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Need advice: wild king or coho salmon vs farmed?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Looks like I'll get a chance to use boat-frozen Pacific king or coho salmon. But I've only used farmed before.

What should I look out for? I expect it'll be less fatty, but other than that, will it cook differently?

How should I take advantage of the taste? (With farmed salmon, I usually grill it with a dill-horseradish cream, smoke it with brown sugar and mustard or grill it and top with a pineapple salsa.)

All advice appreciated.
post #2 of 10
Actually, I would have thought that the wild salmon would be fattier than the farmed fish because they live in the very cold Pacific Ocean. Maybe not though.

The thing with wild salmon is that it can sometimes have parasites. If one of the pin bones moves while you are trying to pull it out, you know you have found one! But then if has been frozen you may not see the parasite because it will probably be dead.

I would prepare wild salmon just as I would farmed. It just tastes better. I like to grill it and baste it with a butter/honey/lemon juice mixture. When I was up in Alaska they used to have salmon bakes where they grilled the fish with that combo They used margarine though which I avoid if I have the choice.

post #3 of 10
Though it may be a bit of a cliche right now, whenever I get hold of wild Pacific salmon I often like to serve "Planked Salmon". Salmon baked on cedar planks. Is this for home use or to serve in a restaurant? Are you serving a whole side are just portions. Let me know and I can guide to the best way to do "Planked Salmon" as there are a couple of different methods of doing it.
post #4 of 10
I got to taste some FAS ("frozen at sea") salmon a few years ago at a comparative tasting of salmons. That stuff is actually somewhat leaner, and also slightly drier because it's been frozen. HOWEVER, the taste is fabulous! :lips: :lips: :lips: Do it the simplest way -- maybe steamed or an papillote, to make up for the dryness -- and with just the lightest sauce. You will be amazed at it: this is what salmon should taste like!
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
post #5 of 10
The first time I used FAS salmon it looked like it had freezer burn. I guess they flush it with nitrogen or something and it freezes that way.

I just hope we do not deplete our wild Salmon resources. Given enough food tv, this whole thing could spiral outta control. Farmed Salmon isn't bad.

post #6 of 10
As said before it may be a bit drier because of the freezing but otherwise I'd treat it like fresh. Salmon freezes better than any fish I can think of. Try some fruit salsas or give it a good hearty chile aioli. Planking is a great way to cook it too!
post #7 of 10

Wild, NOT Farmed

Being from the west coast of British Columbia, Canada, and on the Pacific Ocean, I have a bit of first hand knowledge on this topic.

First off...I must say, use wild salmon whenever available. Not only for the taste, and I know that we ALL agree that wild is so much better than farmed, but when you look at the studies, 'fish farms' are wiping out the fish that they are trying to save! Naturally spawning hatchery fish, regardless of brood stock origin and quality, are ineffective at producing offspring that survive to adulthood. A population of 300 wild spawners produces more returning adults than 2,400 hatchery spawners.

Now with that said and aside, as for cooking method, I must agree with Suzanne....keep it as simply as possible. En Papillote, steamed, or poached in a court. As for Pete's suggestion, I've had "planked salmon" before, and won't deny the flavor is spectacular, but would normally save that for farmed fish. If you don't get a chance to cook with wild salmon often, I don't recommend doing something like this. In this case, you really want to highlight the flavour of the fish, and not add too many more strong flavours, such as the cedar which would mask the natural salmon flavour.

If I had a choice, i would deffinatly go classic. I probably make something like a poached salmon with a beurre blanc sauce, topped with a bruinoise of red pepper. maybe serve it with a shitake risotto, and some asparagus spears. Let us know what you end up doin and how it goes! :chef:
Always Remember..."Never Trust A Skinny Chef!"
Always Remember..."Never Trust A Skinny Chef!"
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies, everyone.

Pete, don't think I can get cedar planks. But it's an intriguing idea. What temp do you roast the plank-filet combo at? Does the plank ever run out of flavoring resin?

From your replies, it sounds like it's still a rich taste, albeit less fatty than farmed. Perhaps a dab of wasabi aioli ... hmmmm.
post #9 of 10
Cedar planking is relatively easy to come by. Most all "Home Depot" like stores with a good selection of lumber carry it. Just make double sure that you get untreated wood. As for temps for roasting I usually roast it at about 400. Cedar will eventually lose it's flavoring abilities but only after many repeated cookings. One thing I do first though is to "season" the cedar. I first soak the planks in water for about 1 hour then bake them at about 350 for 2 hours (your whole kitchen will smell like a sauna!!!). This helps to drive off some of the volital oils so that the cedar doesn't overpower the fish.
post #10 of 10
Talking of cedar, I remember a thread from a while back that mentioned the different kinds of cedar. There is basically red and white cedar. Don't use the white! I forget what the poster said was in it that is unhealthy but what ever it is, white cedar is a no no.

Cedar planks have a limited number of uses and are usually quite expensive (relatively speaking.) I go to the lumber yard and for a few $$$ I get a bundle of cedar shims. (Shims are used in the construction industry for leveling door and window frames amongst other things.) They are untreated (I have called the mill to confirm this) and ideal for plank cooking. They are a one time use but cheap enough. Soak 'em in water for a few minutes, paint 'em with some oil, set your fish and into the oven or under the salamander. Great for scallops.

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