How to Cook Salmon

How to Cook Salmon

Like any fish, there are countless ways to cook salmon. I’m practically a salmon addict–if there were a 12-step program for salmon addiction, I’d be the poster child. This delicious fish is surprisingly good for you, and new research pops up all the time about the benefits of eating salmon.

Health Benefits of Salmon

Salmon is high in protein and what are known as “good fats.” The fat in salmon is good for your body and especially good for your brain. People who eat salmon reports fewer headaches, less depression, and even a decreased suicide rate. A single 4 oz serving of salmon gives your body its full day’s requirement of vitamin D. There are very few foods that provide that much vitamin D–a substance that has to be added to milk for the same effect.

How to Cook SalmonThat same size piece of salmon has half your body’s requirement of vitamin B12, niacin, and a chemical called selenium which is necessary for bone and cell growth and regeneration. Salmon is also high in vitamin B6 and magnesium. One benefit of canned salmon over wild salmon is a huge dose of calcium, thanks to the bones present in the canned version.

The omega-3 fats in salmon can reduce inflammation, so it is a perfect food for people with a heavy workout or exercise regimen or chronic pain. These same fats also reduce the risk of heart disease of all kinds, diabetes, many forms of cancer, and painful conditions like arthritis. Omega-3s have been shown to reduce the risk of  blood clots, thus reducing the risk of stroke and heart attack. Scientists now tell us that omega-3 fats can prevent serious aging problems such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Why I Love Salmon

As a red wine fanatic, salmon is often the perfect food pairing with my favorite vintages. I got into salmon as a result of my newfound fascination with pinot noir. But since salmon is, after all, a fish, I also like to eat it when I enjoy a decent white wine. In fact, even on nights when I’m not imbibing, or am sticking to cheap beer, a piece of grilled or baked salmon is the perfect dinner.

It doesn’t hurt that I have heart disease and Alzheimer’s in my family. Every time I eat a piece of salmon, I feel like I’m treating my body and my taste buds at the same time.

4 Ways to Cook Salmon

Here’s a variety of preparation methods for salmon. I eat it twice a week and try to mix up how I cook it every time so I don’t get bored. But let’s be honest–how could you get bored with the most delicious fish ever to swim in God’s waters?

Roast Salmon Fillets

4 (6 oz. 1″ thick) fillets
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place fillets on a baking pan. Brush them with olive oil and sprinkle with seasonings. You can season the fish any way you want.

Roast the fillets for 8-10 minutes, then turn off the heat and let them stand in a closed oven for another three minutes.

Baked Salmon Steaks

This recipe is perfect for a quiet night at home with just the wife and me. I find a decent bottle of pinot noir (preferably something like the 2005 Penner-Ash from the Willamette Valley for around $45) and bake two salmon steaks according to this simple recipe:

2 Salmon steaks
melted butter
lemon juice
chopped onion
whatever herbs and spices I have lying around

Add lemon juice and seasonings to melted butter. Put the fish in a shallow casserole, pouring lemon butter mixture over the top. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Brown Sugar Baked Salmon Fillets

For people who don’t like the strong flavor of salmon, I like to prepare this brown sugar version which takes no time at all and uses ingredients most people have around the kitchen already.

lemon juice
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
4  salmon fillets
melted butter
4 thin slices of lemon
8 tsp. loose brown sugar

Heat your oven to 375 degrees. Pour the lemon juice into an ungreased rectangular baking dish, ideally 11″ x 7 1/2″ x 2″. Sprinkle the 1/4 cup brown sugar on the bottom, and arrange the salmon fillets in the dish. Drizzle the whole shebang with drizzle with melted butter. Bake them uncovered for 15 minutes; then turn them over, put 1 slice of lemon on each salmon fillet and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons brown sugar. Bake until the fish flakes easily with fork, about 10 to 15 more minutes. Pour the juice from the dish over the top when it’s time to eat.

The brown sugar really complements the sweet taste of quality salmon.

Smoked Salmon “BLTs”

Not every salmon recipe calls for big hunks of fish baked or fried. In fact, my wife’s favorite preparation of salmon is this simple sandwich, basically a BLT with a nice piece of salmon. Great with white wine for a weekend lunch.

4 slices thick bacon
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped dill
8 half-inch thick slices of good multigrain bread
6 ounces of smoked salmon
arugula for sandwiches
2 large sliced tomatoes

Cook the bacon until crispy over medium-high heat. Drain the bacon on a paper towel.

Mix up the mayonnaise, lemon zest, lemon juice, and dill. Spread this mixture over each slice of bread. Place the smoked salmon on the bread and break up the bacon and place it on top of the salmon. Add arugula and tomato slices on top of the arugula. Eat ’em up.

Salmon is not just delicious and healthy, it has also taught medical science a thing or two. A fat found in salmon, known as “subtype resolvin E1” has been shown to halt cell migration. That means that doctors can use this fat to halt the severity individuals’ immune response, reducing disease risk and treating pain from inflammation.

Whereas aspirin used to be the only real treatment for this kind of condition, this new fat found in salmon is the next big thing in treatment. Doctors are now developing new drugs based on salmon fat.

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