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.
That’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.