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Making the best of a bad situation: Farmed Salmon

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So I was gifted two farmed salmon fillets (about 6-8 oz each).

I'm not even going to pretend these are going to be good vis-a-vis wild salmon, or that I will like them that much but having said that, any suggestions on how I can make the best of a bad situation?

Some parameters:

- No pets (so "feed it to Fido" is out of the question)
- Not freezing (why keep "bad" longer than I have to)
- Not giving it away (bad karma w/re-gifting, and no one to give to anyway)
- Trash (this is a last resort)

Thank you.

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  1. Oooh...pickle it. Overwhelms the bad, lets you keep the good. Here's a good link: http://www.ethicurean.com/2007/01/12/... . Recipe calls for two pounds of salmon, but scaling to fit is no problem.

    2 Replies
    1. re: cayjohan

      I agree.

      1. re: cayjohan

        Yep, I'd say pickle or gravlax. One of my friends insists that the soft texture and bland flavor of farmed salmon actually makes it preferable as a starting point over wild for these two uncooked type of preps.

        ETA: And yes, you should freeze them to kill the parasites.

      2. Salmon loaf or croquettes.

        1. Maybe salmon cakes? http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...

          1. Grill it. Do not over cook!!!

            PS/ Do not over cook!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Uncle Bob

              I agree with Uncle Bob here...

              Marinate the filets in a bit of soy, brown sugar, mirin, oil, ginger, a pinch of chili pepper, and garlic; and then grill them over some nice chunks of citrus wood, or you could cedar plank them.

              Either way you should allow the smoke and the marinade make up for the lack of flavor.

            2. Strong seasoning. I like to slather with Tandoori paste and pan fry.

              1. Use a very flavorful rub or marinade and then serve the cooked salmon over a salad.

                1. Preheat oven to 400. Place salmon, skin side down, on a rimmed baking sheet that has been lightly oiled. Rub salmon with some sesame oil, sprinkle top with chopped chives, grated ginger and a sprinkle of tamari soy sauce. Put salmon in oven. While salmon is cooking sauté some garlic and fresh ginger in cast iron skillet. Add a huge bunch of baby spinach, a large pinch of red pepper flakes and let that wilt down. Remove salmon when to you likeness but don't over cook. Serve on a bed of the sautéed spinach.

                  1. Fishcakes perhaps?

                    1. Salmon fried rice with superior stock

                      Miso and sake marinated salmon and grilled

                      Thinly slice them for shabu shabu or hotpot...spicy dip sauce, ponzu, or garlic vinegar

                      ground salmon burgers

                      1. Thanks for all the suggestions thus far everyone.

                        Much appreciate the enthusiasm here.

                        So far I'm thinking maybe I should roast them, flake, and them make Salmon Salad (a la tuna salad)?

                        The fried rice suggested by K K isn't a bad idea either.

                        Croquettes and/or salmon cakes is another possibility, but borders on a bit too much prep time than I'm willing to invest in these things (same goes for the pickling option).

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          You could also steam them over a bed of soft tofu, then drizzle some soy sauce, oil, scallions over.

                          Or dice them up with scallions, stir fry with egg (or steam it like a pork patty).

                          Also works with stir fry with black bean sauce.

                          Also try with curries (e.g. Thai red, yellow, or green).

                          Wonder what it might be like if you deep fry it with salt and pepper batter.

                          Or dice it up with chives and make dumplings...although you probably know already that firm white fleshed fish that are blander in taste are better suited for this.

                          1. re: K K

                            No way I am going to steam these things - it would only heighten the mushy, baby-food texture of the fish.

                            The "salmon-loaf" is a good idea and salmon fish sticks wouldn't be bad but again would involve way too much work and prep time (just like croquettes).

                          2. re: ipsedixit

                            the way my mom used to make croquettes was pretty easy:

                            cook and flake the salmon
                            mix with mayo and an egg
                            add bread crumbs or small cubes of bread
                            salt and any other seasoning you want
                            form into patties
                            saute

                            not gourmet, but for this salmon, probably good enough.

                          3. If its fresh, sashimi, with evoo, balsamic and ur choice of finely chopped green herbs.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: rawrpie

                              I hope you're joking and I'm just too dense to pick up on it.

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                Haha! I perhaps incorrectly just thought u meant you just didn't like salmon. But seems like farmed salmon = bad? Forgive my ignorance :)

                                Otherwise I've had salmon made like that by my uncle and it was quite tasty...

                                1. re: rawrpie

                                  No worries.

                                  But yeah I think the last thing a person wants to do with farmed salmon is eat it raw, or even as ceviche.

                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                    Ahh right, I guess its not issue that gains much attention or is prevalent over here, probably due to the lack of salmon farms or awareness.

                                    1. re: rawrpie

                                      here's something to be aware of in both farmed and wild salmon:
                                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diseases...

                                      nice pictures in the article, too

                              2. re: rawrpie

                                you must be kidding, rawrpie

                              3. Consider this an opportunity to experiment with a recipe you'd be afraid to test on a really good piece of fish. Or make salmon jerky.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: ricepad

                                  +1

                                  1. re: ricepad

                                    I was thinking salmon candy jerky. Some variation of these:

                                    http://www.chow.com/recipes/12214-sal...

                                    It might be a little like pork jerky?

                                    1. re: ricepad

                                      That's the thing. I have *no* issue with experimenting with a good piece of fish. In fact, why would a person use anything but a piece of fish that was actually good.

                                      Put another way. Let's say I experimented with a new technique with farmed salmon, and it comes out bad. Was it the technique? Or was it the fish?

                                      Conversely, if this new technique renders a good dish, was it the technique, or (gasp!) the farmed salmon?

                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                        Have you ever made fish floss? BTW, salmon jerky candy is good. I've just never made it.

                                    2. My friend from Uruguay sometimes makes a salmon pie, with flaked salmon, sofrito, red pepper flakes, in pre-made pastry shells. I know he uses farmed salmon. It's tasty. I had some again last week.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Veggo

                                        That's an interesting thought. I've done something similar with haddock.

                                        1. re: Veggo

                                          That sounds delicious.

                                        2. Honestly, some of these replies.

                                          It's farmed fish, not radioactive waste. Make a miso/honey/soy sauce/minced ginger glaze and then broil it. I bet you'll have no leftovers.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                            There would be no leftovers because all of it would be in the garbage.

                                            1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                              <I'll bet you'll have no leftovers>

                                              That depends on who you're serving it to.
                                              For those who've never experienced Alaska Wild White King Salmon fresh off the boat, prepared in such a way it reflects pure nirvana, the farm would be considered acceptable.
                                              Otherwise? Mediocrity, at best.

                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                Nothing compares to fresh caught fish. However, as much as I like the fresh, the wild, I do have budget constraints and do eat farmed salmon. It's the same with meats, hamburger is fine, good steak and roasts are quite expensive so they are bought for special occasions. An unlimited food budget would allow me to buy organic, local and the best but I do my best with what I find reasonable and affordable.

                                              2. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                the lack of flavor in farmed salmon is one thing, but the mushy texture is what's so off-putting to me. that's why croquettes or mousse would seem more palatable.

                                              3. salmon mousse.

                                                1. The longer you keep it around the more likely it will be inedible.
                                                  Then you'll have no choice but to use the 'last resort'.

                                                  1. a little sauce especially on Salmon.......covers up a host of ills

                                                    1. What'd you do?

                                                      This thread was yesterday. I'd have suggested chowder if in time.

                                                      My market here has a Scotland farmed salmon which is actually quite good. Different methods there, I think. Still, I buy wild when I can.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: Bada Bing

                                                        Salmon salad ( with yogurt, dijon, capers, dill, horseradish powder, toasted sesame seeds, lime zest, minced garlic, salt, pepper and a bit of Sriracha)

                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                          How horrible was it? Glad to see you've lived to tell the tale.

                                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                                            Good pickle-y flavors! Well done!

                                                        2. Oh, for Pete's sake... being given something you don't want to eat a 'bad situation' I understand your intent, but the ridiculous hyperbole sounds like something off of GOOP.

                                                          What about salmon quenelles? I've never actually tried them, because they just don't appeal, but I wonder if the soft texture of farmed might not work better?
                                                          Or... I'd make easy salmon patties, salad (mayo and whatever you like in tuna salad), or, like others have said, something different that you wouldn't want to waste good fish on.

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: skywaters

                                                            I'm sorry, but what part of it was hyperbole?

                                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                                              i wonder that too. if my options are farmed salmon or... something else? i will pick "something else" every time. the farmed krap invalidates every "good" thing about salmon -- flavor, texture, nutrition, etc.

                                                              1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                me too.

                                                          2. If it is for human consumption, try smearing it with bottled barbecue sauce and baking it. Serve it with cornbread, baked beans, and coleslaw.

                                                            1. Frankly I'm taken aback by the haughtiness of the OP. Just wondering why you accepted the lowly gift at all. Not to say that I don't enjoy a piece of wild salmon when it's available, and appropriately priced, but the fact of the matter is is that farmed salmon is more obtainable than wild. IMO it's not to be compared, but enjoyed for what it is. My 2¢ worth.....No haters please.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: letsindulge

                                                                My apologies to you.

                                                                1. re: letsindulge

                                                                  <the fact of the matter is that farmed salmon is more obtainable than wild>

                                                                  Not to me, it isn't. I would rather go without salmon than eat farm raised. In fact, the thought of it makes me sort of cringe.
                                                                  Bleh.