Salmon Smarts

Got some questions about cooking with salmon? Use this basic guide to get you started.


Matt Caserta

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  • Salmon

    Gills Gone Wild

    These types of wild Pacific salmon are typically sold in stores. For more species specifics, visit Commonly known as silver salmon, this species is the second-largest and has firm, orange-red flesh.
    Keta: Also known as chum salmon, this type has a mild flavor and pink color.
    King: Also known as Chinook and harvested year-round, these are the largest salmon, ranging from 4 to 40 pounds. King salmon is among the most prized wild salmon due to its rich flavor and firm texture.
    Pink: Pink salmon is the smallest but most plentiful and is most often canned. 
    Sockeye: Nicknamed red salmon for its distinctive red-hued meat. Rich flavor and firm texture make it ideal for smoking. 

Is it OK to buy frozen salmon? Absolutely. Immediately after being caught, wild Alaskan salmon is typically processed and frozen on the boat or at a nearby facility.

What’s the best way to thaw frozen fillets? Thaw salmon wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator overnight. 

What is that white film on cooked salmon? It’s a protein called albumin (like egg white) that comes from overcooking, usually with higher-fat salmon such as king and farmed salmon. It’s perfectly safe to eat, but can be wiped off.

Is the skin edible? Sure, as long as it has been scaled. Most people enjoy it grilled, seared, or broiled until crispy.

What’s the difference between wild and Pacific salmon? Pacific and wild are used interchangeably to describe any of five salmon species caught in the Pacific Northwest.

Does wild salmon contain toxins? Salmon are short-lived fish, with a lifespan of one to five years, so they don’t accumulate as many toxins as longer-living fish.

What are the health benefits of wild salmon? Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids, which protect against heart disease and reduce inflammation. Salmon is also a rich source of niacin, magnesium, and vitamin B12. One serving contains more than the daily requirement of the mineral selenium, said to regulate thyroid function and boost the immune system.


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