Salmon: The Nation’s Coolest Fish

By: Marissa Burkett, Staff Writer

“There are some achievements which are never done in the presence of those who hear of them. Catching salmon is one, and working all night is another.”

Anthony Trollope

Today we are going to talk about salmon. Delicious, healthy, pungent salmon. Grilled, baked, smoked….. tartare. Its versatility is clearly above par with other fish. Some of my very favorite memories of my early adulthood formed in a restaurant in my hometown of Amelia Island, long conversations with friends accentuated with a fine wine and buttery lox with cream cheese, capers and caviar. Alas, long gone are the days of financial freedom and the beluga well has long run dry. However, thanks to the amazing versatility of this oily, migratory morsel, I needn’t completely be without my fix.

Salmon is a big deal, specifically in Washington State, my most recent home before Thunderbird. The two main types of Salmon there were are Coho (as seen above) and Steelhead but there are at least another four tasty species. Most of these are on the safe list for Seafood Watch, a nonprofit that focuses on issues related to overfishing, but farm-raised salmon is often frowned upon.

According to my fisheries biologist boyfriend, “Being an educated consumer means that you have knowledge of both farm-raised and wild caught salmon. With wild-caught salmon, you face the danger of over-harvesting and depleting the population. But farm-raised salmon often are not done sustainably and lead to transmission of new parasites into wide populations. At this point, that is not a trade-off that the fisheries profession is comfortable with. Sustainable wild, Alaskan salmon is best. ”

The coolest part about salmon is that they are anadromous: they are born in fresh water, migrate to the ocean, then return to fresh water to reproduce. They do not simply return to the same river, but to the same off-shoot stream in which they were born. And all of this is led only by their olfactory memory, which is to say, their sense of smell!

None of this is related to the recipe. I simply want you to know that you are eating a very smart fish.

Which could be the reason for all the health benefits that come with consuming with one of the most pungent of the Salmoniformes, salmon consumption is associated with the following benefits:

  • Decreased Inflammation
  • Cancer Prevention
  • Eye Health
  • Cardiovascular Health
  • Skin & Hair Health
  • Cognitive Function (my favorite benefit – Some studies have also demonstrated an association between IQ and a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids.)

All of this being said:

Photo by Marissa Burkett

The Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon drained capers, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 1 1/2-pound skinless salmon fillet (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches thick)
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

The Process

This is the simplest recipe ever. Seriously. You cannot mess this recipe up.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

First, you whisk the first 6 ingredients together to make a sauce. Then line a baking  dish with the asparagus. Lay the salmon on top of the bed of asparagus and then top with the sauce.

Bake for about 20 minutes.

Remove from oven, allow to cool and enjoy.

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