Isn’t it great when what you like to do, turns out be good for you, too? That is the case with my dad’s love for fishing. We grew up fishing for wild trout and char in the pristine mountainous streams around my home in the Dolomites. It was a great father-daughter bonding experience, instilled in me a love for eating fresh fish but also thought me the importance of clean water-ways. It didn’t take long for my father to expand his fishing horizons and, when given the opportunity to go to Alaska and fish for real salmon, he jumped on it and is still going on a regular pilgrimage to the untouched rivers, lakes and estuaries of Alaska bringing home his share of fresh, healthy, and super tasty salmon. Maybe that is the fountain of youth for my parents! Come and cook some fish with us!
What makes the salmon so incredibly good for them is the omega 3 polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) that salmon is packed with. Yes, you can get plant-based PUFA from flax, chia, pumpkin and hemp seeds as well as walnuts and sea vegetables, but nothing trumps the Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) of cod liver oil, wild salmon, anchovies, sardines and other fatty fish. All these fats are essential to brain development and seem to influence mood and behavior. They are also food for your joints, skin, vision, heart, help lower bad cholesterol levels and even boost fertility.
While it might be easier – and way cheaper – to pop an omega-3 pill, fresh fish is the best option, at least while we can still afford to buy it! There are plenty of choices when you go to the fish monger. Usually, what’s fresh is best but it is also worth asking if the fish has been farmed or caught sustainably in the wild. The Monterey Aquarium has a very good website (www.seafoodwatch.org) that gives you guidance on what type of fish is best. My rule of thumb is that I’d rather have my family eat smaller portions, but higher quality, than go for the value buy. Like with everything else, I really feel that when it comes to fish (and meat, for that matter, too), you really eat what you pay for!
My dad’s wild Alaskan salmon can be prepared on the grill, baked in the oven or steamed on the stove. It’s wonderful taste goes well with lots of different finishes. Our current favorite way to eat it is on a bed of tomatoes and olives. It is divine! The hardest part of cooking fish is to watch out for over-cooking, as that will release the juices from the meat, making it hard and dry. So keep your eye on the fish and as soon as it has turned opaque and can easily be pulled apart with a fork, dinner’s ready! Come and cook with us!