For An Easy Salmon Loaf, Go For The Canned Variety Over Fresh

Can of salmon
Can of salmon - Bigacis/Getty Images

Canned salmon gets a bad reputation. Is it superior to fresh salmon? Well, no, not in most dishes. But for the most part, canned and fresh salmon are equally nutritious, and even if canned tastes different because of the extra sodium and preservatives, it's a common sight in pantries because it's cheap and it's easy to work with. This makes it a great choice for something like breaded salmon loaf, which is historically a dish that's meant to be simple.

Salmon loaf is a cousin of meatloaf, which is designed to be easy to make, and designed to be filling. It may not be the most glamorous meal you can prepare with salmon, but when you're baking it with bread crumbs, onions, eggs, and milk (that last one's optional), you don't need lox or anything especially fresh. It's for that reason the salmon loaf might be the ideal dish to make using your tins of canned salmon, since you can whip it up fast with just a few easy ingredients, and it'll last you several days.

Read more: 12 Underrated Types Of Fish You Should Try At Least Once

A Budget-Friendly Fish Dish

Slice of salmon cake
Slice of salmon cake - ivan_kislitsin/Shutterstock

Part of the appeal of salmon loaf is that, just like classic beef meatloaf, all you need to do is mix together the ingredients in a bowl and then bake the resulting mixture in a pan. The only "spices" it really needs (and we're using that term loosely) are salt and pepper to taste, although many recipes also call for dill or parsley. It also goes well with other cheap, filling sides like steamed broccoli and roasted potatoes.

Besides being practical and cheap, it's healthy. Canned salmon is a very cheap way to get some basic nutrition like omega-3s, which are fatty acids or healthy fats, which are great for your heart and immune system, according to WebMD. Plus, your body doesn't make them on its own.

And while it's minor, canned salmon does contain a little bit less mercury than fresh fish according to the New York Times. That's because smaller fish are typically used for canned salmon (usually smaller sockeye or pink salmon), and on average they contain less of the harmful element than larger fish caught and sold fresh.

A Great Depression-Era Recipe

Salmon croquettes and tartar sauce
Salmon croquettes and tartar sauce - Boblin/Getty Images

Salmon loaf became a popular dish in certain parts of the United States during the Great Depression because of several budgetary reasons listed above: it's cheap and it's healthy and easy to stretch into meals that last several days. Once the New Deal got going, canned salmon became subsidized by the U.S. government and you could buy a can of the stuff for as little as a nickel. As a result, no-nonsense dinners like salmon loaf, salmon croquettes, and salmon patties became widespread.

Decades later, it's still a common recipe that people will learn from their grandparents. It's the same with salmon patties, which are very similar dishes made with many of the same ingredients: the big difference is the shape because you spread them into separate patties rather than one big loaf. However you slice your breaded salmon and eggs and cream, it's still a great dish for when you're trying to cook on a budget.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.