Canned Salmon: Why and How to Buy
Canned salmon is the ultimate convenient nutritional powerhouse. It is full of vitamins and minerals, along with wonderful Omega 3 fatty acids. There are many kinds of salmon; the most often canned are pink and red sockeye. Both are excellent choices.
When purchasing canned salmon, you want to look for:
*Wild-caught (as opposed to farmed). Wild salmon will have higher levels of Omega 3s, and a better ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fats. They will also contain less toxins.
*Alaskan. The clean, cold Pacific waters provide the healthiest salmon. Buying salmon caught in Alaska is also the most sustainable choice. (You can view this scorecard from Seafood Watch to help you decide on other salmon varieties. Note that they score sustainable practices and not necessarily nutritional health, although there is great overlap.)
I recommend Vital Choice brand canned salmon. (They are a sponsor of this site.) I love that you can buy in bulk, and in most cases that qualifies you for free shipping. They offer just one variety in cans – red sockeye salmon – and it is absolutely delicious. You can taste the high quality. Two sizes of cans are available: 7.5 ounce and 3.75 ounce.
If you purchase from Vital Choice, or possibly if you find a suitable choice in your local store, you’ll have to determine if you want the bones and skin. Like with most proteins, buying skinless/ boneless is more expensive.
There is value to the skin and bones! They add flavor, calcium and additional Omega 3s. And yes, you can eat the bones. (I know this may gross some of you out. It sure did me, at first. But now it’s normal.) I generally pick out the very few large, hard bones (they look like vertebrae) and then just mix in the small, soft bones. You will find that they are not the type of bones on which you would choke. You can’t notice them, especially if you’re using the salmon in a recipe and not eating right out of the can (which you might be tempted to do).
Using Rice Paper
Just last week, I used rice paper wrappers for the first time. Thankfully, it was not as hard as I thought and it definitely filled in the “tortilla” gap while we are gluten-free. Ideally, you’d like to find a brand that is made of just rice flour and water. Some brands will include tapioca starch and/ or salt. The wrappers are generally very low in phytic acid as they are made with white rice (and so, the hull is removed).
To use them, you just need a large pie plate or other shallow dish filled with about 3/4 of an inch very warm water. One at a time, carefully submerge the rigid rice paper wrapper in the warm water until soft and pliable – about 20 seconds. Don’t keep it in too long or it will be mushy and extra-sticky (and very hard to use). Remove the wrapper to your working surface, fill with the desired fillings and roll-up as follows. (Wet, fill and roll one rice paper wrapper before moving on to the next.)
Step 1. Place your filling near the center of the circular wrapper in a mounded line parallel to you. Leave ample room on either side for rolling; remember that rolls made in rice paper are spring-roll size, not burrito size!
Step 2. Flip the bottom half of the circle (closest to you) over the filling, tightening the roll with your fingers.
Step 3. Fold in both sides. (Looking down, you should now have three straight sides and a rounded top.)
Step 4. Roll the mounded filling mixture toward the rounded top.
Voila! A cute little roll-up.
Note: The rice paper will stick to itself. If you have a hard time handling it or picking it up to move to a plate, wet your fingers.
Here is an easy pantry meal that is nutrient-dense and super delicious.
Asian Salmon Roll-Ups
*14-16 oz. good quality canned salmon, drained and flaked (You could also sub an equal amount fresh or frozen cooked salmon.)
*11 oz. can unsweetened organic mandarin oranges (optional)
*1/2 cup sliced green onions
*2 Tbsp. nut-butter of choice (Homemade is preferable so the nuts have been soaked to reduce anti-nutrients.)
*1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. naturally fermented organic soy sauce or gluten-free tamari
*1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
*2 cloves garlic, pressed
*2 Tbsp. freshly grated ginger
*6-8 rice paper rounds (If you are Paleo or just avoid rice, you can sub large crisp lettuce leaves.)
*1 Tbsp. organic rice vinegar
Drain oranges well and reserve 2 Tbsp. of the liquid. Chop a little more than half of the oranges; should equal 1/2 cup.
In a medium bowl combine the flaked salmon, chopped oranges, green onions, nut-butter, 1 Tbsp. soy sauce or tamari, lemon juice, garlic and ginger. Mix well.
Spoon the filling into the rice paper wrappers and roll up as directed above. If time allows, place in fridge for five to thirty minutes.
In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari, the 2 Tbsp. of the mandarin orange juice and the rice vinegar. Serve as a dipping sauce alongside the roll-ups.
Serve a green salad on the side with the extra mandarin oranges (you may want to have a second can, as well) and additional sliced green onion. The ginger vinaigrette found in this post goes awesomely well.
These roll-ups also pack well for a no-cook lunch!
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