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Salmon From A to Z: 26 Things to Know

Salmon From A to Z: 26 Things to Know

Grilled or smoked? Pink or King? Here are 26 interesting figures you probably don't know about salmon nutrition facts, recipes and varieties.

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Anadromous. a prime example of an anadromous species, a term used to describe that are born in fresh water, migrate to the ocean and then return upstream to reproduce. It is even said that they return to spawn in the exact same spot in which they were born thanks to their incredible olfactory memory.

Bears and salmon. It's worth a trip to Alaska or British Columbia each year just to enjoy the amazing show put on by nature of brown and grizzly bears hunting for migrating salmon. Because of this activity, bears are said to be “engineers of the eco system” because when they take salmon into the forest to eat them, they also nourish the land.

Carotenoid. Salmon flesh has a remarkable colour that ranges from orange to red, even though it can at times be white. Salmon owes its colour to the carotenoid pigments it absorbs from a diet of krill and other shellfish.

Diet. Despite its oily flesh, salmon is considered to be an excellent ally in a low-calorie slimming diet, also because it is an appetite suppressant.

Eggs. An excellent product similar to sturgeon caviar is produced from salmon roe with its characteristic bright red colour. In Japanese it is called Ikura. Ikuradon is a dish consisting of a bowl of rice topped with salmon roe.

Farmed. 99 per cent of the salmon coming from the Atlantic Ocean and commercialized worldwide as food has been farmed, while the percentages differ for Pacific Ocean-sourced salmon of which 80 per cent is wild.

Grilled. it is a versatile and simple fish to cook. It is frequently grilled, owing to its particularly oily flesh, before being seasoned with spices and served with sauces.

Heart. If consumed regularly, salmon is considered to be a heart-saver since it is rich in antioxidants such as the Omega 3 group which help thin the blood.

Irish. Irish salmon is particularly well-known and appreciated, together with the delicious recipes in which it features locally. The most popular? Salmon cooked in the typical local beer, Guinness, which is used to make a reduction sauce to serve with it.

Japanese salmon. Famous in eastern countries, it differs from the species to be found in the Atlantic: Japanese salmon is fished in Japan, Korea, China and Russia. Its roe is considered to be a delicacy and is used to prepare some excellent Japanese dishes, form sushi to sashimi.

King salmon. It's the most highly-prized and delicious species of wild salmon. It is found starting from the coasts of Alaska and Siberia: it travels up to thousands of kilometres and can lay as many as 14,000 eggs at one time. It is also one of the largest species and can weigh up to 45 kilos! The White King species is even more sought-after with its white flesh and delicate flavour.

Leap. The word ‘salmon’ derives from the Latin word salmo, deriving from the latin verb salire meaning “to leap”, owing to its characteristic trait of returning upstream to reproduce and spawn.

Mythology. In the Celtic and Gaelic tradition, the “Salmon of Knowledge” represents a wise or sacred figure who safeguards ancestral secrets and hands down knowledge.

Nine species. On the market there are as many as nine different salmon species subdivided into two important genera, the Salmo genus from the Atlantic (fished in Scotland, Ireland, Norway, Scandinavia and the Baltic Sea) and the “Oncorhynchus” genus, to be found in the Pacific ocean.

Ode. A bearer of wisdom, dearly loved for its ancestral trait of returning upstream, it is often celebrated in poetry, music and art. There is a literary competition called “Ode to the salmon” and the electronic duo, the Chemical Brothers, have dedicated one of their most famous tracks to this fish: “The salmon song”.

Pink salmon. Of all salmon species, this is the one that spends less time in fresh water and is consequently the saltiest of all, albeit the smallest: it never weighs more than two kilos.

Quiche. Salmon is one of the most popular ingredients of this versatile French savoury pie (here is the recipe for a tasty salmon and artichoke quiche) and is also widely used in French cuisine.

Raw. Being less expensive than the other species of fish, raw salmon is now widely featured in Japanese cuisine and its fillet is often the protagonist of sushi and sashimi dishes.

Smoked. What really inspires gourmets the world over is smoked salmon. The art of smoking salmon is an exact science, which varies from country to country and is handed down from one generation to another because smoking food is an art that stretches far back in time.

Toast. It's never off the menu in French brasseries, and not only there. A thin slice of toast, spread with salty butter and served with a fine slice of smoked salmon.

University. The Canadian University of Guelph has just launched a million dollar research project on salmon genome to find out which characteristics make it so fast-growing and resistant to parasites.

VIP. There is a real love affair in course between celebrities and salmon, because this fish is deemed to be the new “facelift”. Madonna, Bruce Willis, Noel Gallagher and Jennifer Lopez are just some of the many VIPs who have tried the salmon diet which promises to rapidly smooth facial wrinkles in less than one month’s intense consumption of this food.

Wild salmon. Salmon that lives in the wild and is fished by hook and line or in nets in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans is known as “wild salmon”. It differs from its farmed cousin by way of having a less oily flesh, and a gamier, less delicate flavour, as well as a higher price (especially in the case of salmon caught on a hook and line, in which case the flesh remains perfectly intact).

Xmas time. On Christmas Eve in Catholic countries, it is customary to dine on fish rather than meat and, on this occasion, salmon comes into its own. Its roe is served on canapé, its aromatized fillet is cooked in the oven or in the frying pan and smoked salmon features in various recipes, so much so that it has become one of the culinary symbols of these festivities, from Christmas through to the Epiphany.

Yogurt. Yogurt-marinated salmon and other yogurt-based sauces are a winning choice for salmon dishes, one which is widely used among great chefs and appears in different versions in culinary traditions throughout the world.

Zen. Zen and salmon fishing could be the title of a successful handbook: salmon fishing – often of the “catch and release” variety – is thought to be one of the most relaxing pastimes in the world. Alaska and the seas of Northern Europe are the best locations for a relaxing salmon fishing excursion.

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