Friday, January 16, 2009

Salmon, Is It?

As told in Irish mythology, Demna, known as Fionn because of his fair hair, meets the poet Finegas near the river Boyne and for a time studies under him. You see, Finegas had spent seven years seeking out the salmon of knowledge. Common belief suggested that whoever ate the salmon would gain all the knowledge of the world. This very salmon lived in a pool on the Boyne. Eventually, Finegas caught the salmon and had Fionn cook it for him. While cooking the salmon, Fionn burned his thumb on the salmon. He instinctively put his thumb in his mouth, swallowing a piece of the salmon's skin. This endowed him with the salmon's wisdom.

Today, many tout the health benefits of salmon due to the high protein, high Omega-3 fatty acids, and high vitamin D content. According to reports in the journal Science, farmed salmon may contain high levels of dioxins. PCB levels may be up to eight time higher in farmed salmon than what is found in wild salmon. Additionally, farmed salmon may contain lower Omega-3 levels. Of the Omega-3’s present, farmed salmon contains higher levels of the ALA type. Although the body can convert ALA Omega-3 into the more beneficial DHA and EPA types, it is very inefficient converting only about 2-15%. A 2006 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests the benefits of eating salmon – even the farmed Atlantic salmon – outweigh any risks imposed. They suggest these benefits will help us live longer, healthier lives.

Salmon is good. That's what I think. I'm not looking to get the world's knowledge and I am not so much concerned about the health benefits or dangers of eating the salmon. I like salmon baked, poached and pan seared. I even consider salmon to be one of the best things you will find on the menu in a sushi restaurant. It's just plain good stuff. My favorite way to prepare Salmon, though, has to be the grill!

Fire Roasted Salmon with Cucumber Sour Cream Sauce

Salmon is definitely one of our family's top choices. This marinade and the accompanying sauce makes for a delicious, flavorful and moist salmon dinner. This recipe is often requested for special birthday meals. Even many who claim they don’t like seafood find they like this.

Ingredients:
1/3 cup white grape juice
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup soy sauce
6 6-ounce salmon fillets with skin

Directions:
Mix grape juice, orange juice, and soy sauce in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Place salmon, flesh side down, in dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 hours, turning occasionally.

Preheat grill to about 450° - medium heat, you’ll not be able to hold your hand over the heat for more than a few seconds. If you have a mesh cooker for fish, this is a good time to use it. Be sure to use a non-stick spray. Otherwise, line your grill with foil. This will help keep all the Salmon goodness from falling through the grate. Place the salmon skin side down on the grill. Close the lid and cook until the fish is opaque in the center, about 8 – 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter. Serve with dollops of Cucumber Sour Cream sauce.

Cucumber Sour Cream sauce

Description:
I do not care for arugula so I replace it with an equal amount of spinach. This is the original recipe. I like this sauce almost enough to eat it without the Salmon. A food processor makes preparation a snap and very quick. I prefer to make this at least an hour before we eat but it can be made up to six hours ahead.

Ingredients:
1 cup (packed) baby spinach leaves
1 cup (packed) arugula leaves
1/2 shallot
3/4 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard
1/2 cup chopped seeded peeled cucumber

Directions:
Finely chop spinach, arugula, and shallot in processor. Add sour cream and mustard; process just until blended. Transfer to medium bowl. (Cover and refrigerate.) Stir cucumber into sour cream mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Simply Grilled Salmon

Description:
A simple soy sauce and brown sugar marinade, with hints of lemon and garlic, are the perfect salty-sweet complement to rich salmon fillets.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds salmon fillets
lemon pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil


Directions:
Season salmon fillets with lemon pepper, garlic powder. 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish, stir together soy sauce, brown sugar, water, and vegetable oil until sugar is dissolved. Place fish flesh side down in the soy sauce mixture. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, turning occasionally.

Preheat grill to about 450° - medium heat, you’ll not be able to hold your hand over the heat for more than a few seconds. Again, if you have a mesh cooker for fish, this is a good time to use it. Be sure to use a non-stick spray. Otherwise, line your grill with foil. This will help keep all the Salmon goodness from falling through the grate. Place the salmon skin side down on the grill. Close the lid and cook until the fish is opaque in the center, about 8 – 10 minutes.

If you are not inclined to grill your salmon, you can cook it in a 450° oven. Make a foil packet for each fillet large enough to tent and allow air to circulate. Cook for about 12 minutes.
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