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Jun 10, 2011

Alaskan wild canned salmon is delish, inexpensive & good for ya


The current USDA Dietary Guidelines advise Americans to eat at least 8 ounces weekly of seafood rich in omega-3s to improve heart and brain health (most Americans eat less than half that amount). As you no doubt know, wild salmon is particularly high in the kind of long-chain omega-3s that contain generous amounts of vitamins D, B6, and B12, as well as selenium.

About ninety percent of wild salmon in North America comes from these 5 species found in Alaska:
  • King (Chinook) – King salmon has a high oil content. Kings are prized for being firm, succulent and flavorful.
  • Sockeye (Red) – Known for its distinctive deep red meat color, abundant antioxidants, and full flavor.
  • Coho (Silver) – Low in saturated fat and mild in flavor, Coho has excellent color-retention during the cooking process.
  • Keta (Chum) – Keta salmon have a mild flavor. Due to lower oil content, they should be cooked at lower temperatures.
  • Pink – Commonly used in cans or pouches, Pink salmon is also available as fillets. The low oil content requires careful cooking. Treat pinks as you would a trout.
I love salmon just about any way it's prepared, but especially barbecued. For various reasons, mostly my concerns about the environmental dangers of farmed fish, I only buy wild salmon.

When it comes to salmon steaks and filets, we're talking a big expense. However, I've also been utilizing inexpensive canned wild salmon for years (a 15-oz can at Trader Joe's goes for about $3).

I particularly like making canned salmon burgers. I don't really have a recipe, so the burgers turn out different each time. Basically I just combine salmon with cut up veggies (green onions and a little cooked spinach, for example), perhaps some leftover brown rice or quinoa, maybe a dash of wheat germ or some oatmeal, an egg (or egg substitute), and seasonings. Form patties, and either oven bake or saute in a cast-iron pan lightly moistened with grapeseed or other oil. A tip: allow a solid crust to form before turning, otherwise the burger will fall apart.

The Alaskan seafood industry has an entire subsite devoted to canned salmon, with lots of recipes. Here's the site's recipe for Alaska Salmon Mini-Loaves (photo at top):

Alaska Salmon Mini-Loaves

Ingredients:

1 egg OR 2 egg whites, slightly beaten
2 Tablespoons fat-free milk
1 teaspoon dried minced onion
1/2 teaspoon dill weed
1/2 to 1 teaspoon lemon pepper or Cajun seasoning
1 cup soft multi-grain or whole wheat bread crumbs (about 2 slices of bread)
1 can (14.75 oz.) or 2 cans (7.5 oz. each) traditional pack Alaska salmon
    OR 8 to 10 oz. skinless, boneless salmon (canned or pouched)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Spray-coat a shallow baking dish.  Drain and chunk salmon.
In mixing bowl, blend egg, milk, dried onion, dill weed, and seasoning.  Blend in bread crumbs, then salmon.  Divide salmon mixture into 4 pieces.  Shape each piece into a 4 x 2-inch mini-loaf, and place in baking dish.  Bake for 20 minutes.
To serve, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of your favorite sauce.

Cook’s tip: Excellent with BĂ©arnaise sauce!
Nutrients per serving: 254 calories, 10g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 36% calories from fat, 119mg cholesterol, 26g protein, 16g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 878mg sodium, 291mg calcium and 1800mg omega-3 fatty acids.
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