Pronounce it: sam-on
With its delicate, sweet flesh and wide availability, salmon is one of the most popular fish. The widespread farming of salmon means there is a wide variety in the quality and flavour of the meat. Wild salmon, particularly that from Scottish or Irish rivers, is considered superior.
Choose the best
Check that the flesh is firm. Organic salmon should be pale pink in colour. Farmed salmon should be quite a bright pink but not too dark as this indicates it has had colour added. Discard any fish that is greyish or fatty. Organic salmon, by its nature, is always farmed. Look for Alaskan salmon that's been certified by the Marine Stewardship Council, or for the slightly hard to get hold of Swedish freshwater salmon.
Read about fish welfare and the environment in Charles Clover's book, The End of the Line.
Salmon can be cooked whole, but it might be wise to get your fishmonger to gut and scale the fish first. Check over for fin bones and pluck out with tweezers.
Refrigerate in an airtight container and use within 24 hours. Salmon can be frozen for up three months, but must be defrosted thoroughly before use.
Salmon can be eaten raw as sashimi or sushi (buy the freshest you can find), marinated with sugar and dill to make gravadlax poached, pan-fried, grilled, baked or braised.
Poached salmon is very popular and with good reason - it is delicious served both hot and cold and makes a great centrepiece for any festive occasion.
For more information on salmon see ingredient focus... salmon
Can't find it
Try gravadlax or trout