Maple Balsamic Salmon

Do you love salmon? I do! It’s my favorite fish. This recipe takes my love to a whole new level! I seriously could eat this every. single. day. It’s THAT good! My hubby found this recipe 3 or 4 years ago and put his own twist on it. My personal fav salmon is copper river wild caught salmon. It has such amazing flavor! It can be very expensive though. Keep your eye out for sales! When it goes on sale, they usually reduce it by a ton! I’ve purchased it at Yokes (in WA) and Whole Foods. No matter what type of salmon you get, make sure it is wild caught and not farmed!

I’m a firm believer in education. We must educate ourselves in all aspects of our lives and not just take someone’s word for it. With the mass use of “safe” pesticides to the creation of GMOs (genetically modified organisms), we can’t just trust government agencies to truly have our best interest in mind. Money is a lot more important these days. Having said that, know that we will always provide insight into WHY we have chosen this lifestyle and why we prefer one thing over another. We will never expect you to take our word for it.

Wild Caught vs Farmed
This article is about a study that found scary amounts of cancer-causing contaminants in farmed salmon. Yes, there are contaminants in wild salmon also, but the farmed salmon have levels that far exceed the wild. The farmed salmon is contaminated by the food that is fed to them according to the above mentioned article. These chemicals don’t just flush out of our system or that of the fish. They are stored in the fat and that is just what these farmed fish are fed. The article states “While wild salmon eat a diverse buffet from small aquatic organisms like krill to larger fish, farmed salmon are fed a concentrated and high fat mixture of ground up fish and fish oil. And since chemical contaminants a fish is exposed to during its life are stored in its fat, the higher fat “salmon chow” passes along more of these contaminants to the farmed salmon.” Like I said before, I know we don’t live in a perfect world. There are chemicals in everything, pesticides everywhere, and more diseases than we can count. If you saw a cancer tumor laying on the ground, would you go lather it all over your skin and eat it or would you walk on the other side of the road to try and stay away from it? The less we expose ourselves to it all, the better! (Purchasing products from companies with sustainable fishing practices is for another post, I don’t want to overwhelm anyone! ;)) Wild caught salmon are also healthier for you because of their protein and omega 3 content. This article says, “Indeed, U.S. Department of Agriculture research bears out that the fat content of farmed salmon is 30 percent to 35 percent by weight while wild salmons’ fat content is some 20 percent lower, though with a protein content about 20 percent higher. And farm-raised fish contain higher amounts of pro-inflammatory omega 6 fats instead of the preponderance of healthier omega 3s found in wild fish. “Due to the feedlot conditions of aquafarming, farm-raised fish are doused with antibiotics and exposed to more concentrated pesticides than their wild kin,” reports Mateljan. He adds that farmed salmon are given a salmon-colored dye in their feed “without which their flesh would be an unappetizing grey color.”

What if you don’t have access to wild caught salmon?
Everything I have read says to drastically limit your intake of farmed salmon. Some studies say no more than once a month, others say no more than once a week. Salmon, in its true form, is full of healthy omega 3’s that are great for your heart. It’s also a great source of lean protein. Grilling is a great way to cook farmed salmon. This reduces the fat in the fish which is where the toxins are. Be sure to trim the skin off as well. Another option is canned salmon. It is easier to find wild canned salmon and its cheaper. Fresh is always better than canned, but in this situation, canned wild salmon would be a healthier choice than farmed. (Canned salmon cannot be used for this particular recipe though.) The season for fresh, wild caught salmon is May-October. This is when the prices will be best and flavors will be best! If you see “wild caught” out side of this time frame, make sure you ask where it came from! Ok, now on to the recipe!

What You Will Need
1 c Pure Maple Syrup
1/2 c Balsamic Vinegar
3-4 Cloves of Fresh Garlic (grated/minced)
4-6 5oz salmon pieces (We get a whole filet and cut it into pieces. Depending on the size of the filet and how big you cut your pieces, you can get anywhere from 4-8 pieces. Cook enough for your family size. We have a family of 4.)

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Place salmon pieces in baking pan. We cook the salmon with the skin on and skin side down. We remove the skin prior to eating though.
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2. Add maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, and garlic to a small sauce pan. Simmer on low to med-low for about 30 minutes or until reduced to a thick glaze like sauce. (We use a small hand held grater to mince up the garlic.)
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3. Once the sauce has reduced baste your salmon liberally with sauce. (Do not use it all at once.)

4. Put salmon in oven and cook for 5 minutes. Baste again and repeat until salmon is done. Approximately 15-20 minutes. Salmon should flake when done.

We serve this over brown rice and top with sauce again. Add your favorite veggies and you have an amazing and healthy meal!

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If you would like to read more about the harm salmon farming does to our environment, this is a fantastic article.

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