I recently had the opportunity to view the documentary “Red Gold”, hosted by Penobscot East Resource Center of Stonington and Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay. Set in the wilds of Bristol Bay, Alaska, this film was a beautiful and dramatic slice of the lives of commercial fishermen, Native Alaskan subsistence fishing people, sports fishing guides and the wild sockeye salmon. The photography was stunning; in particular the thousands of fish returning to spawn.
As a nutritionist, I recognize the importance of seafood and their contribution to our health. Research has shown that the unique polyunsaturated fat called omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon have protective benefits against heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. In addition to good sources of B-Vitamins, phosphorus and potassium, canned fish like salmon provide a high level of calcium if packed with bones.
But what about the effect of the fishery on the environment? Traditionally, I’ve kept my pantry stocked with cans of tuna. As fishing techniques and equipment have become more advanced, the environmental impact of overfishing for tuna has become more substantial and widespread. I was delighted to learn that the wild-caught salmon fishery in Alaska, like the lobster fishery here in Maine, is sustainably managed.
And the taste? The night of the film, we enjoyed a savory dip prepared from pink salmon, a smaller and more abundant species than the red salmon. Both species are delicious and available canned in the supermarket.
Now that I’ve been enlightened to the benefits of Alaska wild-caught salmon, my family will be enjoying it more frequently, as it makes a nice change of taste in addition to Maine lobster and clams. The convenience of a canned product is handy for a quick meal, plus I feel good about voting with my fork and supporting another sustainable fishing industry.
The film, “Red Gold” is available for viewing from Penobscot East Resource Center, 367-2708
- 1 15 ½ ounce can Alaska wild-caught salmon, drained
- 1 cup breadcrumbs (about 3 slices of bread)
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup chopped red pepper or canned pimento
- 1/3 cup chopped red onion
- 2/3 cup Thai Cucumber Relish
- Sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan. In a large bowl, break the canned salmon up into smaller pieces. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Season to taste with sea salt and fresh pepper. Pat into the greased loaf pan. Bake until set and bubbly, about 45 – 50 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges and invert the loaf onto a plate. Cut into slices and serve. Makes eight servings. Small family? Prepare the recipe and portion between smaller loaf pans. Freeze the unbaked portion. To serve, remove from the freezer and bake, about 15 minutes longer. Or, instead of preparing a loaf, shape into patties and cook in a fry pan. Serving suggestions: A scoop of Thai Cucumber Relish or Zucchini Relish adds to the savory flavor. Or prepare your own sauce by combining equal parts of relish with sour cream or mayonnaise.