Salmon! Here fishy fishy…

Posted by cleancowgirl on August 9th, 2012 |Filed Under Uncategorized |

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Salmon is a tasty fish that’s chock-full of omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial fats that can improve heart health. Salmon is also protein-rich. Choose wild over farmed salmon, which has been shown to contain elevated levels of contaminants and is artificially colored.

  • With so much focus on the amazing omega-3 benefits of salmon, other unique health benefits from salmon may have been inadvertently overlooked. One fascinating new area of health benefits involves the protein and amino acid content of salmon. Several recent studies have found that salmon contains small bioactive protein molecules (called bioactive peptides) that may provide special support for joint cartilage, insulin effectiveness, and control of inflammation in the digestive tract. One particular bioactive peptide called calcitonin (sCT) has been of special interest in these studies. The reason is because a human form of calcitonin is made by the thyroid gland, and we know that it is a key hormone for helping regulate and stabilize the balance of collagen and minerals in the bone and surrounding tissue. As researchers learn more and more about salmon peptides - - including sCT - - we expect to see more and more potential health benefits discovered related to inflammation, including inflammation of the joints.
  • Even though contamination with mercury, pesticides, and persistent organic pollutants (POPS) has become a widespread problem in salmon habitats and with the quality of salmon itself, there are still salmon runs that pose relatively low risk in terms of contaminants. Leading this low-risk category for wild-caught salmon are Alaskan salmon. Southeast Alaskan chum, sockeye, coho, pink, and chinook salmon, together with Kodiak coho, pink, and chum salmon have all been evaluated for contaminant consumption risk involving many POPs (including dioxins, dioxin-like compounds, or DLCs, and polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs) and have been found to be the lowest risk category of wild-caught salmon for regular consumption. This lower contamination risk amongst all wild-caught salmon is one of the reasons we recommend selection of wild-caught Alaskan salmon as a salmon of choice. (While some salmon runs from British Columbia and the U.S. West Coast also stand out as lower risk in terms of contaminants, we do not feel enthusiastic about recommending them for consumption due to the more precarious sustainability of these salmon runs.)
  • Along with lower risk of contamination from wild-caught Alaskan salmon, we like what experts are saying about the greater sustainability of Alaskan salmon runs. For example, the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California has recently determined Alaskan salmon to be the only low-risk salmon in terms of four sustainability criteria: the inherent vulnerability of the fish, the effects of fishing on the overall habitat, the status of wild stocks, and the nature of the by-catch (the other types of fish that are caught unintentionally during salmon fishing).
  • Like other seafood, salmon is still not covered under regulations issued by the U.S. National Organics Program (NOP). However, the National Organics Standards Board has officially adopted recommendations for seafood (including salmon) and government officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture have plans to implement these new regulations by adding them to the National List and issuing rules for compliance. Recommendations from the NOSB currently include:
    • organic certification of farmed salmon that meet certain standards
    • no certification of any wild-caught salmon
    • allowance of up to 25% fish oil and fish meal from wild-caught fish in the feeding of farmed organic salmon
    • permitted use of net pens and inland containment facilities

    All aspects of the NOSB recommendations remain controversial. The limitation of organic certification to farmed salmon appears to have been related to the NOSB’s desire for certainty about compliance of salmon production with organic regulations as well as its belief that verification of compliance for wild-caught salmon would simply not be possible. However, many advocates of sustainable food argue that farming creates an unnatural habitat for fish and is likely to compromise fish quality. Since organic regulations prohibit the use of animal by-products in the feeding of land animals (like cows or chickens), this area of certification for farmed fish has been equally controversial. When salmon migrate out to sea, many different types of fish are included in their natural diet. From this perspective, it would seem appropriate to allow the feeding of fish oil and fish meal from wild-caught fish to farmed organic salmon. However, at the same time, prohibited feeding of non-organic animal by-products to cows, chickens, and other land animals has played an important role in assuring organic quality. When animals are being raised for organic food, it’s obvious that non-organic animal by-products in their diet increase risk of contamination.

    While we welcome the idea of certification standards for organic seafood, we aren’t convinced that the current NOSB recommendations make good sense. For this reason, if the current recommendations are implemented into law, we will continue to recommend selection of wild-caught Alaskan salmon as a salmon of choice, even over certified organic, farm-raised salmon. However, if changes are made in the current NOSB recommendations, we’ll re-evaluate your best chances of getting optimal nourishment from any salmon that you decide to include in your meal plan.

  • 1/2 pound fresh salmon
  • Good olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup small-diced red onion (1 small onion)
  • 1 1/2 cups small-diced celery (4 stalks)
  • 1/2 cup small-diced red bell pepper (1 small pepper)
  • 1/2 cup small-diced yellow bell pepper (1 small pepper)
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crab boil seasoning (recommended: Old Bay)
  • 3 slices stale bread, crusts removed
  • 1/2 cup good mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the salmon on a sheet pan, skin side down. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until just cooked. Remove from the oven and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 10 minutes and refrigerate until cold.

Meanwhile, place 2 tablespoons of the butter, 2 tablespoons olive oil, the onion, celery, red and yellow bell peppers, parsley, capers, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, crab boil seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large saute pan over medium-low heat and cook until the vegetables are soft, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Break the bread slices in pieces and process the bread in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. You should have about 1 cup of bread crumbs. Place the bread crumbs on a sheet pan and toast in the oven for 5 minutes until lightly browned, tossing occasionally.

Flake the chilled salmon into a large bowl. Add the bread crumbsmayonnaise, mustard, and eggs. Add the vegetable mixture and mix well. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Shape into 10 (2 1/2 to 3-ounce) cakes.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. In batches, add the salmon cakes and fry for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until browned. Drain on paper towels; keep them warm in a preheated 250 degree F oven and serve hot.


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