Published on March 13th, 2008 | by Ali Benjamin


Going Wild for Salmon

Fish makes me happy. It always has. My love for fish has always been deep and pure — so much that mother once wondered aloud if I might be part seal.

And a good piece of salmon makes our me very, very happy indeed.

salmon.jpgThat’s no exaggeration; salmon does, indeed, relieve depression and stress. Beyond, that, though, salmon is great for you. It’s an excellent source of protein and B-vitamins. It’s chock-full of essential omega-3s — those handy little fatty acids that protect against some cancers, lower blood pressure, protect against rheumatoid arthritis, aid cardiovascular health, and even help fight wrinkles (that’s right. Salmon fights wrinkles, like nature’s own Botox). But this fish is also quick; you can cook it up after a long day in a matter of minutes, while children pull at your pant legs.

Not to mention, it tastes great.

This week, I splurged on a fabulous piece of wild-caught salmon.

My salmon was frozen of course. This time of year, the only wild Alaskan salmon you’re going to find will be frozen or canned, no matter what the label says (wild salmon is caught between mid-May and September). Wild-caught is more expensive than its farmed cousin; the fresh stuff can be three times the cost of farmed salmon, and even frozen wild-caught will generally run you several dollars more per pound. But wild-caught salmon has far fewer PCBs and dioxins than most farmed salmon. It has more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than its farmed cousin. The majority of salmon farms release a great deal of waste into the environment. Not to mention that the farmed stuff has typically been injected with dyes. Though these dyes are synthetic versions of the stuff the salmon produce naturally, there’s something really unappealing about the concept.

Besides, the wild stuff tastes great. I mean really, really great. Wild salmon is lean and dense, with a more complex flavor than farmed.

That’s not to say that there aren’t responsible and mighty tasty salmon farms. Shetland salmon, for example, are farmed in the wild, using environmentally sustainable practices — giving it most of the benefits of wild-caught, for a little less money.

When working with a good piece of fish, I’m a believer in the KISS method…(meaning I try to Keep It Simple, Stupid). Which is why my own salmon was kept simple: sauteed in olive oil or butter, with lemon juice and a touch of dill and parsley. Quality ingredients, my friends: they invariably yield a mighty tasty meal without much effort.

But if you’re looking for a more complex meal, Eating Well has got you covered, with recipes for everything from Broiled Salmon with Miso Glaze to Salmon Panzanella, and from Southeast Asian-Inspired Salmon Soup to Black Bean-Salmon Stir-Fry.

As with any good meal, it’s important to make enough for leftovers. I did. Since it’s just about lunch-time now, it means I’m about become very happy, once again.

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About the Author

I'm a mama. A sustainable food activist. A former Peace Corps volunteer. Even a once-upon-a-time member of Corporate America. More recently, I taught myself to cook, so I could do something with all of those gorgeous greens I find at the farmer's market. When I'm not here, you'll find me hanging around the Cleaner Plate Club (

4 Responses to Going Wild for Salmon

  1. Paul Smith says:

    Ali, are all salmon caught between May-September, or is it just Alaskan?

    Thanks for the information on sustainably farmed Salmon, I’d heard there was such a thing, but hadn’t seen an example yet.

  2. Ali Benjamin says:

    I’ve had the shetland salmon, and it’s quite good.

    90% of the wild salmon in the U.S is Alaskan. You’re unlikely to find wild Atlantic salmon at this point, as it’s been completely overfished (a cautionary tale about overfishing, indeed). Some small amounts can be found in Oregon and Washington — there’s a longer season there (

    But consumer reports article I linked to above says that if you’re buying retail in the winter months, and the label says fresh wild salmon, then it’s probably fiction. I’ve copied it below, as well:

  3. Thought you’d be interested in this short omega-3 video:

  4. Hi there,

    I just stumbled accross your blog by using stumbleupon and love the design of the whole thing! I normally skip straight past food blogs as I have over 20 in my RSS and dont even have enough time to read the ones that I have! I am started out as a blogger myself and always tried to keep the design simple like yours as I think it is crucial, especially if you can back it up with some nice food pics like yours! Keep up the good work and if you feel like sharing some of the photos with other foodies pop over to which is my new site for foodies! Cheers!

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