Wild Salmon 101
Through active experimentation, I have found that my body is best nourished by maintaining a diet rich in nourishing vegetables, wholesome grains and lean protein, including consciously sourced meat and fish. Consuming ample amounts of high-quality protein has also been of unprecedented importance to me this year as I’ve been eating for 2. My husband and I are due to welcome our first baby into the world in about one month’s time. One power protein that I have relied on during my pregnancy and before is wild salmon from the Pacific Northwest, most notably Alaska. Wild salmon is loaded with essential amino acids needed for the development and repair of cells and tissues in the body. It promotes brain health, including the neurological development of a growing fetus.
There are a number of reasons why wild salmon is considered a healthier choice than farmed salmon. First, wild salmon is more nutrient-packed than farmed salmon. Did you know, for example, that 3-ounce serving of wild sockeye or Coho salmon contains about 30% fewer calories and half the amount of fat than farmed salmon? Despite this caloric difference, wild salmon contains as much and sometimes more protein than the farmed variety. Likewise, wild salmon has about 30% less saturated fat than farmed salmon, making it a healthier choice for your heart. Fat cells are a storehouse for environmental contaminants. So, as research has found, there is a correlation between leaner fish and lower levels of toxins.
Wild salmon also contains a large amount of high-quality omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential nutrients for the health of our nervous system, heart, and brain. Regular consumption of omega-3 fatty acids has been found to lower triglyceride (blood fat) levels, minimize inflammation and blood clotting, and increase high-density (aka “good”) cholesterol. While farmed salmon also has high levels of these polyunsaturated fatty acids, the quality of omega-3’s in wild salmon is believed to be higher.
Fortunately, both wild and farmed salmon contain relatively low amounts of mercury. To further limit exposure to mercury and other environmental toxins, trim off excess fat and the skin before cooking fish fillets or steaks. To learn even more about wild salmon and the safety of many varieties of fish, check out Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch website.
Here is a simple recipe for broiled salmon. It’s a tasty addition to any lunch and can be enjoyed right out of the oven or later tossed into a salad.
- Wild Salmon Fillet (a 3 ounce piece is considered 1 serving)
- Olive oil
- Optional: Lemon, Parsley sprigs, Dill or Fennel stems
- Optional: Remove the salmon skin from the fillet. To learn how, check out this tutorial by Fine Cooking.
- Place the salmon fillet in a baking dish and rub with olive oil, salt, and pepper. If you’d like, add a few lemon slices, parsley springs, or dill or fennel fronds and/or stems atop the fillet. You can also stick some herbs under the fillet.
- Preheat your broiler on high for 8-10 minutes.
- Place salmon in the broiler, leaving at least 4-5 inches between the fish and the heat source.
- Broil for 10-15 minutes, or until cooked to desired amount. (Generally, a 1″ thick fillet will cook to medium-rare in 10-minutes.)
- Enjoy alongside some wholesome grains and nourishing greens!