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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Whole Cooked Salmon

I have seriously been wanting to home can salmon for quite some time.  I have been told that home canned salmon is far superiour to commercially canned salmon.  The problem here is finding fresh salmon and when I do, it is such a treat we cook it from fresh without worrying about canning it.  That's ok and I don't mind, still one of these days I will get a nice piece of salmon to can.

whole salmon
I bought a frozen whole salmon that initially I planned on thawing then canning but I'm not really a huge fan of canning a product that was initially froze.  So, the salmon sat in the freezer biding its time until I decided to soak a cedar plank and grill it or cut the beauty into salmon steaks and bake them.  This was a small salmon coming in at about $10.50.  Sorry I didn't note the weight but I would guess at a little over 3 lb.

Our local grocery store sells salmon this way as a loss leader.  If I am lucky, I can find whole salmon once or twice a year there and while I know I should stock up, I don't mainly because it is frozen and I really would prefer fresh.  The salmon sold this way comes beheaded and gutted but tail and fins are still on as is the belly fat.

whole salmon cut into steaks
Salmon is absolutely wonderful cut into steaks then grilled or baked.  I ended up with about 12 salmon steaks.  Had I bought these steaks at M&M Meats, they would have cost me at least $2 per steak on sale so right off the bat I saved money by cutting my own salmon steaks.  Cutting my own salmon steaks saved me about $12 which isn't bad at all.

I found it easier to cut the salmon steaks while the salmon was partially frozen.  The only real waste was the fins and tail.  Salmon is rather interesting in that the steaks are always cooked bone in but if you home can the salmon steaks the bones break down nicely giving an excellent source of calcium.

I baked all of the salmon steaks with two going for our dinner that night and the rest reserved.  Dinner consisted of salmon steak with a little butter and lemon pepper, baked potatoes with Greek yogurt and my number one favourite, baked acorn squash.

Baking salmon steak is really quite easy.  the main concern is drying out the fish by over cooking.  I simply put the salmon steaks onto a Silpat lined baking sheet, add a small pat of butter and sprinkle with lemon pepper.  Salmon can be cooked rare but for this purpose I wanted it cooked through meaning opague yet still tender and juicy.

salmon dip
I let the remainder of the salmon cool then refrigerated overnight.  The following day was the Grey Cup so I pulled one of the salmon steaks from the refrigerator to make a dip for a bit of finger food snacking.  This was a very easy, impromptu dip to make.  I simply deboned a salmon steak then mashed a bit with a fork.  Then I stirred in about a quarter cup of Miracle Whip, a dash of yellow mustard, a bit of sweet pickle relish, and just a tad of prepared horseradish.  I served the dip with cholesterol free golden rusk, cooked shrimp and home canned seafood cocktail sauce (not shown).  It was simple, easy yet rather tasty as a snack to munch on while watching the game.I

cooked salmon being prepared for freezing
Salmon is a rather firm fish especially when cooked.  The following day, I set about deboning the rest of the salmon.  As I said, I really would have liked to can the salmon but since that wasn't an option, I was onto Plan B.  That dip went over very well so I reasoned vacuum sealing some of that salmon for dip made a lot of sense.  I routinely freeze what I affectionately call meal quick starts.  This includes a wide variety of pre-cooked meats that can be used for easy meals like chicken strips, thin sliced meats for sandwiches and pre-seasoned cooked meats for a quick chili, pasta dish or salad.  They really are ideal quick starts during the summer months.  I can't tell you how many times I have been able to pull together a nice meal using these packets I keep safely tucked in the freezer!  At any given time I have the starts for a meal in my freezer already cooked and ready to use so why not do the same thing with the cooked salmon.

cooked salmon packaged for freezing
Despite the fact I really wanted to can this salmon I moved onto Plan B which was to debone then vacuum seal and freeze.  So, it was a bit of a new one on me.  I have routinely cooked and froze all types of meat but not so much seafood.  BUT you can buy pre-cooked seafood both commercially canned and frozen so why not do it at home?  So a couple of months ago, I started experimenting with freezing quick start packets of various fish.

Some cooked seafood freezes better than others.  I have had good luck with salmon that tends to freeze nicely and when thawed tastes so much better than commercially canned salmon.  It is a thicker, oilier fish which I think helps.  I now have several packet of vacuum sealed salmon in my freezer to use as meal quick starts although most of them will likely end up being used in dips for entertaining.  You just can't go wrong having a variety of quick meal starts in the freezer!

[Disclosure: I am part of the Life Made Delicious Blogger program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.]

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