Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Honey Ginger Salmon

Soooooo... Here it is!! This is the salmon that I've talked to a few people about! I've been making this particular recipe for about 8 or 9 years now, and it's one of my favorite ways to prepare salmon.
Now, if you've never had salmon before, you should know a few things first. You should also know a few things if you have had it before but didn't care for it. First of all, no fish should have an overpowering fish smell, it should smell mostly of the ocean. It's going to have some fish smell because, after all, it is a fish, but it should be mild and not especially pungent. When buying Salmon a good way to tell if it’s fresh is to press it with you finger, the flesh should spring back, not leave your fingerprint in it. If you’re looking at a whole salmon - take a good look at its eyes, they should be clear and bright, not sunken and cloudy. The gills should be a deep red colour and the skin shiny and slippery. When you pick up the fish it should feel firm, not floppy like some old rag doll.
Wild salmon is the best and, therefore, usually the most expensive but don’t let that put you off; once you’ve eaten wild Salmon the farmed Salmon pales in comparison. Wild salmon tends to be a darker orangey pink color, the reason being is that the natural diet of a Salmon includes crustaceans. When you pick up a whole wild salmon you’ll notice how firm and lean it is, like a torpedo, caused by the fish using its muscles to swim in the currents and tides of the rivers and seas. Farm-raised salmon is lighter pink in color and more rounded and flabby, the only fighting it’s done is for food amongst the other salmon in the sometimes very crowded farm cages. Did you know that sometimes the farmed salmon color is determined by the fish farmer? Depending what color the farmer wants his salmon to be, he can literally order a color from a chart and the feed manufacturer then calibrates the salmon’s diet accordingly and, presto, a ‘painted by numbers’ salmon! Farmed organic salmon is governed by strict guidelines set in place by Organic institutions such as The Soil Association. The fish is better looked after and the farms regularly inspected. Except for permitted antibiotics and pesticides the fish are largely left to naturally mature and being in larger cages they are a lot happier, healthier and fitter. The cages are also a lot further out to sea thus enabling fresh water to continually wash away the salmon effluence and of course making far better living conditions for the fish. If you are uncomfortable purchasing fish at your local market, thankfully, now that the internet has come into its own, it's never been easier to buy seafood online . There are many small, specialised companies where you can buy salmon and other fish products, most of which ship the items fresh in packaging that also includes dry ice and other methods of keeping the fish cold and fresh.
Modern science has provided evidence which suggests that fish consumption is an important part of a healthy diet because it can decrease the risk of coronary heart disease and certain cancers. Additional studies have provided exciting news about the benefits of Omega-3 oils for individuals with arthritis, psoriasis, ulcerative colitis, lupus erythematosus, asthma, and certain cancers. Research studies have consistently shown that Omega-3 fatty acids delay tumor appearance, and decrease the growth, size, and number of tumors.
Now that you have a lot of the information you need to know, I think salmon deserves a fair chance! If you'd like to know more about salmon, there are hundreds of online resources to assist you in furthering your knowledge.
Another thing that I love about this recipe is that it uses honey in the marinade, and then I also drizzle a little extra honey over the top of the fish before I eat it. The great thing about honey is that it really is a natural sweetener, and it raises your blood sugar slower than any other sweetener product. And, bonus, if you are sure to get the natural "raw" honey, it has an extra little bit of goodness inside... Raw honey contains a natural plant enzyme called amylase, which actually helps aid your body's digestion, especially the digestion of carbohydrates. It's actually a law in Germany that any honey produced for table consumption still has to have the plant enzyme amylase still intact, so if you can get some honey from there that would be even better! In a pinch, though, the American counterpart will do... ;-P Just be sure to ask your supplier if their product is "natural" or "raw" honey, making certain that it has gone through as little processing as necessary. And if you're able to go to Cranfest or anything like that, there are dozens of honey producers to choose from and they all have different varieties. I've gotten cranberry blossom, orange blossom, and regular clover blossom varietals and they are all good. Just make sure that the honey itself isn't actually infused with these flavors. You'll want to ask questions and be sure that the honey you're getting is simply from hives cultivated near an orange grove, cranberry bog, etc. It's generally only a mild difference in flavor, but you can usually always taste it. It's delicious! :-)

Printable Recipe

1 tsp. ground or freshly grated ginger
1 tsp. garlic powder or 2 pressed garlic cloves
⅓ c. soy sauce
⅓ c. orange juice
¼ c. honey
1 green onion, chopped
1 (1½-lb.) salmon fillet

In a large self-closing plastic bag, combine ginger, garlic, soy sauce, orange juice, honey, and green onion; mix well. Place salmon in bag and seal tightly. Turn bag gently to distribute marinade. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 5 hours; the longer you're able to marinate the fish, the more flavors will be imparted into the meat. You want to complement the natural flavor of the fish without also overpowering that flavor.
Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat and lightly oil grate.
Remove salmon from marinade, shake off excess, and discard remaining marinade. Grill for 12 to 15 minutes per inch of thickness, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. You can also try cooking the salmon on a wood plank for a little more flavor. Drizzle with additional honey. Makes 4 servings

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