This dietitian has a confession to make: I have not been getting enough omega-3s. And to make matters worse, my Nutrigenomix genetic test revealed that my triglyceride levels can go up if my omega-3 intake is low. Triglycerides are fats circulating in your blood, and if the there are too many of them they can put you at risk for heart disease. There is heart disease in my family, so I need to be mindful of my risk factors and mitigate any that I can.
I grew up in a small town on the west coast of BC, so my childhood diet included a lot of fresh seafood: wild salmon (that my step-father caught and hot smoked in the carport) fresh prawns (or as Ontarians call them – shrimp), fresh Dungeness crab (The Keg serves these in early summer). I remember bringing hot smoked salmon sandwiches to school for lunch while everyone else had peanut butter or ham sandwiches.
I haven’t been eating much salmon over the past few years, and this isn’t just because I was living in the arctic until recently. I think I developed taste fatigue – I just got bored with the same old baked salmon I’d been making for years. Also, I wasn’t baking my salmon properly, as I’ve since learned, and so it often lacked that je ne sais quoi.
Even before my Nutrigenomix results came back, I had been trying to eat more salmon because I know how important omega-3s are for health. Sure, I regularly eat plant sources of omega-3s in the form of hemp hearts, ground flax, canola and olive oil. But the omega-3 in plants, called ALA, isn’t easily converted by the body into EPA and DHA, the two omega-3s that bestow the most anti-inflammatory benefits to the body.
So, in an effort to get more quality omega-3s, I set out to eat more salmon. But first I needed to overcome my flavour fatigue, so I started experimenting with new recipes and have had delicious results.
The five recipes below are ones I have made, enjoyed, and plan to eat regularly. Of course, there are other fatty fish that are high in omega-3s, like herring, mackerel, sardines, arctic char, and trout, but I’ve yet to explore some of these, particularly the former three. Guess I’ll put that on my to-do list to further diversify my omega-3 intake and manage my flavour fatigue.
If you’re not a pro at making a darn good simple baked salmon, I suggest checking out the blog Kitchn which has a great how-to that will give you excellent results.
2) Maple Mustard Salmon, by Michael Smith
Once you’ve mastered the basics, shake up that simple baked salmon with a little maple mustard concoction a la Michael Smith.
My modification: I simply spread the dressing on my salmon and cook in the oven as per the recipe by Kitchn.
3) Corn, Sweet Potato and Salmon Chowder, by Cookspiration
The first time I ate a truly good fish chowder, I was in a remote Inuvialuit community called Ulukhaktok. In this photo, I was leading a cooking circle with a group of women who were busy preparing local arctic char for the chowder we were making using their traditional knives called ulus (oo-loo). We had oatmeal bannock with the chowder and it was spectacular, not just because the food was good, but also because it was a rich cultural and historical eating experience.
My modification: I replaced the water with reduced sodium chicken broth and added more veg: celery, green beans, red pepper.
4) I’ve been eating pesto with shrimp lately, so I decided to replace the shrimp with salmon and it worked perfectly.
No recipe here. I use spaghettini, steamed asparagus, sauteed tomato and pepper, cooked salmon as per The Kitchn and mix it all with Stonewall Kitchen’s Basil Pesto.
5) Hot Smoked Salmon Sandwich, by KiddieliciousKitchen
This is a tweaked version of the smoked salmon sandwiches I grew up on. Dill is an excellent complement to salmon. Hot smoked salmon is smoked at a higher temperature so the final product is firmer, liked canned tuna. The smoked salmon we eat on bagels in restaurants is cold smoked.
My modification: replaced the creme fraiche with mayo and added a few slices of avocado.
I hope at least one of these recipes inspires you to get in the kitchen and explore the wonderful possibilities of salmon.
Check out my blog on my Nutrigenomix genetic test results HERE.
Thanks for reading!