NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Fisheries has proclaimed 2019 as the International Year of the Salmon. They are working to “protect salmon by bringing countries together to share knowledge, raise public awareness and take action”. I recently returned from a trip to Alaska where I was able to visit a salmon hatchery. It is such an interesting process and I enjoyed learning more about the Pacific salmon. They are a migratory species. Born in fresh water, they migrate to the ocean for their adult lives then return to fresh water to reproduce.
Salmon is an oily fish that provides protein, essential vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. The American Heart Association recommends eating two servings of fatty fish per week. Salmon fits perfectly into that recommendation.
There are five main species of Pacific salmon along the west coast of North America:
Chum (KETA): their large size and mild flavor make them great for smoking or salmon patties
Sockeye (Red): considered the premium of all salmon due to its rich flavor and firm red meat
King (Chinook): best choice for the BBQ due to its strong flavor and thicker fillets; Chinook are the largest but least abundant species
Silver (Coho): always a great choice with a milder flavor and price to match
Pink (Humpy): smallest and most abundant species; known for a softer texture and mild flavor; perfect for dips and spreads
To better remember the five species I was taught to use my fingers and thumb: Chum – rhymes with thumb; Sockeye – it’s #1; King – the biggest; Silver – for your ring finger; and Pink – for your pinky. Quite clever!
I know salmon is plentiful in our grocery stores but I had fun bringing some home in my suitcase to try with new recipes!