10 Fresh Salmon Recipes And What to Know When Shopping For Eco-Friendly Filets
Recent rumors of mercury and even radiation from the Fukushima plant explosion in our fish supply have some a little hesitant about snacking on their beloved sushi. However, as Tim Worstall of Forbes writes, all this conjecture is much ado about nothing: “The Fukushima radiation that would come from a tuna steak taken off a fish caught off the West Coast would be around and about one twentieth of the radiation you would ingest from eating a normal banana. Which isn’t something we normally consider to be dangerous really.” When it comes to eating our favorite Omega-3-packed foods, the key is to educate yourself on the origin of your catch.
As we alluded to earlier, the right cut of salmon is one of the healthiest foods out there. It’s chock full of all the essential amino acids, antioxidants like vitamins A and E, vitamin D, B6 and riboflavin (great for your hair, nails, and skin), calcium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, niacin, Omega-3 oils (which lower the risk of heart disease and reduce inflammation), the works. Unfortunately, all these known health benefits have upped the demand for salmon, and, in turn, the practice of farming. Since it’s illegal to fish for the endangered Atlantic salmon in the wild, any packages you see that read “Atlantic” might as well say “likely to contain PCBS, dioxins, dieldrin, and toxaphene,” which have been linked to reproductive, neurological and developmental issues and classified as a probable carcinogen by the EPA.
However, don’t be dismayed—there’s still wild salmon to be had. Unlike the salmon raised at farms that pose a considerable threat to the environment (A farm of 200,000 fish produces as much waste as a town of up to 65,000 people, according to the Environmental Defense Fund), wild or “Pacific” salmon from Alaska are an environmentally sustainable dinner choice. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program conducts frequent studies on the “greenest” variety of salmon out there and posts their recommendation (at the moment, it’s U.S. freshwater coho). The group works in conjunction with other environmental agencies such as Harvard School of Public Health and the Marine Stewardship Council to round up the most eco-friendly salmon options. But be sure to check back frequently! According to Alison Barratt, communications manager for the group: “Salmon populations vary each year, and so our recommendations change depending on abundance and projected 'returns' of salmon and the quotas set for the catch. Salmon is complicated! It’s caught as it returns to its natal river to spawn, and so there has to be a balance between seeding future salmon stocks and catching some to eat now.”
What are you waiting for? Head to your local organic market, stock up on your favorite freshwater fish, and eat up! Click through the slideshow above for 10 fresh salmon recipes you can munch on morning, noon and night.
By Cordelia Tai