Buying Salmon Like a Picky Brat

Buying Salmon Like a Picky Brat

What does your seafood department mean by fresh?
A store might consider freshness to mean availability when juxtaposed with what’s in as defined by consumer demand. Fresh also implies that the product is safe to eat. You won’t get sick. It’s fresh. Finally, there’s the previously swimming in the ocean type of freshness.

Does the clerk know what he/she is talking about?
There’s a way to know if the person helping you is a complete idiot. You could ask for the skin to be removed, which requires a decent skill-set. Question the arrival date of the salmon in the case. Where’s the salmon from? Ask to smell the fish.


What should fresh salmon smell like?
If anything, vaguely fishy, but in most cases, nothing. You will be able to tell that a piece of salmon is going bad either by a pronounced smell, it flat out looks terrible, or at the bottom center of any portion that darkens as the fish ages. By the way, salmon doesn’t age well, unlike a rib-eye losing its redness, browning.


Notice how fresh salmon has a white streak; this streak turns brown as the fish loses freshness.

Does it matter if the seafood department smells?
Although fresh fish inherently stinks up the place, a good seafood department is regularly bleached and cleaned. If a department smells off, don’t buy the fish.

What should fresh salmon look like?
Glossy. One of the first things to go is the fish’s moisture. Secondly, consider the exterior texture. The fish will carry the imprints of a butcher’s thumb if the fish is losing freshness, similar to a wrinkled train wreck.


What does the Monterey Bay Aquarium think of that fish?
If the Atlantic salmon is raised in the east coast, consider the fish sustainable and probably of high quality. If it’s from the west coast, it’s not sustainable and actually terrible for the environment. Ask to see the box the salmon comes in. Look past the signs in the case.


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