You can thank the omega-3 in salmon for your lustrous hair, strong nails, and overall happy, healthy glowing appearance. Another thing you can be thankful for are the heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which through consuming two servings of salmon a week are linked to a reduction of cardiovascular disease related death and lower risk of heart attacks. Oh, and while we’re at it, you can also be thankful that all this is available in a lovely, delicately fresh, pink prize of a fish.
Anyway, back to appearances. Just as no two people are the same (they may both have sublimely shiny hair, but…I digress), the same is true for salmon. Individual pieces of salmon available at your fish or grocery store can vary widely in appearance, such as in colour, but that does not necessarily mean that one is any more superior than the other. There are five different types of Pacific salmon available by our shores. These are: king/chinook, sockeye/red, coho/silver, pink/humpback, and chum/keta.
Consider the king or chinook salmon an opera singer among pop stars – it is the more tasteful and expensive of the salmon varieties, less available, lush, silken, melt in your mouth flavour, and carries a bit more weight than its counterparts (this extra fatty fish weighs in from ten to even thirty pounds, making it a prize for fisherman).
Recently another fish from the chinook species (red spring) has begun to cause quite a stir due to its rich, oily, pure flavour, also described as slightly sweet, but more so because of its distinct white colour, named white spring/ ivory salmon. While ivory salmon is starting to shake the notion that the redder the salmon is, the better the quality, good luck getting your hands on some as 3-5% of all the spring catch will be white.
Sockeye has vibrant red-orange flesh that is a tad less fatty than chinook, but nonetheless full-flavoured, making it one of the most popular and favourite salmon types. The fattier chinook and sockeye salmon provide the most Omega-3s, but any type of salmon is still plentiful in the heart healthy fatty acid.
Come autumn, come coho. It has less fat than sockeye and chinook salmon, a deeply silver skin and is prized among gamefishers because of its agility and acrobatics. But its delicate flavour isn’t a shabby prize either.
Pink and chum salmon are widely fished and commercially popular, typically used in canned or frozen salmon products, more flakey and delicate, and less fattiness. The chum roe, however, is the most prized out of them all due to the size and flavour. You’ve more than likely come across it as the orange pearl shaped Ikura in sushi rolls when eating out.
On the other side, we have Atlantic salmon, which is lighter in colour than its pacific cousins and one that you are probably more familiar with. The flavour and texture is milder than the pacific varieties and it has a greater flake-factor, appealing to more people, making it popularly stocked in grocery stores.
When experimenting with salmon, remember there are plenty of fish in the sea. So be the big fish in a small pond, stop worrying about the little things because there are literally plenty of fish to fry. Have some friends over for salmon, fish for compliments, and… drink like fish.