Salmon has earned a permanent spot on the superfoods list thanks to its high levels of omega-3 fatty acid—a type of good-for-you fat that has a long list of health benefits going for it. Where to begin: Omega-3s may help reduce inflammation throughout the body. They have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and type-2 diabetes, lower bad cholesterol, decrease triglycerides, and help lower blood pressure.  

Salmon contains numerous compounds that likely contribute to its health benefits.  For example, it is one of the best food sources of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids (second only to chia seeds). Diets high in omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to a reduced risk of cardiac and sudden death, and a reduced risk of all-cause mortality.  Astaxanthin, the carotenoid that gives salmon its signature pink color, helps reduce the risk of heart disease by reducing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and increasing HDL (good) cholesterol.

On top of all that, research has found that they also help keep your brain sharp as you age and could ease arthritis pain. And it’s not just the omega-3s in salmon that are good for you; researchers now believe that it’s the combination of omega-3s and other nutrients that account for salmon’s many healthy attributes. Best of all, you can reap those rewards by simply eating a 3-ounce portion of salmon, which packs nearly 2 grams of omega-3s, twice a week. 

The salmon available in fish markets and grocery stores usually falls into two main categories: wild and farmed. Wild salmon tends to have fewer calories overall, while farmed salmon may have more fat. Be sure to choose salmon steaks or fillets that are firm and have been kept well chilled.

How to Serve It Up

Smoked salmon. Smoked salmon, sometimes called “cured salmon” or “lox,” can be found in the refrigerated section of the supermarket. It is ready to eat out of the package. Try pieces of smoked salmon in some scrambled eggs for breakfast. For lunch of dinner, toss smoked salmon with pasta and roasted vegetables—a dish that’s great hot or cold.

Pan roasted. Cooking salmon in a hot pan with a little vegetable oil can achieve a crispy outside without the extra calories of deep-frying. Cook the fish over medium-high heat for about four minutes per side, or until it is no longer translucent. It’s ready to eat as-is or try it in a fish taco. If there are any leftovers, simply roll them into a whole grain wrap along with some salad greens for a quick and tasty lunch.

Baked. Try rubbing salmon with your favorite herbs or spices, then wrapping it in tinfoil to create a pouch. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes in a 400-degree F oven until the fish is cooked through and flaky but not dry. Serve it alongside steamed or grilled vegetables, or atop a no-fuss brown rice or whole grain couscous.

Poached. Poaching salmon is a great way to cook up the fish and keep it tender and moist. Don’t be afraid to play around with the poaching liquid, whether it’s water or broth—or a combination. Heat the liquid in a wide pan on the stove until just boiling, then add pieces of salmon and reduce to a simmer over medium heat. Add fresh herbs or garlic for extra flavor. Cook until the fish is opaque (about 15 minutes). 

There are very few side dishes that don’t go with salmon—we like the simple flavors of sautéed kale and roasted Brussels sprouts. It also pairs well with side dishes like asparagus, roasted broccoli, and lemon-herb couscous.

To celebrate this superfood ingredient, here is a delicious recipe so you can enjoy all of the great benefits salmon has to offer!

Screen Shot 2022-11-11 at 4.00.52 PMPan-Seared Salmon Burger

INGREDIENTS
Yield: 10 servings

  • 4 pounds skinless, boneless salmon
  • 5 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 shallots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2.5 cup coarse bread crumbs
  • 2.5 tablespoon capers, drained
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 4.5 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • Lemon wedges
  • Tabasco sauce

PREPARATION

Step 1

Cut the salmon into large chunks and put about a quarter of it into the container of a food processor, along with the mustard. Turn the machine on, and let it run — stopping to scrape down the sides if necessary — until the mixture becomes pasty.

Step 2

Add the shallots and the remaining salmon and pulse the machine on and off until the fish is chopped and well combined with the puree. No piece should be larger than a ¼ inch or so; be careful not make the mixture too fine.

Step 3

Scrape the mixture into a bowl, and by hand, stir in the breadcrumbs, capers and some salt and pepper. Shape into ten burgers. (You can cover and refrigerate the burgers for a few hours at this point.)

Step 4

Place the butter or oil on a flat top griddle and turn the heat to medium-high. When the butter foam subsides or the oil is hot, cook the burgers for 2 to 3 minutes a side, turning once. Let them firm up on the first side, grilling about 4 minutes, before turning over and finishing for just another minute or two. To check for doneness, insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the patty. The internal temperature should be 165.  Be careful not to overcook.

Serve on a bed of greens or on buns or by themselves, with lemon wedges and Tabasco or any dressing you like.

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