Cooking the perfect salmon requires balancing the buying, storing, and preparation process.
If you fall behind at any stage, you might not get the perfect pink salmon. If you are wondering how to cook pink salmon, the answer might not be as hard as you think.
Here’s an easy guide to the best pink salmon you’ll ever make;
How to Cook Pink Salmon?
A perfectly cooked pink salmon is the perfect dish to invest in.
It makes for a fulfilling meal and is packed with healthy fats, which boosts heart health.
Salmon can be a tasty treat for lunch or dinner and can be used in different salads or main courses.
One must first buy the right pink salmon to cook the perfect pink salmon. Here’s a guide to the kinds of pink salmon you should buy (and ones you shouldn’t).
1. Buy the Right Salmon
People love their salmon, and so do doctors.
The FDA recommends that children eat at least 8 ounces of seafood weekly (1). Fish can encourage growth and contains omega-3 fats, which are great for development.
However, some kinds of salmon are better than others, and it is important to differentiate the good from the bad.
A) Wild is Better than Farmed
Ensure that the pink salmon you bring home is wild and not farmed.
It might be hard to source wild salmon since fishing for wild salmon is banned in some areas, making it scarce. Yet, farming salmon might not be the best idea.
Many environmental groups have recently protested against farmed salmon.
This is because the way farmed fish are treated isn’t beneficial for our health or the safety of the fish. Farmed fish might be infected with many diseases since these fish live in crowded areas.
The disease can be transferred to wild salmon too.
Wild salmon also carried much fewer PCBs and toxins than farmed salmon. This makes it a better choice for children and pregnant women.
B) Fresh Isn’t Always the Best Choice
Not everyone can afford to buy fresh pink salmon anytime they want to cook some fish.
Moreover, fresh salmon can be hard to find if you don’t live nearby. Fresh salmon also depends on the season.
Since most fish is flash frozen anyways, buying frozen fish or relying on the canned type isn’t a bad bet. However, it is important to read the labels whenever you order salmon online or invest in canned salmon.
C) Why Buy Pink Salmon?
You might be wondering which type of salmon to buy.
There are various colors and types to choose from, which may confuse many people.
It is best to depend on the kind of fish most abundant in supply. Pink salmon are easily sourced, which makes them the most affordable kind of salmon. This salmon also contains less oil, is much leaner, and has a milder taste. Pink salmon is loved for its soft texture.
Pink salmon provides all the benefits of other salmon without the trouble.
The next step to answering “how to cook pink salmon” is the storage process;
2. Store it Properly
The storage process is a crucial step in salmon preparation and handling.
It can make or break your pink salmon dish. Improper storage can lead to the fish going bad or crumbling when cooked.
Here are some storage tips approved by the FDA (2);
A) The Refrigeration
A fish needs to be refrigerated properly. It is recommended that your pink salmon be stored in temperatures between 0 to 4 degrees Celsius.
B) The Timeline
How long can you store pink salmon before it goes bad?
Fresh salmon can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days. For packaged fresh salmon, flash frozen salmon, or smoked salmon, refer to the instructions on the package.
Stored salmon can last a long time.
However, once exposed to air, the salmon will start to deteriorate.
C) How to Store Salmon?
If you want to store your salmon and elongate its life, investing in Ziploc bags or airtight containers is best.
Once the airtight bags are frozen, salmon can last up to three months in the freezer. Some kinds of salmon cannot be frozen, so it is best to follow the instructions attached to the package.
D) How to Use Frozen Salmon?
Transfer your frozen salmon to the refrigerator. After 8 hours, it can be removed and thawed at room temperature.
Here’s how to cook pink salmon the right way;
3. Prepare Salmon the Right Way
The preparation process is a source of great confusion for many fish lovers.
How long to cook the fish, how much heat to expose it to, and what method to use are some questions you might be typing in your search bar.
A) The Basics
Pink salmon needs to be cooked carefully.
Since pink salmon are smaller fish, they contain tiny bones that need to be removed before the fish is consumed. Run a finger down the left part of the fish and pull out the bone each time you feel a hard part poking your finger.
B) Baking Pink Salmon
The best way to cook pink salmon is to bake it in the oven.
The oven must be preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit before you start baking the fish.
Prepare the fish by lining a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Brush the sheet lightly with oil and place the pink salmon on top. Season the salmon with any seasoning you desire (the lesser the seasoning, the more the taste).
Remember to season the salmon with salt, pepper, and oil before adding it to the oven. Bake it for up to 20 minutes or until the fish is cooked.
Try to keep the fish slightly undercooked, as that will bring out the freshness of the pink salmon.
C) Grilling Pink Salmon
This follows much of the same idea and technique.
It is important to maintain a certain temperature, and undercooking a salmon piece is much better than overcooking it.
Grilling the pink salmon will give you that crunchy skin that has soaked up much of the oil and seasoning.
It is an absolute delight for the tastebuds. Add olive oil to your pan and fish.
Remember, too much olive oil can sear your fish, so use a brush and add a thin layer. Season the fish with some salt and pepper and cook both sides for 4-5 minutes or until cooked throughout.
D) Using the Pan
You can use your pan for cooking salmon if you don’t own a grill or skillet.
However, it is important to add some flavor to the fish by adding oil, garlic, lemon juice, and some thyme to the pan along with the fish. Let it soak up the flavors before removing it from the pan (you can douse it with spoonfuls of oil).
E) Raw Pink Salmon
Pink salmon is often used in different kinds of sushi.
If you want to consume pink salmon, you don’t need to cook it. You can consume it raw. Ensure that the salmon you buy is fresh to avoid food poisoning.
Check also How Undercooked Salmon Look Like, Is Salmon Easy to Digest and How to Tell if Sausage is Cooked
Cooking Pink Salmon FAQs
Here are some questions salmon lovers usually ask when handling pink salmon;
1. How do I know when salmon is cooked?
Salmon changes color when it is cooked. Pink salmon is usually a darker shade of pink when uncooked.
Frying it on the grill or pan will lead to a lighter color.
As a rule of thumb, cook your salmon for up to five minutes before checking the color of the salmon.
Your salmon may always be a dark pink on the inside.
This means that it is fresh. Overcooking might rob it of its taste. Another great way to test a piece of salmon is by touching it and noticing if the thicker part bounces back. This means the fish is ready.
2. Does freezing salmon keep it fresh?
You can consume your salmon for up to 3 months after freezing it in the freezer.
Thaw it right before cooking it to avoid illness. A great way to avoid consuming spoiled fish is to label the fish you store.
3. Can I eat leftover fish?
Leftovers can be eaten for up to 4 days.
If your fish has been stored for more than that, discard it immediately. If you want your marinated or cooked fish to last longer, add them to a Ziploc bag and an airtight container and freeze it to last up to 3 months.
Pink salmon can be easy to cook. However, some rules are great for preventing poisoning and enhancing flavor.
When stored well, pink salmon can stay fresh for a long time, resulting in a flavorful meal that is a beautiful addition to the dinner table.