Welcome to the first in a series of articles we’ll be posting about all of the varieties of fresh, delicious salmon available every day at Atlantic Seafood. Today, we’ll start off by getting you a little better acquainted with Sockeye Salmon, a consistent fan favorite.
Sockeye Salmon, which are also known as Red Salmon or Blueback Salmon get their rather unusual name through the Americanization of Suk-kegh, a Native American word meaning “Red Fish”
Sockeye Salmon cover a wide range of territory within the northern half of the Pacific Ocean and beyond, reaching as far north as the Arctic Ocean and as far south as the mid-California coast and the coast of Japan’s Hokkaido Island.1 This should come as no surprise when considering the fact that they are the 3rd most plentiful species of salmon. There is also a small amount of Sockeye Salmon who live their lives in landlocked waters, who are often referred to as Silver Trout.
Sockeye are on the smaller side as far as salmon species go, with typical lengths being between 24 and 33 inches, and typical weights being between 5 and 15lbs.2 They are unique among other salmon varieties in that their diet consists of zooplankton such as krill, as well as shrimp. (They must have a better sense of taste than their non-shrimp eating cousins) As with all varieties of salmon, Sockeye are born in freshwater areas but leave upon maturity and usually only return to freshwater areas to spawn. When in the ocean, Sockeye Salmon have silver sides and a blueish hue on top. However, when they come back to freshwater locations to spawn, their bodies take on a reddish tone and their heads become green.2
When caught and prepared for consumption, one will see that the flesh Sockeye Salmon has a more bright orange color to it in comparison to the more mild pink of other salmon species. This is a side effect of their diet, which often contains bright orange krill.
Another way in which their diet affects them in a unique way is their taste. Sockeye Salmon is known to possess a stronger and more “deeply salmony” flavor than other varieties, which is sometimes referred to being vaguely crab-like.3 Their texture is quite firm and it is important for all cooks to pay close attention when preparing Sockeye Salmon, as their flesh is especially susceptible to overcooking. A versatile treat, Sockeye Salmon can be cooked in a near infinite variety of styles. It can be smoked, fried, broiled, baked, or used raw for sashimi, just to name a few. One simple recipe that we’ll share with you today is comes courtesy of Sparkpeople.com and is called Salmon Delight.
Ingredients: 2 cups of spinach, a few slices of coarsely chopped purple onions, 4 tablespoons of chopped cilantro, 1/2 diced mango, 3 oz of Sockeye Salmon, and 2 tablespoons of lowfat sesame ginger dressing.4
Directions: 1. Cook the salmon, grilling it on stove for 2 1/2 minutes and then flip and cook the other side for the same amount of time. Be sure not to overcook the salmon – Only heat it until it is done. You can tell it is done when the inside of the fillet is no longer dark pink.
2. As the salmon is being cooked, peel, slice and chop the mango.
3. Chop spinach finely and stir together with the onion and cilantro.
4. Add the chopped mango, top with salmon fillet and garnish with low fat sesame ginger dressing.4
This recipe makes enough for one serving but can be multiplied for as many guests as you wish to serve. Feel free to visit Sparkpeople.com for more delicious and easy Sockeye Salmon recipes.
2. Essick, Peter
3. Shaw, Hank
Cooking with Sockeye Salmon