Monday, September 22, 2014

Beth's Tasty, Quick Salmon Salad

I am re-publishing this blog on my salmon salad recipe because my segment this week on FOX 6 Good Day Alabama is on the proposed update on the FDA's recommendations on how much fish pregnant women should eat. Instead of the old advise of eat up to 12 ounces of fish a week, the new advise states eat 8 to 12 ounces of fish a week. While this seems like a small, subtle difference, it's actually not. The new advice is saying "you need to eat fish" while the old simply said "eat up to 12 ounces". You can read the FDA's draft of the new proposal here.  

Why the change? More and more research is coming out that shows that the omega 3 fats in some fish can promote brain development in the fetus. The problem is some fish also contains somewhat high levels of mercury which can damage brain development in a fetus. But this advise was met with much criticism that it was not specific enough. Critics said that the recommendation does not specify which fish are highest in omega 3's and also the lowest in mercury. And of course, healthy fish is not just for pregnant women. We all may benefit by adding fish to our diets. Here's a great chart to use to see how many milligrams of omega 3's your favorite fish has. Go to the Natural Resources Defense Council website to see which fish is the lowest in mercury.

One of the best choices - high omega 3's/low mercury - is salmon. So here's my re-issue of my salmon salad recipe so you can have a quick, inexpensive, tasty way of including more salmon in your diet:

I get a lot if requests for recipes. The problem is that I rarely cook with recipes. I just go with what looks right and tastes good. I made this salmon salad out of a desperate need to eat wild Alaskan salmon that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. I’ve never been one for canned salmon – always preferring the fresh. So why not just buy farm raised salmon – which is much less expensive?

Farm raised salmon is more likely to be higher PCB’s (polychlorinated biphenyls) which are harmful to human health in multiple ways. PCB’s were banned in the 70’s. But because of past use and disposal, they’re still part of the environment – and part of our food chain. Farm raised salmon are higher in PCBs mainly because the food they are fed is high in other ground up fish that are high in PCB’s. Wild Alaskan salmon is much lower in PCB’s because their food sources and environment are lower in the contaminant.

The problem with eating wild Alaskan salmon regularly is the cost – often upwards of $14 a pound depending on where you shop. But canned wild Alaskan salmon is inexpensive and it’s still packed with healthy omega 3 fatty acids. I was never crazy about the taste of canned salmon until I concocted this recipe. Forgive me for not giving you exact amounts – just go with what looks and tastes right!

Beth’s Quick and Tasty Salmon Salad:
  • 1 6-ounce can wild Alaskan salmon – boneless and skinless (make sure you get boneless and skinless!)
  • 2 small (or 1 large) scallions finely chopped
  • Seasoning blend to taste (I like Morton’s “Nature’s Seasoning” – it’s a nice blend of salt, pepper, garlic, celery and other nice flavors. You can also use some salt, pepper, garlic and celery powder)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of Lemonaise (I use the Ojai Cook Lemonaise but you can use any good tasting mayonnaise – the lemon flavor adds a nice zing)
Just blend it all together in a bowl and you’re ready to go. You can eat it as is or put it atop a bed of salad greens.

Enjoy! Let me know if you have any good canned salmon recipes - I need some variations on this theme!

Beth Kitchin, PhD, RDN
Assistant Professor, Nutrition Sciences
University of Alabama at Birmingham 

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