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Salmon: a freshwater and seawater fish

Wiki Spanish Food editorial team

Salmon can be found in rivers (where they are born and later return after swimming innumerable miles) and in the sea (where they spend varying lengths of time), and is an enormously popular dish in both international  and regional Spanish cuisine.

The season for this exceptional oily fish is currently in full swing, running from March to May. At the end of April, the campanu (the name given in Asturias to the first salmon caught in each river every season) was fished in the Cares River, a natural salmon stream, along with the Nancea and Nalon Rivers, to which salmon return after swimming great distances.

This fish is known for its beautiful silhouette and silver reflections, and is consumed fresh or smoked. The best quality fish are less than three years old, as their flesh is pink, oily, and very nutritious. The central part of the fish has the best meat, whereas the parts closest to the tail are drier and saltier.

Among smoked options, wild salmon is a true standout, as artisan processes are used for smoking. The best-quality example of this is from Scotland. The fish is cold smoked over a mix of beech, birch, oak, and ash wood, to which aromatic essences are added, such as heather, dill and sage.

Nordic salmon is generally smoked and is considered a refined dish. It is usually served as a cold entrée, accompanied by toasted bread or blintzes, in line with Slavic tradition. Fresh Pacific salmon, silver salmon, and canned salmon in its juices (which includes pieces of the fish and its skin) are other options, most of which hail from Canada.

In Spain, we have river salmon that head to sea from the northern and northwest coasts. However, this wealth of salmon is impacted negatively by poaching, blocked access to habitats by dams and, in particular, pollution. Direct action is being taken to fight these destructive agents and to actively repopulate the species.

The most loyal fish

Salmon are loyal fish who return to the river basin where they were born, even if they have to travel miles and miles. In the Middle Ages, this fish attained great gastronomic prestige and was served in various formats (soup, stew, ragout). As its availability gradually declined, it came to be considered a delicacy.

Later it became more popular, and today a lot of salmon comes from the Pacific Ocean and from the seas of Nordic countries and north of Great Britain. Breeding in the Norwegian fjords has yielded excellent results, and production on the Breton and Scottish coasts is also very promising, although some have called into question the quality of the latter.

Those with pink and orange meat are equally delicious, and the most traditional preparation method is baked or grilled salmon steaks, which are served with a variety of sauces, depending on the region. They can also be prepared in brine or en papillote (in parchment).

In spring, salmon is one of the most popular dishes since it can be served either hot or cold. It has always been and will forever be a gastronomic treasure in spring in Asturias, and has always been held in high regard due to its natural fats and their nutritional value.

ADDRESSES

L'INDRET SEMON. Ganduxer, 31. Tel.: 932 016 931. Barcelona.

EL CAMPANU. Marqués de Argüelles, 9. Tel.: 985 860 358. Ribadesella. Asturias.

CASA JULIÁN. Niserias. Tel.: 985 415 797. Peñamellera Alta. Asturias.

CASA MARCIAL. La Salgar. Tel.: 985 840 991. Arriondas. Asturias

LAGO DE SANABRIA. Ayala, 23. Tel.: 914 311 506. Madrid.

PESCADERIAS CORUÑESAS. Juan Montalvo, 14. Tel.: 915 331 576. Madrid.

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10/02/2017