Everything You Wanted to Know About Preparing Salmon


There's no denying that Alaskan salmon is a hugely popular ingredient in kitchens throughout the country and the world: it's healthy (God bless Omega-3 fatty acids), its tasty, it's versatile, and it's responsibly and sustainably harvested (Alaska's commercial fishing regulations are an example of intelligent, ethnic government policy). The only possible drawback to this fish appears on your table at dinnertime is that you may not have a clue about how to properly treat it: how to season salmon, how to smoke it, how to cook it, etc. Fortunately, here we'll be going over some "best practices" regarding using salmon in your kitchen.

First things first: properly filleting a salmon is a cruciform step towards presenting an aesthetically superior dish on your dining room table. Take your dressed salmon and lay it on its side; on one flank, make an incision behind the gills that reaches the spine. Enter your knife into this crevice and begin to move it horizontally along the top of the spine, cutting all the ropes in the process, from just behind the gills all the way to the tail. Place this fillet skin down on your board, and remove the stomach bones in one fell swoop by slicing away the upper portion. All that remains now is the needle bones inside the fillet, which you will detect with your fingers and can be removed with tweezers. Repeat this process with the other half of the fish.

Regarding how to make smoked salmon, the most important factors are having quality wood chips and a properly sealed smoke house (for larger operations) or smoke box (what most people use at home). Let your chips smolder away for at least a half hour before introducing the salmon; then, do not open the box until the end of the procedure other than to slide the bottom tray in and out to replenish your wood chips once they have died off. Smoking times vary based on the size of your box and whether you're using heat or not: hot smoking can be done in a few hours, whereas cold smoking may take more than two whole days. Indeed, this is one of the most effective methods when you are learning how to season salmon.

As far as cooking the salmon is concerned, always make sure your Alaskan salmon is as fresh as possible! Salmon is best left a little raw on the inside, though some people prefer no pink on the inside (they do not know what they're missing). If grilling, leave the skin on the fillet, as it will retain the form as well as protect the meat from burning, in addition to giving a deliciously crispy treat to the senses. As far as how to season salmon goes, you'll want to apply your favorite spices, but in moderation!

If your salmon is fresh, then keep the other ingredients fresh, too: fresh herbs, cheeses, and vegetables are all great sides to any kind of salmon dish. Let your imagination be the limit!