About the Fish on Your Plate

One of my firmest health convictions, besides the one about leafy greens, is that fish is good. Here in the desert I won’t be catching my own in any great quantity, so the question is what fish, exactly, is good. My own choice is based on taste and emotion more than reason. I love salmon and admire the way the Alaskan fisheries are managed, so I eat Alaskan salmon. But if you want to be more rational about your fish, please read the great compilation of evidence from Bill Lagakos at the wonderful Calories Proper blog:


Then make your choice with real information. And my nag for the day is: DON’T OVERCOOK IT. If your salmon is chewy or has a nasty grey layer just under the seared surface, it’s overdone. Sockeye, my own favorite, cooks in nothing flat, usually two minutes each side over a very hot grill or firepit. If the fillet is especially thick, maybe give it an extra minute on the skin side, but no more. If you buy it with the skin on, your dogs get a healthy treat too. Salmon loves assertive seasonings, and I like to brine it in strong salt water for half an hour before cooking. Then serve some leafy greens alongside and you can feel yourself getting healthier. And happier.

Below are some serving ideas that I borrowed from here and there because the photography is better than mine. My own quickie favorite is to take it off the grill, top with a generous pat of seasoned green garlic butter that I keep in the freezer, set it under the broiler just until the butter starts to melt if you didn’t thaw the butter beforehand, and eat with intense gratitude.

I think the beets and citrus shown here should be roasted a good bit longer than the fish, so that you can actually eat them, but it’s a good basic reminder that blood orange is brilliant with salmon.

Grill some nice fat green or Egyptian onions to serve alongside and your health benefits increase.

In a hurry? Take it off the grill and plop it on some dressed leaves and add a slice of lemon. Dinner in 15 minutes, or ten if you pan-roast and don’t take time to heat the grill.

Personally I would use bronze fennel fronds on top, for appearance and for taste and because it grows well in my yard, but if you’re a dill person, go for it. A generous shower of fresh thyme leaves is also a good finish for salmon, and this is one of the places that I love to use orange balsam thyme, which is otherwise difficult to use.

If you’re one of my local readers, the Fishhuggers come to our farmers markets in the summer and sell the salmon that Kenny catches in Alaska, as well as their own superb grass-fat beef and other healthy goodies.

2 responses to this post.

  1. This was the first year I found an Alaskan source for salmon and made a large order. I loved knowing where it came from, and absolutely love the taste! Will have to try some of these uber wonderful prep ideas. Probably the garlic idea. I have some frozen scape-pesto that should do just the trick. The other fish product I use is fermented cod liver oil I take daily.

    Have you ever heard of Dr. Weston A. Price and his study? I read the study two years ago (a five hundred page book) and was very surprised to find that even cultures deep inland in some way or another would make the effort to acquire some kind of seafood. Important stuff.


  2. Posted by wooddogs3 on December 29, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    So delighted that you love your Alaskan salmon! I think it’s the most worthwhile splurge in the world and feel so lucky to be able to eat it.
    I’m very familiar with Dr. Price’s work, and think that he wasn’t right about everything (who is?) but had so very many worthwhile things to say about how to choose food that would make you healthier. And I think he was 100% right about products of the sea. The only issue now is that we have contaminated so much of the sea that I question the wisdom of eating anything from those areas. So I eat Alaskan salmon and make sure that my animals and soil get hefty doses of Thorvin kelp meal, for the ocean benefits with a minimum of the contaminants that we have poured in there. Uncontaminated ocean products are worth their weight in gold to me, which is about what I pay for them 😉. I recognize my privilege in being able to make these choices, but as long as I can, I will. And I do take a good pinch of kelp meal myself every now and then, just to make sure.
    Incidentally, I admire your ability to take cod liver oil. I really try, but I just can’t stomach it, no matter how “GI tolerable” the form. But I do remember reading a study several years ago in which experimental subjects were given either a dose of fish oil supplying a given amount of EPA and DHA, or a portion of salmon theoretically supplying the same amount of EPA and DHA. Their serum omega-3 levels rose significantly more with the salmon than with the fish oil, so you may be doing yourself a great deal of good by taking both. I can’t remember what mechanism was posited for this, if in fact any mechanism was talked about. I will try to find the study and send it on to you.
    Meanwhile, salmon up!


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