Cooking Salmon

If you're interested in cooking salmon, you're not alone. Americans have tripled their consumption of salmon in the past decade primarily due to the publication of the tremendous health benefits attributed to eating salmon.

Choosing Salmon
You'll find mostly Atlantic salmon or Alaskan salmon in the supermarket. Know that almost all Atlantic salmon is farmed. Some Alaskan salmon is farmed, while some is wild. Wild salmon is reputed to be tastier than farmed salmon and is recommended for pregnant women and the very young because it typically contains lower concentrations of mercury and other chemicals in its oily flesh.

The current medical climate tells us most consumers should not worry about the amount of these chemicals present in the salmon because the health benefits far outweigh any negative risks associated with the trace presence of chemicals. Those concerned about these chemicals should purchase organic salmon.

Preparing Your Salmon
Salmon can be prepared in a variety of ways. Be careful not to overcook salmon. It should only be cooked until the flesh feels firm when touched with the back of a fork. Check salmon at its thickest part. It should flake when prodded with the fork tines. Always let the salmon sit for a few minutes after removing it from the heat so it can finish the last bit of cooking and set the juices that naturally occur from the oils in the flesh.

Purchase fresh salmon whenever possible. It will be much better than frozen salmon. The following cooking methods all depend on the type of salmon filet you choose (thawed or fresh).

Baking Salmon
To bake salmon, brush the salmon filet with melted butter and sprinkle with seasoning of your choice. Bake in a greased baking pan at 350 degrees. You can calculate the baking time by multiplying every inch of the salmon in thickness by ten minutes.

Steaming Salmon
To steam salmon, place salmon filet in the steamer basket, then pour a couple of inches of liquid (you can use broth, wine, beer or water) over the salmon and into the bottom of the steamer. Sprinkle with spices. Cover the steamer. Bring liquid to a boil, then steam fish. Steaming time should equal one minute per every ounce of salmon. Steamed fish is best when served with a sauce. Hollandaise sauce is lovely.

Poaching Salmon
To poach salmon, cover filet with liquid (consider poaching in water, wine or broth) along with spices or herbs of choice. Cover the skillet. Bring liquid to a gentle boil. Poach salmon for approximately six to ten minutes, until flesh flakes when prodded with a fork in thickest part. Poached fish is best when served with a sauce. Make your own homemade mayonnaise and add fresh lemon juice or fresh dill weed for a delicious sauce.

Pan Frying Salmon
To pan fry salmon, generously coat your skillet with olive oil and let it get hot. Dip your salmon filet in milk and egg, then in cracker crumbs, and fry covered for about three minutes. Flip once. Cook until flesh flakes. Serve with lemon wedges.

Grilling Salmon
To grill salmon, marinate it first in the refrigerator for 30 to 90 minutes. Try a marinade of bourbon and brown sugar for sweet grilled salmon steaks. Clean and oil the grates of your grill with olive or vegetable oil and heat the grill to medium heat. You can grill the salmon steaks directly on the grates or you can wrap the salmon in foil to cut down on grilling time and keep the meat juicier. Grill for three minutes on the first side, then carefully flip filet (watch out for flesh flaking and falling apart), cover the grill and check every few minutes for fish to be done.

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