TASTE / TEXTURE PROFILE
Sockeye salmon has a deep, rich flavour with medium-sized buttery flakes. It is most noted by its vibrant red colour that comes from high levels of an antioxidant pigment called astaxanthin.
Sockeye salmon provides important amounts of Omega 3’s as well as heart-healthy vitamin B12, B6, niacin and potassium. Sockeye also boasts bone-building Vitamin D and immune supportive Selenium.
PREFERRED COOKING METHODS
The fattiness, and therefore the cooking methods, of sockeye depends heavily on where it is caught. Sockeye that is less fatty can be a bit tricky to not overcook so we will base our cooking methods on that fact.
- Sockeye is great pan seared as this allows you to have the most control over the cooking process. Sockeye typically sears for 4-5 minutes a side at about an inch thick.
- If baking or BBQ’ing sockeye try for about 375 degrees for about 14 minutes covered with foil. This will almost steam your fillet keeping it moist. Rule of thumb here is if you’re not quite sure if it’s fully cooked pull it and let it rest for 5 minutes. It’s better to pull it off the heat than to overcook it.
- High quality sockeye is excellent raw, so if you’re not squeamish aim to slightly undercook your fillet so even the tail portion will be nice and moist.
- Sockeye pairs well with many different flavours. Here’s a couple of options if baking or BBQ’ing to add a great taste and to ensure your sockeye is melt in your mouth:
- Cover your fillet in a thin layer of mayo with some lemon zest, dill, panko bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. Wrap in tin foil and onto the heat!
- Drizzle your fillet with some honey and top with lime zest. Wrap in tin foil and onto the heat!
- Drizzle with maple syrup and top with cracked pepper. Wrap in tin foil and onto the heat!
- Sprinkle with brown sugar and top with fresh lemon slices. Wrap in tin foil and onto the heat!
Sockeye has a small line of pin bones up its centre. These are very hard to spot and remove after cooking so best to take care of them while it’s raw. If you can’t buy them already boned from your fishmonger you can use a pair of tweezers or pliers. Rub your finger from the top of the fillet towards the tail and you will find the bone line as the bones will begin to “stand up” as you run your finger along them. This makes them much easier to spot and pull from the flesh. Keep in mind that tail portions of fish will never have bones so this may be a better option for you as you shop.
Sockeye is known for its bright red colour and this is what tends to attract consumers. That said a real salmon pro is asking where it was caught in relation to the river it’s from and how long that river system is. Sockeye caught at the start of the river will be fattier, and a salmon caught closer to the end of its run will have significantly less fat. What river system can also play a part as some river systems are much longer than others. Remember, the colour is pretty but it’s the white fatty lines on the belly that you are looking at. The thicker the fat lines the moister and flavourful your finished product will be!