We love salmon for its protein-rich versatility at every meal. Think lox for breakfast, salmon burgers for lunch, or baked salmon for dinner. We also love the heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids that give it a rich mouthfeel.

But before we get to our favorite salmon recipes, let’s appreciate the fact that this “everyday” fish is unique: Both Atlantic and Pacific varietals of salmon are euryhaline — meaning they live in both fresh and ocean waters.

Salmon begin their life cycle in freshwater streams, then journey hundreds of miles to the ocean once they mature. Throughout the year, all six species of North American wild adult salmon — five Pacific and one Atlantic — “run” or migrate from oceans back to rivers to reproduce. During their migration, Pacific salmon are prime for catching.

Farmed Atlantic salmon vs. wild Pacific salmon

Due to overfishing and habitat destruction, Atlantic salmon are a protected species and are always sold commercially as “farmed” (bred and raised in a fishery). While salmon farmers claim farming is a sustainable method for supplying consumers with Atlantic salmon, the taste, texture, color, and health benefits of wild salmon are far superior. Salmon breeds hailing from the icy waters of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, such as Coho, Pink, Alaska, Chum, Sockeye, and “King” (Chinook), are lower in calories, higher in calcium, zinc, and potassium, and contain higher doses of a naturally occurring antioxidant called astaxanthin from their wild ocean diet than their farmed Atlantic counterparts.

Salmon “tidbits”

When sourcing excellent quality wild salmon, it helps to know these salmon-eating “tidbits.”

First, the layer of gray flesh under wild salmon’s skin is a protective layer of fat that tastes sublime and is a rich source of omega-3s fatty acids. Also, canned salmon with skin and bones that are soft and safe to eat, allows you to reap the benefits of calcium-rich nutrients, and enjoy every bite. And freshly caught, individually portioned flash-frozen fillets offer recipe-ready convenience and contain all the benefits of fresh salmon.

We think salmon is a winner at every meal. Here are 10 salmon recipes to show how “wild” we are about it!

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Theresa Gambacorta is a freelance food writer, a veteran of New York City restaurants, and cookbook co-author to chef Joey Campanaro's Big Love Cooking (Chronicle) and James Beard-nominated chef Nasim Alikhani's Sofreh: A Contemporary Approach to Classic Persian Cuisine (Knopf). She is currently working on a forthcoming vegan cookbook to be published by Simon Element.

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