Daniel Neman recently wrote a scathing piece about farm raised salmon, and although he’s an opinion writer, the reader demands a bit more research.
“Fortunately for us, that season is right now. Stores and fish markets are full of the stuff, and we can stand there, bearlike, and pick out what we want.”
Actually, most varieties of wild caught salmon are available year-round, such as sockeye and coho. The exception is always king salmon, which I’ll admit is the best salmon money can buy. Churchill’s, for instance, regularly carries coho salmon. To understand the three distinctive salmons, consider that sockeye is generally least expensive, lowest quality, while king salmon is the highest quality. Coho’s right in between.
“Farmed salmon just isn’t the same thing. It will do in a pinch because it is available year-round (and it is considerably less expensive), but it has much more fat and much less flavor than the fish in the wild.”
Fresh coho salmon is $12.99 a pound at Churchill’s, while farm-raised Atlantic salmon is $13.50 a pound. Churchill’s, by the way, carries Foley Fish, the same product at the great Mancy’s Bluewater Grill. This is the standard.
The Atlantic salmon has more fat because in the case of Foley Fish the product is served ground up herring tablets day and night. The fat on a farm-raised salmon is actually Omega acids that prevent things like heart disease. Wild caught salmon definitely consume a stronger variety, but the health conscious customer should be eating farm-raised salmon.
“call it pale salmon — because of a difference in diets. Wild salmon primarily eat krill, a small, shrimp-like crustacean that reddens their flesh. Farmed salmon are often fed whatever is cheapest, which these days can even include corn.”
Don’t call it pale salmon. Nobody will know what you’re talking about. Again, Foley Fish serves up only herring. Maybe the farm-raised salmon at Meijer or Kroger had a corn rich diet, but then again that product is 50% cheaper than at Churchill’s.
“Steaming a fish is easy: just suspend it above boiling liquid until it is done.”
Nobody in their right mind should ever, ever steam salmon, unless it’s left whole with head and tail attached. There has to be a methodology to your cooking. Not every option of fish tastes good steamed. Even then, and I know this from personal experience, if you steam a fillet of salmon, you’ll destroy the flavor. Would you microwave a king crab leg?
In sum, I believe Daniel Neman has done a great disservice to the fish industry. More research is required, more qualifications on what’s what. And three years since I was the seafood specialist at Churchill’s, I am relieved that I still got it.