Atlantic salmon (Latin: Salmo salar) spends most of its life in the Atlantic Ocean. In the late autumn, however, the salmon travel far up the rivers of Europe and North America to spawn in the upper reaches, always returning to the places where they were hatched.
Salmon have elongated bodies with a slender tail segment. Their skin is silvery and dotted with black spots. As with all salmon-type fish, they have a thick, dull skin fold between their dorsal and tail fin, called the adipose fin.
The flesh of salmon has a distinctive reddish hue, which is due to the food they consume. Adult salmon feed on larger sea creatures, such as Arctic squid, eels, crabs, shrimps and, sometimes, herrings.
There are very few fish that are as versatile as salmon in the kitchen.
The classic version is smoked or marinated salmon. It can be cold or hot-smoked. Marinated salmon is usually marinated in mixed spices for 24 to 72 hours.
Almost any dish can be created with salmon: it lends itself to frying, baking, poaching or grilling.
General tip: As with steak, it is the core temperature that determines the cooking result for salmon. At a core temperature of 43° Celsius, it is almost raw and is deep orange in colour. At 50-55° Celsius, it is medium-cooked, meaning that its interior retains its very succulent texture and the flesh on the outside is nicely soft and slightly browned. Upwards of 60° Celsius, salmon has reached its limit. It shouldn't get any hotter than this, or it will dry out. The ideal core temperature is 52° Celsius.
Flavour and texture
Salmon is one of the most popular edible fish. It is prized as a delicacy and consumed in large quantities the world over.
The flesh of salmon is orangey-red in colour. It is tender and firm and has an unmistakeable, strong, tangy flavour. Salmon is a fatty fish. Farmed salmon is somewhat higher in fat than wild salmon, giving it a juicier flavour.