Taste and texture
The superior flavour and texture of pink salmon comes from the fish feeding on their natural diet of marine life such as shrimp and krill and migrating great distances in the cold waters of the North Pacific. It is the shrimp and krill the salmon feed on that give the salmon the pink flesh colour. This reflects in the difference in taste and texture compared to farmed Atlantic salmon. Pink salmon is much less oily and has a firmer, drier texture. This is very important when it comes to cooking pink salmon.
Pink Salmon with Garlic Butter Cooked In Foil
Pink Salmon with Honey and Soy Glaze
Crusted Pink Salmon
Pink Salmon Buying Advice
Frozen pink salmon is available in all the UK supermarkets in pack sizes ranging from 330g to 1000g with varying portion numbers in the pack. The portions usually weigh between 80g and 100g each and are all boneless with some being skin on and others skinless.
The portions are usually individually packed in a vacuum pouch. This makes the packaging seem excessive but as the salmon has a high oil content and without this packaging the salmon can go rancid even when frozen.
You should have a natural ratio of mid-portions to tail portions in a pack, this is 2 to 3 mid-portions to every tail portion. One of the most common methods to cheapen the product is to add water to the fish. This is not easy to find out as if you cook the product from frozen there will be some water visible from the ice glaze but if the salmon portion has shrunk a great deal and is sitting in water you would be best to buy elsewhere next time.
Although generally speaking pink salmon fisheries are well managed if you want to be sure that your pink salmon is from a sustainable fishery you should buy the pink salmon with the MSC logo on it. The logo signifys the salmon has been caught in a assessed sustainable fishery. At the moment in the UK Tesco and Sainsbury are selling frozen pink salmon from an MSC approved fishery.
It is also sold in the Youngs brand under their 'Fish for Life' sustainability programme.
It is most important to know that pink salmon has a lower fat content than all other salmon and this means that it has a much drier and more delicate taste. When cooking you must not over cook the salmon as that will make it very dry and pink salmon is best cooked with a sauce, a marinade or a topping as otherwise it is a very dry eat.
If you have time it is best to defrost the frozen pink salmon before cooking. This can be done by leaving the portions in a fridge overnight. However, don't worry if you haven't been able to do this, you can have just as excellent results cooking directly from frozen.
If you are cooking in the oven it is a good idea to wrap the portions in kitchen foil. This way you can also add in other ingredients to enhance the flavour like the pink salmon cooked in Garlic butter in the photograph opposite. Here garlic butter has been added with, lemon juice and red pepper flakes with Italian seasoning. For a full recipe click here.
Pink salmon are wild fish and unlike farmed salmon the colour can be much paler, white or even pale grey in cooking. There is nothing wrong with the salmon and the taste will be just as good, it is just part of the natural variation in the salmon. On cooking you can also sometimes see a white or creamy coloured residue come out of the salmon. This is a protein residue and commonly occurs when cooking all protein, it is just more obvious on pink flesh.
Pink salmon can also be grilled from frozen although it is easier to grill after defrosting. If you want to add a flavoured crust to the pink salmon grilling is an excellent cooking method.
Although pink salmon can be shallow fried from frozen(see blog on panfrying from frozen) it is very important to defrost the surface of the salmon before frying. This is because the salmon will have some ice glaze on it to protect it while frozen and if shallow fried without this being taken off the salmon can spit dangerously in the frying pan. The ice can be easily removed by using a microwave on defrost or leaving the salmon in the fridge for a couple of hours.
A great cooking method for the pink salmon is to put the defrosted pink salmon in a marinade before shallow frying this has been done in the photo opposite. A full recipe can be found here. However, there are very many excellent recipes for pink salmon on the web. Pink salmon is also an excellent ingredient in fish pies and when cooked it can be flaked into sauces to mix with pasta.
Frozen pink salmon fillets are a lean source of protein. The body breaks protein down into amino acids and these play an important role in manufacturing, repairing and maintaining cells and are vital for growth and development.
Pink salmon has the lowest fat content of any of the salmon species, about 5% of a portion of pink Salmon is fat and 49% pf that fat is heart healthy mono and poly-unsturated fats. Pink salmon also contain specific types of poly unsaturated fats called omega 3s and these may help prevent irregular heartbeats and help combat high blood pressure,
Pink salmon is also a good source of Selenium, vitamin B12, vitamin D and Niacin all of which are needed for a healthy body.
The detailed nutrition is in the table below.