Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Even people who don't like fish will sometimes try salmon. Its smell is far less intimidating than that of the Patagonian Tooth fish and it definitely shines with more passable facial features.

See what I mean? How unattractive do you have to be to have your name changed to something as harmless as "sea bass"?

Why eat salmon? Salmon has very high quality and easy to digest protein, tons of Omega 3 fats, most of which endure the short and low temperature cooking process and it rates very high on the fullness index, meaning you need less calories of it to feel full compared to other fish like cod, haddock or trout, or even sea bass.

Cooking salmon is clean and easy and remarkably less smelly than other fish. It can be steamed, poached, grilled, baked, and it makes awesome casseroles. If you are brave enough you can just eat it raw, as sashimi or make your own sushi, which in my experience always tastes better that what you can get at a reasonable sushi place.

Salmon can be cheaper if you buy a whole fish. In my home country of Bulgaria salmon fillets and cutlets are prohibitively expensive, which is why I have learned to deal with the whole beast.

It also seems like a waste to just bake a whole salmon. You can cook it so many different ways and experiment with such a huge range of flavors that it's a shame to stick the poor thing in a pan of salt and just eat it one way. Now that I've convinced you in the necessity to cut your heavy purchase, you have to wonder....

How do you deal with a whole salmon?

Don't be intimidated! Just grab a good knife and do it. It's easy.I have found a great link that shows how to cut salmon fillets so that you go from whole fish to manageable and professional cut looking pieces. Once you get to the thickest part of the fish, you can cut beautiful cutlets, saving the rest for fillets.

Piece of cake, wasn't it?

Most people end up with 4 cutlets, 6 fillets, two smaller fillets from around the head and the spine, tail and head. The small pieces make great soup and all all of the cutlets and files end up in ziplocks to be frozen for easy cooking during the week.

I usually cook all my meals the night before, so here are two simple steamed one person salmon recipes:

Ginger salmon

Put the fillet in steamer, cover and steam for 12-15 minutes. You can do this directly with frozen fillets, and it takes a few minutes longer. While the fish is steaming, prepare the sauce:

1 salmon fillet, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup pineapple (chopped up)
2 tbsp fresh ginger (chopped up)
2 tbsp coconut milk
1 tbsp butter (or ghi)

Melt the butter and quickly stir in the pineapple and ginger. Simmer with the coconut milk for 2-3 minutes on medium heat, occasionally stirring.

Rosemary salmon

1 salmon cutlet, fresh or frozen
2 tbsp sour cream
1 tbsp rosemary leaves
dash of black pepper

Put the fillet in steamer and cover with fresh or dried rosemary leaves on top and bottom. Steam for 7 minutes. Open, cover with 2 tbsp of sour cream, sprinkle some black pepper on top and cover again to cook for another 5-7 minutes.

If you are ever in the mood to make the world's most delicious fish soup, just shoot me an email and I will send you my mother's amazing fish soup recipe!

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