sure to choose cans that say BPA-free.
As a general rule, when choosing salmon, go for the one that is orange in color. Orange-colored salmon flesh, provided that we are not talking about artificial pigmentation, is packed with carotenoids that are very good for you. Also, when it comes to salmon, the fattier is the better because the fats in question here are omega-3 fats.
Fried Salmon Recipe
Fried salmon is crispy on the outside and pink on the inside. In order to achieve this perfection, start by NOT removing the skin – it protects the fish from overcooking. Cook with the skin-side down almost the whole time and press with a spatula to prevent the fish from curling, as well as to add extra crispiness. The fish is done when it changes the color from orange to pink.
Serve with the skin side up, along with a salad made of whole wheat couscous, steamed bell pepper, parsley, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
Baked Salmon Recipe
Baking the salmon is much easier and a lot healthier than frying it. Season the fish with a little salt and pepper, then place skin-side down on a lightly greased baking dish or pan. Alternatively, you can wrap the fish in foil. This method gives you an opportunity to flavor the salmon with various ingredients like herbs, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, parmesan cheese, asparagus, or various glazes! Bake in the oven at 400 degrees F for about 15 minutes (there is no need to turn).
An even faster method is broiling. Turn the oven to broil, season the fish and place it on a sheet pan, placed on the top rack of the oven, about 3 inches from the broiler. It should be done after 3 minutes or so.
The third option is to combine pan-frying and baking. If you decide to go with this method, use an oven-proof skillet so that you do all the cooking in it and minimize the mess. Sizzle the fish for about 3 minutes with the skin-side down in oil or butter, then transfer it to the oven, heated to 275 degrees F, and cook for 20-25 minutes. Return the pan to the stovetop and cook for 3 more minutes to make the fish crispy.
Steamed Salmon Recipe
The process of steaming salmon is rather longer and includes three steps – curing, drying and smoking. Start by curing the fish by mixing together salt, chilis, bay leaves, thyme, minced onion and garlic in water. Cover the fish with this brine and place it in the fridge. Let it stand there for at least four hours and maximum 48 hours. More than 48 hours of brining will make the fish too salty.
Dry the fish by patting it dry with a paper towel and let it sit for 2-3 hours or, better yet, overnight in the refrigerator to dry completely. You’ll know it is good to cook when it has shiny skin on top.
When smoking the salmon, be careful that the smoker isn’t set to a very high temperature because this will result in a very dry final product. However, if this happens, you can ‘save’ your disastrously smoked fish by including it in a very simple and easy recipe called Smoked Salmon Ball, where its dryness will be masked effectively.
Cut the fish and combine it with cream cheese, minced onion, lemon juice, chopped parsley, horseradish (previously prepared), liquid smoke, garlic powder, and salt in a large bowl. Stir until well incorporated, then transfer the mixture onto a big, shallow plate. Shape it into a ball with a spatula, then garnish with chopped pecans all over the top.
Grilled Salmon Recipes
Grilled salmon is perfect for warm days! Smoky flavor and minimum mess are the biggest upsides of this method. You can grill whole fish fillets or cut the fish into cubes and place them on wooden skewers, alternating with lemon slices, then season with salt and pepper. Grill each side for about 5 minutes and serve with a basil-based dip on the side.
Poached Salmon Recipe
Poaching keeps the calorie and fat count low. In addition, it is the best way to prepare your salmon recipe if you are planning to include it in salmon cakes. Simmer the fish filets in water flavored with salt, peppercorns, and bay leaf. Alternatively, you can use stock or white wine instead of water. Wait for the liquid to come to a boil, then add the fish. Cover the pan and cook for 20-25 minutes.
To make salmon cakes, combine poached salmon with mashed potatoes, milk, chopped parsley, salt, and pepper. Form the mixture into patties. Coat them in flour, dip them in egg, then coat with breadcrumbs. Place the patties on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, until golden brown.