Say the words “canned fish” and most folks think tuna. Some might envision sardines, and a few, anchovies. Well, it’s time to elevate canned salmon to the top of our minds and, regularly, into our meals. Canned salmon is an excellent source of protein and nutrients, low in fat, and high in heart-healthy omega-3s. The long-lasting pantry staple is more affordable than fresh salmon. The fish is cooked and ready to eat or use in various dishes. (While some brands contain bits of salmon skin and tiny edible bones, which add calcium, many specify that the fish is skinless and boneless.) Most canned salmon is wild-caught and contains less mercury and other toxins than both farmed salmon and tuna. Look for Alaskan pink salmon, sockeye, or red salmon from North American (Pacific) waters. These varieties come from well-managed fisheries and are sustainably caught without endangering other species.
When making salmon salad, just as you would tuna salad, fold in a dollop of mayo, squirt of lemon juice, sprinkling of black pepper, and handful of finely chopped celery. Pile it on a sandwich or on top of salad greens. Other uses include salmon cakes (made like any other fish cake or patty); adding the fish to an omelet, frittata, or casserole; tossed into pasta dishes; or mixed into a vegetable and rice stir-fry. Maybe you've been a canned salmon fan all along, but if not, you'll wonder why you didn't think of it before.
Available at most supermarkets and specialty food stores. Prices range from $4 to $7 for 6 to 7 ounces.
Lisa Zwirn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org