The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) recently asked 5 bloggers to try to create recipes for both farmed and wild salmon the purpose of which was to see what taste differences if any we could taste. I was really excited about this because I don’t think I’d previously ever eaten wild salmon before so I couldn’t wait to try it and relay my thoughts to my readers.
The ASMI say “Alaska seafood is counted among the best in the world. All fish from Alaska’s waters are wild and natural providing a wealth of health benefits, not to mention flavours and textures. What’s more all Alaska seafood is 100% sustainable so it can be eaten with a clear conscience that the ocean’s stocks are being preserved for the future”. “In terms of taste and flavour, Alaska seafood is very different to that of its farmed counterparts”.
Most people will be familiar with farmed salmon as it’s the one usually found in restaurants and supermarkets, it contains fewer omega-3 fatty acids while the levels of pesticides in farmed are significantly higher than wild salmon and the fat content of farmed ranges between 11% and 20% vs. 7% for wild.
Farmed salmon is distinctly oilier and had less fishy flavour as a consequence of the limited movements in its aquatic cages, Mini Gourmand doesn’t particularly like fish that has a ‘fishy’ taste so I can usually get her to eat farmed salmon at home. Wild Alaskan salmon has no artificial colouring, preservatives, pesticides and GMOs and so retains all the goodness from when it is frozen to when it ends up on the dinner plate.
Since it lives in the cleanest waters in the world, wild Alaska salmon is firmer, fitter and a more vibrant fish. It is coloured by the natural food it finds in its wild free range environment and people are often surprised to find that some wild Alaskan salmon is more red than orange.
When I received the salmon the first thing I did was to do a blind taste test for the family. I pan fried both the farmed and fresh salmon and we all had a taste and gave our verdict.
Mini Gourmand guessed the difference instantly, she found the wild salmon to have a more delicate flavour and different texture to the farmed salmon. I personally preferred the wild salmon, the taste for me was better and I agree with Mini Gourmand that it was delicate. I found the farmed salmon to be meatier in texture and thought the farmed salmon melted in the mouth.
My next challenge was to create a recipe using both types of salmon, this was to be a blind taste test again. Both Cajun salmon tacos were cooked the same way and the same ingredients were used but could the Gourmands tell the difference this time?
Mini Gourmand thought that although they both tasted very similar the wild salmon stood out as the texture wasn’t as meaty and I agree, it was very close but the texture gave it away at first bite. Cajun Salmon Tacos are really simple to make and you can throw any vegetable or salad ingredient into the soft flour taco, I used red onion, avocado, green tomato, sweet corn and coriander.
To make the salmon marinade you will need: 4 Tablespoons of smokey Tabasco, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2. Teaspoon coriander leaf, 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander. Marinate the salmon overnight and pan fry until just cooked through.
My second dish was Teryiaki Salmon which was super easy to make and used very few ingredients. To make this dish you will need Teryaki sauce for marinating the salmon which I left overnight. Soba noodles, pak choi, cashew nuts, sesame seeds and soy sauce. Cook and drain the noodles, add to a hot pan with a splash of oil and pak choi, stir fry for a few seconds until combined, add a splash of soy sauce and a handful of cashew nuts.
Add the salmon strips to a hot pan and cook on both sides, the timings will vary depending on how thin your strips are. Place the noodles on a plate and top with salmon, sprinkle with sesame seeds to finish. I enjoyed both types,of salmon but wild salmon will definitely be purchased more frequently in our house from now on.
In the past I have sometimes struggled to eat a whole piece of farmed salmon as I’ve found it either too meaty or got bored with the flavour and this is something that I’ve not experienced with the wild salmon. I really enjoyed trying salmon in recipes that I would usually cook with meat, I’ve got three more recipes planned so please do check back to see those.