If you’ve ever searched for the healthiest foods to eat, then we can almost guarantee that Salmon has popped up. It’s a versatile, nutrient-dense fish that is family favorite. But if you’ve never cooked with it before, it can be confusing. We’re going to teach you the basics of cooking and how you can enjoy healthy salmon recipes at home!
The Many Different Types Of Salmon
Like other types of protein, Salmon is available to eat in many different forms. The most common ones are fillets, salmon steaks, smoked salmon, salmon burgers and patties, canned salmon and of course the raw salmon found in sushi.
Breaking Down The Different Species Of Salmon
There are multiple types of Salmon species to buy for you and your family. Below are the top six:
- King and Chinook – Largest types of Salmon that are high in fat, omega-3s and tastes a bit like butter!
- Sockeye – Deep red colour with a strong flavor and much oilier compared to other types.
- Coho – One of the lightest in taste and flavor. This would be a good choice if you’re new to eating fish!
- Pink and Chum – Smaller cuts of the fish used mostly in canned or smoked salmon.
It’s important that you try and buy wild salmon instead of farmed, whenever possible as many Salmon farms are on the “red” or “avoid” lists from North American Environmental Groups because of how easily disease can spread from fish to fish.
Is Salmon Really One Of The Healthiest Foods?
Salmon is a regular in a lot of “the healthiest foods for you” lists and there’s good reasoning behind that.
A huge health benefit of salmon is that it is high in Omega-3 essential fatty acids. (The word “essential” means that our bodies do not make this nutrient, so we must get it from outside sources like diet or supplements.) Omega 3s are anti-inflammatory, which reduces the risk of diseases like cancer or heart disease, lowers blood pressure, great for anti-aging and can help boost metabolism.
Salmon is also very high in protein making it a great choice for the whole family. A 3.5-ounce piece can be between 22-25 grams of protein.
The vitamin component of this type of fish doesn’t disappoint either. It’s filled with B vitamins which are great for energy levels, stress management, supporting the nervous system and macronutrient absorption.
Along with all the above benefits in Salmon, it contains a powerful antioxidant called Astaxanthin which reduces bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol.
Do we even need to go on?
Gils And Grills: How-To Cook Salmon On A Grill
If you’re grilling your Salmon, it’s better to choose a cut with the skin on to keep it together prevent the fish from sticking to the grill.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to grilling the perfect piece of Salmon:
- Slightly oil the grill and preheat to medium-high heat.
- Place the Salmon skin side down (unless you prefer extra crispy skin, then you can start with the skin-less side).
- Depending on the size of the cut, in about 6-10 minutes the Salmon will start to release itself from the grill and that’s when it’s ready to flip over using a spatula.
- When completely cooked, remove from the heat and let sit for a few minutes before serving.
Extra tip: If Salmon is overcooked, white beads will start to appear!
The 411 On Cedar-Plank Salmon
Ever wonder what that fancy Salmon dish is where it’s cooked it on a piece of wood and it comes out smelling delicious, moist and has a nice, smoky flavor. Well, this is how you cook Salmon on cedar-plank.
You will need a piece of cedar plank for this. These can be found at most larger scale grocery stores, hardware stores and speciality kitchen shops.
- Soak the plank in water, wine, sake or fruit juice for 1-2 hours. (Varies on the recipe you are using).
- Pre-heat your grill to a medium-high heat.
- Place the planks on the grill – lining up as best as possible with the grill lines and place Salmon skin side down on top.
- Cover the grill and cook for about 12-15 minutes, dependant on size. The salmon is done when it is pink in the center.
- Remove salmon from the plank and use a spatula to remove the skin.
- Slice and serve!
Extra tip: You can reuse the same piece of plank a couple of times, so long as it is cleaned properly and is not completely charred on the bottom.
Can I Use Other Types Of Planks?
Cedar isn’t the only type of plank you can use for Salmon! It is the most popular because of its smoky taste but if you prefer something milder with a touch of sweetness you could try Alder.
Fry Your Salmon – The Healthy Way!
If frying your salmon is more your style, try these steps to keep it healthy and low-fat!
Before you start, always be sure you cook Salmon after it’s been at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
- Heat a few tablespoons of oil over low-medium heat. Then increase heat to medium-high.
- Place the salmon skin side up in the pan and cook for about 4 minutes. It should be a golden brown color.
- Turn fish over using a flat spatula or tongs and cook for about 3 more minutes – until the fish feels firm.
- Remove from heat and it’s ready to plate and serve. It’s your preference if you want to keep the skin on or not.
The Healthiest Oils To Cook With
Since you are heating up the oil when frying, there are certain types of oils you should be cooking with to ensure your Salmon dish stays healthy.
Olive, coconut, avocado or grapeseed oil are the top picks to use. Avocado, olive and grapeseed oils have a mild taste that your family won’t notice while Coconut oil adds a strong flavor!
What’s The Deal On Poached Or Steamed Salmon?
If grilling and frying aren’t your thing, poaching or steaming your Salmon is quick and easy!
Poached salmon tastes fresh and light. Plus, it doesn’t leave your house smelling like fish and is super time efficient.
Here’s how-to perfectly poach a piece of Salmon fillet:
- Choose your liquid of choice: water, court-bouillon, homemade vegetable or chicken stock. If you do use water, we recommend adding some citrus fruits like lemon or lime and fresh herbs like thyme, fennel or parsley for added flavor.
- Heat the liquid for about 5 minutes, until it’s just under boiling temp.
- Add your Salmon and make sure it is fully immersed into the liquid.
- If you are cooking on a stovetop, it is cooked in about 8-10 minutes. If you are cooking in the oven at 200 C, it should be done in about 15 minutes.
- Remove and serve!
Steamed salmon is another easy way to get a meal on the table fast. This type of cooking works best with a skinless Salmon fillet!
- Slice the fillet into two equal pieces and sprinkle with seasonings of choice.
- Add about 3 cups of water and seasonings of choice to a large pot. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes to create a steamy broth.
- Spray a steam rack with a non-stick and place salmon on top then into the pot. Steam with the lid on for about 5-6 minutes.
- Serve warm or let chill, if your recipe….
Our favorite healthy Salmon recipes to try for dinner tonight!
This lemony salad is fresh, nutrient dense and a favorite for the whole family!
This grilled salmon dish is gluten-free and bursting with flavor!
A protein-packed salad with fresh fruit and veggies? Sounds great to us!
Poke bowls are all the rage right now, but why don’t you save your money and make one at home!