4 Things You Need to Know to Choose Good Salmon

Julia Bainbridge
Food Editor
January 2, 2015

Good salmon starts with good salmon. Even if you’re a pro at searing, poaching, or grilling the omega 3-rich fish, it won’t taste good if your product isn’t well-sourced. That can happen whether you’re at the fishmonger’s or the supermarket.

Here’s what to do to ensure you’re picking the right fillet:

Smell: “If it smells like dead fish when you walk in, you should walk right back out the front door,” William Arruda, Vice President of Kyler Seafood in New Bedford, Massachusetts, told us back in February. What you should smell is either nothing or a nice, salty, ocean-like scent. 

Touch: No mushy textures allowed! The flesh of the fish should be relatively firm and springy. If the fishmonger permits you you to touch it, it should give a little and then bounce back at ya.  

Appearance, inside: Your salmon’s meat should be deep-orange in color. More specifically, said Arruda, wild salmon tends to be red and farm-raised tends to be orange. Either way, you want vibrance. 

Appearance, outside: The meat of your fillet should be “shiny and bright,” said Arruda—never matte—and so should the skin. Ever caught a fish or taken a gander at one just after it’s been caught? The skin should look as close to what it looked like when it came out of the water as possible. 

Speaking of that skin, leave it on! It helps lock in moisture, and when it crisps up, it’s oh-so-tasty. Watch the video above, which gives directions for the average 3/4 inch-1 inch fillet, for more. 

See more from our Treat Me Right series here.