The skinny on salmon

Chinook, coho, sockeye, pink, and Atlantic. These are just five of the most well-known types of salmon found in the seafood section of your grocery store.

This fish's popularity can be attributed to its health benefits: It's got high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins B12 and B6, and calcium, as well as relatively low amounts of mercury. Salmon is also a versatile fish-you can grill, fry, poach, bake, roast, or sauté it. Its mild flavor lets other ingredients shine, and if you want the fish itself to shine, all it needs is some olive oil, salt, pepper, and fresh lemon juice. As with all fish, one telltale sign of freshness is its odor; if it lacks a fishy smell, it's fresh. And if you're looking for inexpensive caviar, try salmon roe. The egg's large, bright red-orange hue adds pizzazz to a dish.

Watch how to bone and poach a fish with our technique videos.

Recipe Tips:

Smokin' Hot
If you plan on smoking your own salmon fillets-steaks, while not impossible, will take much longer and may not cook as evenly-and are purchasing the wood planks from a housewares store, make sure that the planks are not chemically treated. Let the planks soak in water for at least one hour before placing the plank and the fish on your heat source. Besides cedar planks, try other hard woods, such as apple or alder, for a different flavor.

It's All in the Name
Lox, nova salmon, gravlax, kippered. It can get a little confusing with all the different types of cured salmon. Here's a quick tutorial. Kippered means the salmon has been brined and then baked. Lox is salmon that's been brined but not smoked. Nova used to refer specifically to the Nova Scotia Atlantic salmon, which was brined and cold-smoked. Nowadays it is used as a more general term for any cured salmon. Scottish- and Irish-smoked fish are dry-cured before being cold-smoked. Gravlax is salmon that's been dry-cured with no smoking.

Born to Be Wild
Look for wild salmon, the kind that isn't farm-raised. It will cost a bit more, but should be leaner and tastier and will probably have fewer traceable chemicals. If the cost is prohibitive, look for canned salmon, almost all of which comes from wild salmon. For more information on farmed and wild salmon, visit and Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch.



Simple Poached Salmon

Poached Sockeye Salmon with Mustard Herb Sauce

Cold Poached Salmon with Red Bell Pepper and Parsley Salsa

Poached Ginger Salmon Steaks


Smoked Salmon Pizza

Smoked Salmon Chowder

Smoked Salmon and Leek Scramble with Meyer Lemon Creme Fraiche

Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Ribbon Salad with Caraway

Grilled, Roasted, and Rubbed

Grilled Salmon Steaks with Lime Butter

Grilled Salmon with Tomato, Cucumber and Caper Salsa

Grilled Salmon with Crunchy Sweet Mustard Vinaigrette

Javanese Roasted Salmon and Wilted Spinach

Roasted Salmon with Cranberry-Mustard Sauce

Chili and Sage-Rubbed Salmon


Deviled Eggs with Sour Cream, Chives, and Salmon Roe

Salmon Roe Omelets with Scallion Potatoes

Salmon Consomme with Creme Fraiche and Salmon Caviar

Lemon Fettuccine with Asparagus and Salmon Caviar

Esther Sung first joined in 2006. Prior to this, she spent several years in book publishing, including at Harper Entertainment, where the proverbial three-martini lunch was sadly nowhere to be found. When not in the office, she moonlights at the Bottle Shoppe in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and through this she has developed a fondness for Syrah and Malbec. A quasi-vegetarian, she admits to having relished eating yuk hwe, a Korean raw beef dish.