The protein in salmon is easy for people to digest and absorb into their bodies. Salmon does not have cancer causing substances that some other protein sources do. These are proteins which are also referred to as ‘amino acids’ and are vital to the health of your entire body. Salmon’s main health benefit is that it is an excellent source of the good fat or Omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon is packed with vitamins and minerals: vitamins A, B and D as well as calcium, iron, phosphorus and selenium.
Those Omega-3 fatty acids help your brain work better and improve your memory. In combination with Vitamins A and D, amino acids and selenium, those Omega-3 acids also protect your nervous system from the deteriorating effects of aging. Alzheimer’s and Parkinson diseases are two of the biggest fears facing you as you age. The consumption of salmon has been shown to lower your risk of developing those diseases.
The above mentioned Omega-3 fatty acids in salmon will help lower your cholesterol. Usually the first thing doctors recommend after a heart attack is to lower your bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides levels. While salmon is lowering you bad cholesterol it is also raising your good cholesterol (HDL). Salmon can also help repair heart damage and strengthen the heart muscles. This superb fish also helps you lower your blood pressure and even prevent hardening of your arteries which will lessen your chances of having a heart attack.
If you want shiny hair, bright eyes and healthy skin, salmon consumption can help you achieve just that. Once more, all thanks to those Omega-3 fatty acids and selenium.
Here are four delicious recipes to encourage you to buy some salmon and cook something really good.
Norwegian smoked salmon on rye bread with avocado & peas
When you are after something filling and wholesome, eat like a Scandinavian and opt for an open-sandwich for your breakfast or lunch. This delicious, easy dish is packed full of nutrients and can be rustled up in no time.
4 slices of Norwegian smoked salmon
2 slices of rye bread
1 handful of freshly shelled peas
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 tbsp. of oil
Juice and zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the shelled peas in a bowl and add the finely chopped shallot.
Mix together the lemon zest and oil, then season to taste with a little salt and pepper.
Toss the peas and shallots in this dressing and set aside for about 30 minutes before you prepare the open sandwiches.
Slice open the avocado and cut segments to place on the rye bread. Fold the Norwegian smoked salmon on top of the avocado and then scatter the pea and shallot mixture on top of the salmon.
If you wish, garnish with fresh pea tips and shoots or herbs of your choice such as borage, parsley, chive or mint.
Roast salmon with beetroot, kale & pomegranate salad
Roasting a whole Norwegian salmon makes a spectacular festive feast for a dinner party.
For the roast salmon
1 whole Norwegian salmon (approx. 2 kg.), descaled, gutted and cleaned
75 g butter
2 small red onions, thinly sliced
2 unwaxed lemons, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
A bunch of fresh parsley
Herbamare (sea salt with herbs)
Salt and pepper
For the salad
2 kg beetroot
2 bunches of kale
2 pomegranates, shucked open and de-seeded (seeds placed in a bowl)
Preheat the oven to 150oC. You will need an oven large enough to place the beetroot on one level and the salmon on another. Alternatively, you can choose to cook the beetroot first and then follow this with the salmon if your oven has less capacity.
You will need two long sheets of extra-strong aluminium foil a roasting tray. Butter both sheets to avoid the fish sticking. Place one sheet on top of the roasting tray and season with herbamare and pepper.
Wipe the salmon dry and make three incisions into each side of the salmon. Stuff all six incisions with a piece of red onion, lemon, fresh parsley and carrot.
Close the salmon and sprinkle with a little lemon juice to taste.
Place the second sheet of foil on top of the salmon and crimp the edges inwards to create a parcel. Once sealed, place the salmon in the oven and roast for 1 ½ - 2 hours.
For the beetroot, kale and pomegranate salad, scrub the beetroot clean and trim off any gnarly bits. Place them in a roasting tin or ceramic dish and pour boiling hot water over them until the beetroot is half submerged.
Season the water with a generous amount of salt and pepper and cover with aluminium foil, making sure that the foil is sealed tightly.
Place in the oven to roast. Allow 20 minutes for small beetroot and 40 minutes for really large ones before removing them from the oven. Carefully unwrap the foil and turn all the beetroot so they cook evenly. Replace the foil lid and place back in the oven to roast for the same times given above.
Once the beetroot is cooked, remove from oven and gently remove the foil. Allow to cool slightly and drain off the cooking liquid. Using gloves, peel the skin off the beetroot while they’re warm. If there are any gritty bits or bits of skin still attached to the vegetables, rinse gently under cold water and peel off.
Slice the beetroot into quarters and place them in a bowl along with the juice and zest of both lemons.
Finely chop the kale and add this to the beetroot along with the pomegranate seeds. Toss together, cover and set aside until the salmon is ready to be served.
Once the salmon is cooked and ready to serve, remove the top foil from the roasting tray and simply move a whole fish onto a presentation plate or board to place at the centre of the table.
To serve, gently scrape off the skin (and assorted cooked vegetables from the incisions) and start portioning up the fish. Serve along with the salad and buttered new potatoes.
Norwegian salmon, fennel and pearled spelt salad
This great summertime salad can be rustled up with last night’s cooked Norwegian salmon and leftover vegetables or made fresh on the day. This vibrant, pretty salad is perfect for picnics and lazy evenings spent outdoors, soaking up the summer warmth and sun. Of course, nothing’s wrong if you eat this salad inside, while it’s winter, counting the days to the glorious summertime.
Serves 4 (or more if serving this salad as a side dish only)
400g of cooked Norwegian salmon
200g pearled spelt
1 large or 2 smaller fennels
A large bunch of radishes
1 handful of cooked green beans
1 tsp of horseradish sauce
1 tsp of mustard
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
100ml of vegetable oil, such as rapeseed or olive
Season the Norwegian salmon generously with salt and pepper and roast in the oven at 200oC for 20 minutes or until the salmon is cooked through.
Sprinkle with the juice and zest and set aside to cool.
Follow the cooking instructions on the pearled spelt packet, making sure to season the water with a spoonful of salt. Cook al dente and drain off any excess water. Allow to cool whilst you prepare the remainder of the salad.
Finely slice the fennel and place in a bowl along with halved or quartered radishes and sliced, cooked green beans.
Make a horseradish and mustard dressing with the remaining ingredients, season to taste and toss the fennel, radishes and green beans in this.
Add to the pearled spelt and toss together to distribute the ingredients. Flake the salmon into bite-size chunks and gently scatter through the salad – be careful, as if you mix too harshly, the salmon will flake too much.
Serve with wedges of lemon or a dollop of crème fraiche and some fresh herbs of your choice.
Norwegian salmon and prawn winter warmer chowder
Norwegian salmon lends itself really well to this comforting fiskesuppe (fish soup). As Signe says, in Norway people always have some flat or crisp-bread with this chowder-style soup and nothings hits the spot quite like a bowl of this on a chilly winter’s day.
For the chowder base
200g Norwegian cold water cooked prawns, shells left on
1 small onion, finely diced
1 large carrot, finely diced
1 small fennel, finely diced
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 bay leaf
2 litres fish stock
2 star anise
2 parsley stalks
2 threads saffron
5 allspice berries
For the soup
500g Norwegian salmon, sliced into bite-size chunks
300g cooked new potatoes, sliced in half
300g double cream
100ml cooking brandy
1 large leek, thinly sliced
Chives for garnish
300ml crème fraiche to garnish at the end (optional)
Salmon roe to garnish
Start by making the chowder base. Sauté the onion, carrot and fennel in a skillet or frying pan over a low heat until soft and translucent. This should take about 5-10 minutes depending on the pan.
Peel the prawns and keep the shells, adding the latter to the pan with the sautéed vegetables and fry for about 5 minutes (keep the prawns to one side to add as garnish to the chowder).
Transfer this mixture over to a medium-large saucepan along with the fish stock, allspice berries, star anise, parsley stalks, bay leaf and saffron. Simmer for 30 minutes until the stock turns a pale orange from the shells and saffron and then sieve the stock into a slightly smaller saucepan. Throw away the prawn shells and other flavourings.
Flambé the brandy or cook off the alcohol in a small saucepan and add this to the stock. Boil this soup base until it has reduced by half; if the base tastes bland at this stage, keep reducing until the flavour takes on a concentrated seafood note. Every fish stock is different, so judge by your taste.
Meanwhile, sauté the leek in a little butter until soft and add to the stock along with the double cream. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add all the salmon. Allow to cook for a further 3-5 minutes until the fish is pale pink and opaque.
Adjust the seasoning if necessary then add the cooked, sliced new potatoes, the prawns and serve warm with a chive, fennel frond and salmon roe garnish. Rue bread complements this tasty chowder perfectly and a dollop of crème fraiche is an indulgent optional topping.
Enjoy! Or, as Norwegians would say, Vær så god!
By Toma Sukyte - for Female First