Don’t let the prospect of purchasing 9 or 12 or 15 pounds of salmon ever keep you away from buying a whole fish. Surprisingly, or not, it goes faster than you may imagine. Your only consideration is keeping it perfectly fresh, and that’s not hard to do. Here are a couple of tricks I’ve picked up from my fishy friends for preserving the freshest salmon flavor when you buy in bulk:

  • Get it home as quickly as possible while keeping it cold, to the extent of bringing an ice chest to the market or dock. Fisherman Frank assures me that temperature fluctuation hastens that “fishy smell.”
  • Exposure to air also makes your fish smell fishy instead of like the sea. If you have access to a vacuum sealer, fantastic! Just vacuum pack individual portions and freeze.
  • No worries if you don’t, though – just MacGyver it. Put individual portions into freezer-friendly zip-lock bags. Seal almost all the way, and then suck the air out yourself. You know, with your mouth. Like in the old days, when you smoked. Do it right and the baggie collapses around the fish, then you can breath freely again. Finish zip-locking and freeze.

Now you have freshly frozen pieces of salmon to defrost and cook at your leisure.

Your first meal with that super-fresh salmon could be little sashimi. You don’t have to be a sushi chef to do this, just use a super-sharp blade and respect the fish. Slice thinly. Layer with a little avocado. While you eat, close your eyes and imagine you’re walking on a sandy beach at low tide.

salmon sashimi

Then toss a few fillets on the grill. I don’t like to use any sauce or marinade on salmon that’s this fresh – I just toss it on a super-hot barbecue dressed with a little lemon, salt, and pepper. Mmmm. Perfection.

salmon grilling

When you’re ready to pull some salmon from the freezer, panko nuggets are delicious. Use that super-sharp knife to cut those fillets into bite-sized chunks. Dust with flour, dunk into a beaten egg and plain yogurt mixture, then into a bowl of panko that’s seasoned with lemon pepper and paprika. Cook them in grapeseed or vegetable oil and serve hot. These are crunchy and flaky and incredibly rich and delicious.

panko salmon nuggets

Serve them with rice and miso soup or with this asparagus, penne, and pine nut salad:

salmon nuggets

What is your favorite salmon recipe???