Salmon is one of the healthiest forms of protein you can eat. Whether poached in butter, sautéed with vegetables, or raw in a bowl, it’s also an incredibly versatile food. However, there are many myths and misconceptions surrounding this pink, fragrant fish. Here are all the myths you should stop believing about salmon.
1. It tastes fishy
If you have this problem, cook your fish by sous vide, which is gentler than baking or grilling. When salmon is overcooked, it can take on those fishy flavors and smells that may deter you from eating this seafood.
2. The color determines how strong it will be
Some forms of salmon have colors and food dyes added based on the fact that dark-colored salmon with that rich, red hue sells better. However, salmon is not naturally dark red all the time—even healthy varieties can be naturally gray. So for this reason, the color of your salmon does not dictate the nutrition in it.
3. Salmon should be flaked
How many people have told you that when salmon is fully cooked, it flakes easily? In reality, salmon does not always cook evenly. It is often thicker in some parts (the pectoral fins) and thinner in others (the tail), which means that even if your salmon tail is cooked, the middle may contain raw meat. Use a digital food thermometer to make sure the thickest part of your salmon is fully cooked.
4. Salmon skin is inedible
Salmon skin is packed with nutrients and is 100% edible! You can even find delicacies around the world made with crispy fried salmon skin, like sushi rolls. The skin is high in omega-3 fatty acids and also keeps the salmon from drying out or burning excessively when cooked. Many people like to cook salmon skin side up, which keeps the fish moist.
5. All salmon are the same
Don’t like salmon cooked one way? Then you probably haven’t had it in its myriad forms, including all the different ways it can be used in sushi or lox on a bagel with countless toppings. If you have tried this fish and do not like it, try it in another form of preparation – each of them gives a completely different meal and taste.
6. You need to scrape off that white stuff
Don’t despair – the white stuff is completely normal. It’s called albumin, and no matter what kind of salmon you buy or order from a restaurant, it’s likely to show up. It’s just a white protein and occurs when salmon muscle fibers heat up and contract, pushing albumin out. This is a natural part of the fish body and is safe for human consumption, but cooking fish at a lower temperature can prevent this.
7. It is an expensive fish
This is not an elite form of seafood! Of course, if you choose rare and wild salmon, it can be expensive. But if you’re buying farm-raised salmon instead of sockeye or coho, it’s not bad. Of course, with wild fish the taste is less diluted. Buying salmon in season can also help – you can freeze fresh fillets for times when they are more expensive or unavailable. Canned salmon is also more affordable.
8. It is difficult to cook
With all the different methods you can cook salmon, it’s actually one of the easiest fish to cook. Sear it, poach it or grill it—the high fat content makes this fish more forgiving, so even a little overdone won’t destroy it.
9. Farmed salmon is bad for you
If farmed sustainably, the Atlantic salmon that is farmed does not need to use chemicals or antibiotics. It’s an incredibly popular fish and wild populations can’t keep up. Instead of putting these specimens into extinction, farmed salmon with ethical and ecological practices is a great alternative.
10. Cooked salmon is not so healthy
Cooking salmon can actually be healthier. If you’re worried about killing the nutrients, cook it on low. But raw salmon can actually potentially cause you to consume a dangerous bacteria or parasite. Of course, this is different with sushi salmon, which should be sashimi grade and can often be bought at a higher price.
11. Frozen salmon is not that nutritious
Just like frozen fruits and vegetables, salmon is frozen at its peak nutritional value. In this sense, frozen salmon may be the healthiest variety you can get. Often “fresh” fish is pre-frozen and thawed, unless purchased directly from an off-boat fishmonger. Fish with a high fat content can be frozen well without affecting the taste.