Food find: Delicious, nutritious salmon
As the bleak, snow-swept winter stretches on, Minnesotans everywhere are looking for a bit of color in their lives.
Although the blooming sights of spring still are weeks away, dinner time can be made a little more interesting with the vibrant red-orange of a salmon fillet. But more than just a change of pace from the boring beige of chicken and hotdish, salmon is rich in nutrients like vitamin D — an important commodity in northern climates.
Produced naturally when the skin is exposed to direct sunlight, vitamin D plays a vital role in bone health and calcium absorption, according to the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements.
In addition to weak bones, the NIH says not getting enough vitamin D also has been shown to reduce the body’s ability to fight off bacteria and viruses.
Fatty fish such as salmon and tuna are among the best natural sources for vitamin D in foods. Just 3 ounces of cooked sockeye salmon provides around 447 International Units of vitamin D, or 112 percent of the recommend daily intake for most adults, according to the Food and Drug Administration.
Salmon — both wild and farm-raised— also is a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are linked to a reduced risk for heart disease, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture study last year.
Like tuna and other similar fish, salmon can be prepared in many different ways; from a pan-fried main course to a flaky addition to a salad. Apart from fresh filets, it also is available in ready-to-eat canned and smoked varieties.
Here are a few recipes to add this nutritious fish to your next meal:
Pan-fried salmon (Food Network)
- 4 center-cut salmon fillets about 1-inch thick, skin on or off
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Bring salmon to room temperature about 10 minutes before cooking.
Warm a large nonstick skillet with olive oil over medium-low heat. Season the fish with salt and pepper.
Raise the heat to medium-high and place the salmon, skin-side up, in the pan. Cook until golden brown on one side, about four minutes.
Turn fish over with a spatula and cook additional three minutes or until it feels firm to the touch and the skin is crisp if desired. The skin can be served or removed easily with a knife or spoon.
Salmon burgers (MN WIC Program)
- 1 can (14-16 ounces) drained or 2 pouches (7-8 ounces each) salmon
- 8 saltine crackers
- No-stick cooking spray
- 3 tablespoons Caesar dressing or mayonnaise-type salad dressing
- 1/4 cup sweet red pepper, diced (optional)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)
- 4 drops hot sauce (optional)
- 4 hamburger buns
- Lettuce, tomato, avocado or other toppings
Remove skin from fish and flake with a fork. Mash fish with bones in a medium bowl. Place crackers in a re-sealable plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin or cup. Add crumbs to bowl.
Add dressing and optional ingredients to bowl and mix well. Shape contents into four patties.
Coat a large frying pan with no-stick cooking spray and place over medium heat. Cook patties, turning once, until lightly browned on each side.
Place on buns and top as desired.
Smoked salmon salad (Bon Appétit)
- 6 ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 cups baby greens
- 1 1/2 tablespoons drained capers
- 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 16 red cherry tomatoes
- 16 yellow pear tomatoes
Whisk oil and vinegar in small bowl to blend well. Season with salt and pepper.
Place greens in large bowl. Toss with enough dressing to coat lightly. Divide greens among four plates.
Arrange smoked salmon slices over greens on each plate, dividing equally. Drizzle more dressing over salmon. Sprinkle salmon with capers. Garnish salads with red onion and tomatoes.
Safe eating guidelines
Although salmon is rich in nutrients, like other fish its flesh also may contain small amounts of mercury, making it potentially dangerous to eat for children and pregnant women.
The Minnesota Department of Health recommends eating no more than two meals a week containing salmon for:
- Children under 15 years old
- Pregnant women
- Women who are breastfeeding
The amount of salmon consumed per meal should not exceed 6 ounces for a 110-pound person; 8 ounces for a 150-pound person; and 10 ounces for a 190-pound person, the Health Department says.