Sport Caught vs. Farm-Raised
There’s really no comparison between fish that is for sale in stores and what you catch yourself. Self-caught salmon gets personal attention that is more careful and detailed than fish plant processing. The salmon should be properly cleaned, filleted and vacuum packed with special care. If this is done correctly, your salmon will keep its fresh taste for a long time when frozen. Plus, when you catch it yourself, you’ll be able to begin freezing just a few hours after pulling it out of the water, whereas store bought fish could take a lot longer to process.
There’s also a big difference between wild and farmed salmon. Although both are still delicious, farmed salmon taste a bit different and usually have higher fat content. Most store-bought salmon is from farmed fish, while the stuff you catch yourself are all wild salmon.
The problem with sport-caught salmon is that once you’ve experienced serving your own fish for dinner, you’ll never go back to picking up frozen salmon from the grocery store! You’ll fall in love with the fresh, full flavor and wonderful texture of your own salmon, meaning salmon fishing with the family may just have to become an annual tradition. Plus, putting on a beautiful dinner with a salmon you caught yourself is a great feeling and is something you can be proud of.
Cooking your Salmon and Halibut Right
Cooking your fish right is important and it’s easy to do it the wrong way. One of the biggest tricks is to not overcook, as it will dry the meat out! Check out the recipes below for a couple simple options to cook your catch. They’re quick, too! Just make sure that if the salmon is frozen, you pull it out of the freezer in advance and let it thaw in the fridge overnight, or have it sit packaged in cold water for the day. Then, when you’re ready to cook, the salmon is too!
Sweet and Tangy: If your salmon is frozen, thaw the fillets first by leaving them in the fridge overnight or letting them sit (packaged) in cold water. This marinade will be enough for around 2 pounds of salmon. Rinse your fillets and pat them down with a paper towel before rubbing lemon pepper, garlic powder and salt (to taste) onto both sides.
Combine 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup water, and 1/3 cup vegetable oil to make a marinade. Make sure the brown sugar dissolves, and then place your fillets into the marinade. You can use a pan or a sealed plastic bag to marinade in, just make sure that both sides of your fillets get marinade on them at some point. Allow your salmon to marinade for several hours in the refrigerator. To grill the salmon, let the grill warm to medium heat, then pull the fillets from the marinade and place them on the grill. Usually each side takes 6-8 minutes to cook. When salmon is done, it will flake apart, and Chinook and Coho will be a soft pink color. If you would rather cook the salmon in the oven, you can put the fillets into loosely wrapped foil “envelopes” and broil them for 12-17 minutes, depending on the size of the fillets.
Spicy: Thaw salmon if frozen, then rinse and pat fillets dry. Warm 2-3 tablespoons olive oil on medium heat. Combine garlic powder, onion powder, ground cayenne pepper, ground sweet paprika, black pepper and salt (all to taste, around ¼ tsp of each should be a good start). Rub the seasonings onto both sides of fillets. Once oil is hot, cook for 5-7 minutes on each side. The salmon will be done when it flakes easily with a fork. The outside of the salmon should be crispy and slightly brown.
** As a general suggestion, be careful not to overcook your salmon, as this will make it taste “fishy.” Also, there are many options for fish packaging, which will change the ways to cook your catch. Each species and size of fish has different packaging that will best bring out its unique flavors, whether candying, smoking, glazing or nothing at all!