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Salmon in a can makes for a cheap, healthful, protein-packed meal

Salmon in a can makes for a cheap, healthful, protein-packed meal

October 29, 2008|By CRYSTAL SCHELLE

When I was growing up, my mom always knew how to stretch grocery money to the limit. In the days before purchasing in bulk was en vogue, she always found a way to make what we had somehow feed a family of six.

Mom taught me that beef and chicken can easily be added into a menu without spending a lot. But seafood, especially fish, can be stretched on a budget.

For a large family, purchasing fresh fish was a luxury in the winter time. And after a while, there were only so many cans of tuna a person could consume. (That was years before the mercury warning). To keep fish in our diets and also introduce us to different tastes, Mom would sometimes turn to canned Alaskan salmon.

Canned salmon, unlike its fresh counterpart, is cheap. Sometimes you can get two 14.75-ounce cans for a dollar, which helps in today's economy.


As kids, we were often turned off by the strong taste of salmon steaks. But Mom wanted to make sure that we could benefit from the omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, Alaska Seafood reports that canned salmon contains four times the amount of omega-3 fatty acids and 20 times the amount of calcium found in other canned proteins.

Seems Mom knew what she was doing.

Like tuna, canned salmon is already prepared. It's ready to be eaten straight from the can.

But you need to prep your canned salmon before using because sometimes you'll find bones - boiled to a softer, edible condition, but still bones - and sometimes skin in with the fish.

Although bones and skins are edible, if you're serving salmon cold, you'll need to take the time to go through the fish so diners won't be turned off. Softly squeeze the fish, pulling out those "extras" that you don't want. If you don't want to get your hands smelling fishy, use latex gloves. Or wash hands in lemon juice to get rid of the smell.

Here are a few recipes I've found to be tried and true.

Quick salmon salad

1 14.75-ounce can of canned salmon, drained
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon
1 teaspoon of dried dill
1/2 cup of celery, minced
1/2 cup of onions, minced

Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl. Serve on toasted whole-wheat bread or serve on a bed of greens.

Salmon cakes

1 14.75-ounce can of canned
salmon, drained, reserving
2 tablespoons of juice
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 egg
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Salt to taste

In medium-sized bowl, combine ingredients. Shape into patties; be careful not to pack. Fry in lightly oiled pan for five minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Makes about 6 medium-sized cakes.

Salmon spread

1 14.75-ounce can of canned salmon, drained
1 8-ounce block of cream cheese
1 teaspoon green onion, minced
1 tablespoon of horseradish, to taste
1 tablespoon of lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Carefully remove skin and bones when draining salmon. Place ingredients in medium mixing bowl and mix until creamy. Serve with crackers.

Salmon and cherry tomato pasta

2 quarts of water
1/4 teaspoon salt, to taste
1 box of whole-wheat angel hair spaghetti
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil , divided
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 14.75-ounce can of Alaskan salmon, drained
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup of chopped fresh parsley, optional
1 teaspoon Parmesan cheese

Put water and salt in large pot and bring to boil. Add in spaghetti; don't break the sticks. Cook until al dente. Drain and rinse in cold water. Reserve 1 tablespoon spaghetti water.

In saucepan, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium heat. Add cherry tomatoes and slowly let the juices come out. Drain salmon, add to saucepan. Sprinkle with dill and lemon juice. With a spatula or tongs, break up the salmon to bite-sized chunks. Heat thoroughly. Note: This is a recipe where leaving salmon skin in the recipe isn't bad.

Add spaghetti to saucepan, tossing with salmon and cherries. Add a tablespoon of spaghetti water. Sprinkle in parsley, tossing well. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Remove from heat, top with Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

Serves 6 to 8.

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