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Salmon and Wine are Simply Meant to Be Together


Salmon are perhaps the most visually striking of the world’s fish. Sleek and silvery, they are aquatic vertebrates of grace and beauty with buttery and succulent flesh. It’s no wonder that foodies have long considered salmon as one of the ocean’s great natural delicacies.

As its name implies, it’s neither red-fleshed nor white, making it an exceptionally accommodating wine companion. Depending on the preparation, salmon dishes can be paired with a spectrum of wines, including Champagne, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

I have been cooking salmon for 25 years and I must have 100 plus recipes for it in my head. While there are several factors that can affect what wine goes best with salmon, you can’t go wrong if you choose a bottle that stands up to the strong flavor of the fish without overpowering it.

Salmon, unlike most foods, has the uncanny ability to be matched to wine by texture — either complementary or in counterpoint — as well as by its saucing.

Salmon also lends itself to assertive adornments. Bright, acidic sauces – those made with lemon, capers, tomatoes and fruit – work well because they cut through some of the fish’s inherent richness. Salmon’s luxuriant qualities can be heightened with marinades and sauces that include brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, hot peppers and sesame oil that enhances salmon without overwhelming its intrinsic flavor. Cooking methods broaden its range – it can be served smoked, poached, grilled, steamed or baked, the list of possibilities for salmon is quite long.


Personal Preference
Wine pairings are also a matter of personal preference. While a certain white wine may be best suited to your meal, you may prefer to drink red wines. Your taste preferences are just as important as any other factor.

If you like your everyday red or white wine, don’t worry about trying to match the food you are eating with that particular wine. What matters most is that you like how your wine tastes. Not every meal requires the perfect match with a wine. With a little research, you can find a wine you love that is perfect for your meal.

Wine Recommendations for Salmon
Depending on the flavors of your meal, one of these wines could be an excellent choice:

Chardonnay Pair this richer white wine with buttered salmon. Chardonnay is a full-bodied wine that is full of flavor. A plain white fish would be completely overshadowed by this powerful white wine, but when served with buttered salmon, the Chardonnay only further complements the creamy flavor of the fish, making it one of the best wine pairings for salmon.

Riesling ths crisp, acidic wine pairs best with the richer flavor of salmon. A good Riesling will also give off a citrus lime flavor that complements salmon. It also pairs well with spicier cuisine, so if you want to try cooking up a more exotic-flavored salmon recipe you might want to pair the concoction with a glass of Riesling.

Pinot Grigio is wonderful with most seafood, including salmon. This light white wine is best with salmon that doesn’t have a strong sauce, and it is excellent with lemon-based sauces. This white wine carries a more succulent flavor like the Riesling with hints of pear and peach. Pinot Grigio is a full-bodied wine that could overpower white fish or shellfish but pairs very well with salmon, particularly smoked salmon. It also goes well with various side dishes.

Sauvignon Blanc is also a great white wine for lighter salmon dishes. It’s important to choose a bottle that is not too fruity. This wine goes well with a number of different entrees, since it is light, refreshing and a bit acidic. The combined aromas of Sauvignon Blanc can bring out the taste of lemon-flavored salmon quite well. It also pairs well with sushi.

Pinot Noir is a great choice if you love red wine. It’s especially excellent with salmon prepared on the grill, and it can hold up to the strong flavor of this fish. This is one of the lighter red wines, so it pairs extremely well with foods like salmon. It is often too heavy for white fish and too light for red meat, but salmon finds the perfect balance when paired with this wine. A Pinot Noir served with herb-grilled salmon will taste especially flavorful.

Zinfandel is very good with blackened or grilled salmon. Look for a bottle that is somewhat fruity and not too dry. This medium-bodied wine displays classic varietal character with a fresh berry aroma and a hint of black pepper. The flavors are bright and juicy, with a zesty spiciness. Pairs beautifully with salmon.

Too often wine can intimidate us. Part of this is due to the tremendous number of choices that exist and part of it is due to the tendency to make wine too precious.

Wine is meant to be enjoyed with food.

Hopefully the above will be useful to you as a guide. It comes down your own choice and preferences. Drink what you like, it’s part of the joy of pairing food and wine!



What type of wine do you serve with Alaskan salmon?

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Why is wild caught Alaska salmon so fantastic?

Because Alaska is fish country and salmon is probably the world’s most heart healthy source of protein.  Wild caught salmon swim naturally and grow freely in the pristine icy clear waters off Alaska’s rugged coastline.  They feed on their natural diet of marine organisms, giving them a superior flavor and texture that is prized by the whole world.  Effective state and federal regulations manage fisheries that are productive and sustainable, clean and healthy.  Alaska is the only State in the nation whose Constitution explicitly mandates that all fish, including salmon, shall be utilized, developed and maintained on the sustainable yield principle.  Alaska’s waters are the cleanest in the world and has strict regulations governing development activities.  Clean marine habitats produce pure seafood products.

Wild salmon is rich in long-chain Omega-3 essential fatty acids – the most beneficial kind – which studies show to protect heart health, inhibit inflammation in joints, decrease body fat, stabilizes blood sugar levels, acts as a natural anti-depressent, increases feelings of well being, and…the part I love…keeps the skin young, supple, radiant and wrinkle free.  The Omega-3s provide nourishment to hair follicles helping hair grow healthy and the high protein content of salmon helps to maintain strong, healthy hair and nails.  More on that at a later date.  Salmon is low in calories and is one of the healthiest fish available for consumption.  Some of the health benefits are just now being discovered on the leading edge of science and nutrition.    

Alaska salmon are free of antibiotics, pesticides, growth hormones and artificial coloring agents.  These salmon are among the purest fish you will find anywhere.

I once heard salmon being referred to as  “Steak of the Sea”  because it is one of the heartiest fish you can eat.  Wild caught Alaska salmon taste good and is good for you.

Youv’e heard all about those miraculous Omega-3 fatty acids.  You’ve read studies which detail how eating it on a regular basis can reduce your levels of bad cholesterol and aid in boosting your immune system.  You don’t eat the dreaded farmed raised salmon.  So, the question is, have you started eating more Wild salmon?

What if you are a busy mother with two children, no four children who wishes they did eat more salmon, but simply are just too busy?  Here comes canned salmon to the rescue!

Canned salmon is the perfect treat, allows you to serve wild salmon year round and has all the nutrients as salmon fillets and salmon steaks.  It’s the perfect solution for a busy household.  It’s a no brainer, because it’s easy to prepare, healthy, tasty and good for our environment.  Canned salmon is a healthy food choice your whole family will love.

You won’t have a problem adding salmon to your diet, since there are hundreds of ways to enjoy this healthy super-food. Try it grilled, baked, in your pasta, with a salad, in a soup, or simply open a jar or can with a side of blueberries.

What is your go to Wild caught salmon recipe?

Best Fishes!  LaDonna Rose








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Why Friends Don’t Let Friends Eat Farmed Salmon

On a trip to NYC this past Christmas, I was invited to be a guest on Martha Stewart Living Radio to talk about my new cookbook Salmon, Desserts & Friends. It was such a wonderful opportunity and I was over the top happy they wanted little ol’ me!

Eagerly waiting in the lobby of the Serious Satellite Radio Station with Ole and a dear friend of ours Laurel Lindahl, I was excited about sharing with the world the wonderful benefits of wild Alaska salmon. I wasn’t too worried about the interview, after all I have been catching, cooking and eating wild salmon for 24 years. Ole laughed saying “what could possibly go wrong in 30 minutes.”

I’m up! The producer led us down a long hall. On one side was windows from floor to ceiling and on the other side was individual studios. The view from the 39th floor over looked parts of the city and was amazing! I literally heard my heart pumping as the door opened into the studio. It was small and dark with two windows and lots of equipment. My interviewer Chris had his back into the corner of the room and I sat in a tall chair facing him. While on a break, they helped me with my headphones, chatted with me a little bit and made me feel very comfortable.








We went live on the radio!

Thumbing through his copy of my cookbook Salmon, Desserts & Friends, we started talking about different ways to prepare wild salmon and fishing in Alaska. The phone lines lit up rather quickly, I thought. A woman from Florida called in and expressed her love for wild salmon. She was completely aware of farmed Atlantic salmon and said she would never eat it. We had a wonderful visit and I shared with her one of my quick and easy recipes.

Easy Salmon and Cheddar Strata. Page 35

The phone lines were packed so we went on with the next caller. All wanting to know more about the differences between wild and farmed salmon.

Now, those of you that know me, know my passion for the subject and in fact could keep your ear for over an hour. All was going very well, and then Fred from Massachusetts called in… Fred said his fishmonger told him that farmed Atlantic salmon was far superior to wild Alaska salmon because of the fat content.

He asked me if that was true and if it was okay to eat farmed salmon.

Now remember, I’m on Martha Stewart Living Radio…easy to say a hundred thousand listeners? A million? I don’t know… but what I do know, it was one of the most important interviews of my life!

I asked Fred why his fishmonger would say such a thing? He said, “because they eat better.” I asked Fred if he was aware that farmed salmon are raised in crowded net pens and fed from a global supply of fish meal and fish oil manufactured from small open sea fish, which studies show are the source of PCB’s in most farmed salmon? (Which ultimately causes a loss to the worlds food supply because, it takes three times more protein to feed a farmed fish than a wild fish would ever eat). Fred seemed to be focused on wild salmon containing mercury and farmed salmon having more Omega 3’s.

I said Fred, farmed salmon are intentionally fattened and therefore accumulate more PCB’s, because the process of fattening them is similar to fattening cows or hogs in a feed lot. (To fatten up the farmed salmon, some farmers use bright lights at night to confuse the fish into always thinking it’s feeding time).

Farmed salmon are fattier because they are lazy and they don’t get any exercise, they are artificially colored with a dye, otherwise they would be an unappetizing grey. (Recent studies have shown this dye to adversely effect eye sight when consumed in large quantities).

I said Fred, there is so much disease in the farmed pens the farmers use antibiotics and other drugs that ultimately seep into the open waters. This is a serious concern, that drug resistant strains of disease can wipe out entire stocks of wild Pacific salmon.

Farmed salmon are stuffed together by the hundreds of thousands in net pens, these conditions provide the perfect banquet for sea lice.

Sea lice feed on the mucus, blood and skin of salmon. Understand more by watching this short video.

To combat this, the salmon farmers bathe the fish in toxic chemicals. Guess what? Sea lice are adapting to the chemicals used to control them. (These chemicals are being absorbed into the fish). Because the salmon farms are concentrated along wild Pacific salmon migration routes, the lice are transmitted to juvenile stages of wild salmon as they pass in numbers, killing them. That never would have happened naturally.

I said Fred, one thing no one ever thinks about and that is the waste from some large farms are estimated to equal sewage from a city of 10,000 people.

The waste flows straight into the ocean, causing disastrous plankton blooms, destroying shellfish beds and fouling nearby habitat.

Fred had no idea! I said Fred, we all need to do our own research and I encouraged him to do his own. I strongly encourage you to do your own research as well.

At first glance, fish farming may seem like a good idea, a way to ease the stress on the wild stocks and meet the food demands of the world population…but maybe not. It may seem like a bargain at your local grocer, but globally speaking, farmed salmon is anything but a bargain.

The first thing the next caller said was “I will never eat farmed salmon ever again!” She wanted to know how to tell the difference? I told her to get into the habit of asking.

Is the salmon farmed?










Or is the salmon wild?










If the label say’s wild Alaska you can have all the confidence in the world to know it’s wild, because there are no fish farms of any type in the state of Alaska.

I encourage everyone to do their own research and once you know what I know…You won’t let your friends eat farmed Atlantic salmon. While I am on the subject…lets not forget about Frankenfish!

Please for your health and the health of those you love, do your part for our sacred Wild Salmon ask if its farmed or if it’s wild.

Best Fishes!

LaDonna Rose

P.S. Here are a couple of great links for more information.

Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute on Sustainability http://sustainability.alaskaseafood.org/intro

Monterey Bay Aquarium on Seafood Sustainability: http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/SeafoodWatch/web/sfw_factsheet.aspx?gid=49

Farmed and Dangerous: http://www.farmedanddangerous.org/salmon-farming-problems/

David Suzuki Foundation: http://www.davidsuzuki.org/issues/oceans/science/sustainable-fisheries-and-aquaculture/salmon-farming—a-grave-concern-a-great-hope/

Alaxandra Morton: http://alexandramorton.typepad.com/









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