Foodie Friday: Health and Environmental Issues of Salmon

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The planet Earth produces more food than ever before.  Tremendous advances in food sciences have lead a higher percentage of our planets population to be fed than in any time in the modern era.  No person is more responsible for this than one of my personal heroes, Norman Borlaug.  It is estimated that the advancements he created saved over a BILLION lives.  Yet to this day he and his techniques are widely criticized.

I mention Dr Borlaug for two reasons.  First, I feel he is someone everyone should know about.  Second, in a time of unprecedented food abundance we are supposed to feel guilty about eating more of it than ever before.  All food does come with an environmental cost.  Even people who may not be willing to avoid meat entirely are more concerned with the environmental impact of what they do eat.  I have never considered myself a food alarmist, but I do have three items I avoid: bar olives, gulf oysters, and farm raised salmon.

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Foodie Fridays: Salmon Species

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Salmon is one of the least understood items on most restaurant menus.  Servers are often unaware of what type of salmon is served out of their kitchen.  Even more commonly servers are unaware of the unique selling points of the species they offer.  This is problematic because premium salmon can warrant a premium price.  It is the responsibility of a great server to be able to explain the benefits of the salmon they serve to be able to justify the premium price in the minds of their guests.

Last week’s post on wild caught versus farm-raised salmon provides a good background for understanding this post.  Rather than trying to list every type of salmon, I will focus on the species most commonly caught and served in North America.  Want to know about a different species or name?  Leave a comment below.

Here are the four most common types of salmon you may encounter:

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Foodie Friday: Salmon Basics

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I spent most of my life disliking the flavor of salmon.  Growing up most of the salmon I ate came from a can and was served in “patty” form.  As I worked in casual dining restaurants I would occasionally try the salmon dishes only to be turned off by the lingering flavors it would leave with me.  It was not until working at an upscale seafood restaurant that I learned what good salmon tasted like.  This is the equivalent of someone disliking beef based upon the experience with $2 steaks.

Very few proteins vary as much in flavor as salmon.  The difference in taste between imported farm-raised salmon and wild caught Alaskan King salmon is as wide as the difference between Boone’s Farm and Moet Chandon.  Knowing what type of salmon to order in a restaurant is the key to a guest’s enjoyment of a salmon dish.  Knowing the differences between them and which to recommend is the job of a great server.  Basic salmon knowledge is vital to every server dealing with seafood on his or her menu.

Read the full post at Foodie Knowledge

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