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Fort on Salmon
It may be hard to believe, but salmon raises deep passions. Salmon farmers defend their product with a vigour matched by few agriculturists. Salmon fishermen, loathe and despise the farmed variety for polluting beautiful waters, mongrelising the native wild salmon stocks, and generally lowering the tone of this most splendid, and delicious of fishes. There is no doubt that a spring-run salmon netted in the mouth of a river is just about the finest eating fish ever, rich and delicate, distinctive and dainty, firm and yielding. However, there aren’t very many of them, and we shouldn’t be eating them.
Autumn run fish are in a different state, and their stocks aren’t so threatened. Farmed salmon has the advantage of being available all the year round, and the same all the year round. There isn’t enough space here to rehearse the arguments about the environmental, chemical and welfare issues for the vast majority of salmon farms.
Simply on a gastronomic basis, the fatty, flabby, greasy, flavourless quality of the average salmon fillet is an affront to your taste buds. ‘Organic’ salmon (there is equally heated debate as to whether salmon can really be described as ‘Organic’) is better, and can be halfway decent. But no wonder supermarkets are experimenting with Alaskan and Pacific wild salmon (a different variety from our native Atlantic salmon), although the environmental footprint might raise an eyebrow in some circles. My advice is to substitute sea trout for salmon when in season (roughly from April-October).
Article written by Matthew Fort
What Salmon Goes With
The web and cookbooks are increasingly inundated with salmon recipes, and by now, the fish has virtually been paired with every ingredient under the sun.
Beetroot seems to be the current partner of choice for salmon amongst chefs – the contrast of salty, oleaginous fish and earthily sweet beetroot proving that in this case, opposites do attract. Luke Holder’s salmon mi cuit with beetroot and Marcello Tully’s recipe for cured salmon with beetroot both delightfully feature the combination.
Adam Gray features salmon as a centrepiece to a dish which also includes English peas and chorizo while Paul Heathcote opts for a mushroom sauce to serve with his salmon fillet.
Smoked, the fish is wonderful in a terrine as Josh Eggleton recommends here and there is nothing quite like a marinated salmon recipe to get the BBQ going.
Read our in-depth article for more information about how to cook salmon.
By the Sea
Alaska Black Cod