Farm-raised (also labeled “Atlantic” salmon) are much higher in toxic contaminants including cancer-causing PCB’s and dioxins than wild caught. According to a recent study lead by (my personal research hero) David Carpenter at the University of New York at Albany, “consumption of more than one meal of farmed salmon per month could pose unacceptable cancer risks according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) methods for calculating fish consumption advisories.” Dr. Carpenter also advises that because the EPA levels only look at cancer, other health risks may occur with even lower levels of exposure.
Here in Alaska, we have lovely wild king salmon, silvers (coho), and my favorite: red or sockeye salmon. High in omega-3 fatty acids and other important nutrients, salmon definitely are part of our culture and for good reason. Be sure salmon is wild caught. Most grocery stores label their fish. Eating out? Ask the waiter whether the salmon is wild caught or farm-raised. More than half of commercially-available salmon comes from fish farms.
Ingredients to prepare salmon:
4 6-7 oz. salmon filets
1 cup pine nuts
4 sprigs fresh basil, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground pepper
1 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Ingredients to prepare sauce:
1 cup coconut milk
2 minced shallots
4 Tablespoons pasture butter cut into 1-inch cubes
2 sprigs fresh basil leaves chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Prepare the Fish:
Combine the pine nuts, basil, salt and pepper into a Magic Bullet or food processor and chop coarsely. Place the fish in an oiled casserole skin side down. Spread the pine nut mixture evenly over the fish. Bake in a 375°F oven for 10-20 minutes until the fish is cooked as desired.
Prepare the Sauce:
While fish is baking, place coconut milk, shallots and basil into the Magic Bullet and puree completely. Pour mixture into a medium saucepan and simmer until it is reduced to 1/4 cup. Reduce the heat and whisk in the butter. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper.
Drizzle the sauce over the fish and serve